I believe women are treated disrespectfully by the media and in society and that it affects the sex trafficking industry. I believe that we ended legal slavery and that illegal slavery is alive and doing well; very well.
I do not believe that all men fall into the category of not respecting women or that all men treat women as second class citizens. I do not believe that all men are sex addicts or are abusive. I also believe that the American culture is confused about gender equality and that this confusion is affecting trafficking; that is modern day slavery. Whoa! Wait a minute Jo, these statements don't work you say. I beg to differ. If women were considered to be who they are based on the work they do (which is generally how men perceive one another) or that a woman's body is not, nor should it ever be consider, a commodity then I would agree with you. Don't get me wrong, both men and women are blame for what is happening here in America and sex trafficking is not just a US of A problem. I'm talking about women being used as a commodity for selling and for pleasure. I'm talking about women struggling to know how to fit into a warped picture of their own humanity and their purpose. Watch Miss Reprentation.
Note: There boys who are used in the sex trafficking industry and there are women who sell other women for profit as traffickers. I want to be very clear about this.
What is expected of women? How do women view themselves and their bodies? What do men expect from women? How do men view women and what do they think a woman's body should look like? Is a woman's body for use? I have heard some men don't want their wives to nurse because their wives breasts belong to them. And I have heard other men want women to nurse so they have less to do and it saves them money. REALLY?!!!
What were we taught and what are we teaching girls? You need to be beautiful. You need to wear makeup. You need to be thin or thinner. You need to be sexy. You need a man.
“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”― Adolf Hitler
|US advertisers spent 235.6 billion dollars in 2009|
|53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies.|
|That number increases to 78% by age 17.|
|65% of women and girls have eating disorders.|
|Depression in women and girls has doubled between 2000 to 2010.|
How do the companies that sell botox, diuretics, weight loss programs, makeup, clothing, skincare, etc see women, and better yet, how do they want women to think and feel about their bodies? Do you think that women's magazines sell magazines just to inform? Or is it possible that they are selling them to make money and their readership needs to have a problem to solve or there is no reason to produce their magazine. Fitness magazines have to come up with new (or redone old) ways of doing the same thing over and over again. Why? Because they are selling products. Their magazine and the products of their advertisers. Is this wrong? Not necessarily. Many in the fitness and health industry are really trying to help people. Is the fashion industry only in it for money? Not necessarily. When I went to the Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising in 1976 (yeah, I'm dating myself) I went because I love fashion. I love fabric. I love clothes. Life took me another direction, however, I had planned to become a marketer. No evil intent. Just loved the industry as I saw it as a 17 year old girl.
There is also the internet and television media. What are they selling us? What are we "buying"??? Are we buying what they are selling? Do we believe we need to be thinner, sexier, pretty, etc to be happy, to be noticed, and to be loved?
Where are these questions leading?
We live in a world where sex sells. Marketing works or companies find new marketers. For instance, cigarette companies are in business to sell cigarettes. Increasing demand increases the need for supply. Increasing the need for supply increase the bottom line. We live in a world of supply and demand. Sex trafficking is part of it. Traffickers are selling. They want men to want to pay for sex. No demand. No need for supply. The connect is obvious to many and yet the truth is insidious. If a woman or girl believes that her value comes from her body she will act upon that! We as women are not being treated respectfully by the media, magazines, corporations, small businesses, schools, etc.
“What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.”― John Wesley
I have value just as I am. I feel the need to point out here that I am NOT a woman's libber. Why? Because I am ME. I believe all people need to be treated well. I believe in equal pay for equal work but I appreciate it when a man opens the door for me. I don't believe I should have to wear makeup but I enjoy it wearing it sometimes. I refuse to jump on an anti-male wagon even though I have been abused and assaulted. Not every man is to blame only the individuals involved. Still I deserve to be treated with love and respect as a human living on earth. So do you. Male and female. Young and old. Anyone who breathes. I don't have to agree with you nor you agree with me.
This leads me to say that any and ALL SLAVERY IS WRONG!!!
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”--Martin Luther King, Jr.
So where do we go from here? As long as men aren't getting real jail time for buying young girls, or very much if any for rape, as long as girls are arrested for prostitution (even well under age 18), as long as business men and guys on vacation feel comfortable buying a 12 to 14 year old to rape for an hour or the night, as long as girls and women think they are helpless and worth little without a thin sexy body and a pretty face we will have SEX TRAFFICKING. As long as perpetrators feel comfortable requesting younger and younger girls, as long as the general society says that porn is okay, natural, and of all things "freedom" of speech, etc we will have SEX TRAFFICKING. Funny how most people don't know that a very high majority of women seen in these magazines are under age and forced to pose. Those that "want" to are in it because they want to control their life. I read where one woman, an ex-prostitute, said she never met another woman in "the life" who hadn't been abused at some point before she entered willing or by force and none of them were really happy in it. Ted Bundy said porn led him to murder. Not everyone who views porn will murder, however they want to pay for your daughter. And if they request a certain kind of girl and the trafficker doesn't have her, he'll get her. It's nothing personal; it's business. Supply and demand.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
So this is a lot of information. You may not like hearing it. You may disagree. Awareness is necessary. We cannot make changes if we don't even know the problem. I see four problems. One, demand; men who want to buy girls for sex. Two, suppliers who are willing to sell flesh for a profit. Three, awareness; if we are not aware of this atrocity we cannot begin to help and four, young girls not believing that they have value simply because they are alive. That they are precious and worthy to be treasured. That they have a purpose far beyond their bodies. They have brains and talents and gifts. If girls felt better about themselves and believed in their value they would be stronger and more aware. If we can teach them to value themselves from the inside out they will be empowered.
Movies like CHOSEN are teaching people how spot possible trafficking victims or possible future victims. As an ambassador of hope with Shared Hope International I go to schools and churches and I teach people about trafficking.
|Map of human trafficking hot spots.|
|DVD's that training for schools, churches, etc. |
Level: junior high and up including adults; parents and teachers.
Prevention is key!
What can you do? Join the fight. Become a modern day freedom fighter; an abolitionist. Together we can fight to bring change.
How? There are many organizations working to end slavery rather it be labor or sex trafficking.
Shared Hope International is a great place to start. Please leave questions or comments below.