Stacey Swimme

Innovative Thinking On The Sex Industry & Social Justice

Smoke and Mirrors (1 of 6)

Excerpted from a post I contributed at Sex In The Public Square on February 25th, 2008.

Human trafficking is happening. Let’s just get that out of the way up front. This is not a debate as to whether trafficking actually exists. I am pro-choice in that all people should have autonomy over their own bodies. I am against slavery, violence, and exploitation in any form against any gender. Forced prostitution is not sex work. It is rape. I understand that sexual violence is just one way that human oppression manifests itself.

To end exploitation we have to consider the many factors that are contributing to this global problem including racism, sexism, poverty, nationalism and the culture of violence that is rewarded and reinforced around the world. One cannot address the full spectrum of issues associated with human trafficking in a single post. This is an analysis of the consumer-driven demand for cheap labor and a call to any human with a conscience to take personal action to end human trafficking.

Currently, public discourse about trafficking is centered on the media’s obsession with sexploitation stories rooted in both moralistic and political dogma. It is difficult to identify real allies in the fight against trafficking because of widespread embellishment of facts and bipartisan support of policies that are harmful to women in the US as well as abroad.

This approach is harmful on a multitude of levels.

Facts and Figures

Nobody actually knows how many people are trafficked, where those people are taken to and in what sort of labor trafficked people are engaged in. The conflation of commercial sex work with human trafficking and the lumping together of farm, domestic and other forms of labor with sex trafficking causes a misdirection of attention and resources, leaving trafficked people without real solutions and resources.

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