Someone at the embassy pointed out this front page Washington Post article yesterday. In many ways I think it is very interesting– and points to some of the problems one finds in research with clandestine issues. I also thought it was interesting that Ronald Weitzer was their “expert on sex trafficking”. Some readers of this blog may remember that he was in fact part of the discussion on prostitution a little while back; and that we do not necessarily see eye to eye.
Finally, I was thinking about numbers. Specifically, I was thinking about my past clients– people who were trafficked to the United States and exploited for months in horrendous and dangerous conditions. Clients who may or may not receive T-visas because of how hard they are to procure. Aside from the fact that my clients, whom I have no doubt were victims of trafficking, were not counted– I also have to think of the others. Under the TVPA, if a person chooses to not cooperate in the prosecution, they can be sent home. For every client that I worked with, 3 others had choosen to go back to their country and not look for protection under the TVPA. Why? They had many reasons: some longed to be with their families and go home, some feared for their families if they were to try and press charges, some simply no longer had faith that any system would honestly protect them. They went home. They were never counted.
I am not trying to argue that human trafficking is rampant in the states or even arguing with the article; however, I do read it with different eyes because of my experiences.