“Why is there tolerance for buying another person? Why aren’t clients going to jail? You have to look at the whole market. If there weren’t a buyer, there wouldn’t be a procurer, and there wouldn’t be a victimized woman or child. It’s complicated in that the actions of the buyers are accepted as normal and the languages of all cultures lable the 14-year-old victimized child a ‘prostitute’ and worthy of little sympathy, much less justice.” – Linda Smith, Shared Hope International Founder and Director
I am probably going to get comments about how prostitution is not illegal or that it is a state issue, as I always get those, and I don’t want to argue that. I want to argue whether or not it should be legal or illegal.
What I want you to think about, what I want us to think about, is how the victim so often in these cases (not just the sex trafficking but also the labor trafficking where the victim is labeled as a foreigner, as an illegal immigrant, as a stealer of jobs) are seen as the culprit. How often this burden of guilt is transmitted into how the victim is treated as he/she moves through the system. How beat cops and ICE agencts may react to their perputrator being a victim.
On a different note, I want us to think about how often we only see women and children as possible victims. We allow ideas of masculinity to blind us to the idea that men can be victimized, that they can be trafficked, that they can be hurt, that they can be manipulated, and beaten, and raped.
Just a little bit to chew on.