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Sex trafficking victims : De-branding my body(4 Posts)
I don't know if this article has been posted before but I came across it today as I was scrolling through some other news on the BBC website.
This was published on 26 October 2019. It is a US based piece, but enlightening nonetheless.
I was completely unaware of this practice and so found reading the experiences quite disturbing - not to imply that sexual exploitation and trafficking aren't disturbing to read about otherwise.
Some quotes from the article.
Survivor’s Ink estimates that almost 90% of sex trafficking victims in the US are branded in this way. The charity has overseen the de-branding of about 200 women from Columbus - Ohio’s state capital - and the surrounding area alone.
“Recruiting” women took place on the streets and in some cases directly from jail, Bagley says. He bought a publication at a local shop each week which listed new female prisoners and the offence they had been charged with. He says he would then visit those who had been convicted of soliciting for sex, offering to pay their bail if they agreed to work for him.
Some 83% of sex trafficking victims in the US are US citizens according to the country’s Department of Justice. The average age of a first-time victim in America is between 12 and 14 years old, according to ECPAT-USA, an NGO seeking to end the exploitation of children.
“These kids desperately need help now. Nearly every prostitute that we see was a child once that was trafficked against her will and manipulated into a life. When you see it that way, suddenly you’re horrified on a whole new level.”
He says that in countries like the US, because being a sex worker is mostly seen as a choice, there isn’t the sense of crisis about sex trafficking in the public sphere that there should be.
“They [the public and the authorities] see the movie Pretty Woman and they think, ‘Wow that’s just a life choice of a person who could choose to get out of at any time.’ That’s just not the way it is.”
Catch Court was set up in 2009 by Judge Paul Herbert, after he noticed a trend in defendants on prostitution charges showing visible signs of abuse.
Of over 1,000 women arrested for prostitution in Columbus, Judge Herbert found 92% of them qualified as trafficking victims.
He says that while prostitution is often referred to as the world’s oldest profession, for him it’s “the world's oldest oppression of women and girls and vulnerable populations”.
“A woman is using drugs to medicate her trauma and then she winds up having to sell her body to get the drugs to medicate the trauma. We found that once you settle that trauma down, they don’t want to use drugs any more. The trauma is at the root of their drug addiction, rather than their drug addiction driving everything.”
An article, I think on BBC, mentions a German drug dealer for whom sales are way down because prostitutes aren't buying. Because they're not having to self-medicate to be able to deal with the punters.
As you say, trauma is behind the drug use, not the other way around.
But sex work is just like other work, right?
Yes. What's the issue...
Some prostitutes have good experiences so it all balances out overall...
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