So long as our public consciousness remains rooted in the sex part of human trafficking, we will never be able to seriously tackle the crime.
A report from the Polaris Project says that 39 states have now passed “strong” anti-trafficking laws. Coupled with this, the Polaris Project also released state-by-state human trafficking ratings based on 10 categories of laws that they believe are “critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors.”
While this news and these efforts should certainly be applauded, the comment sections of the various articles discussing this topic give a glimpse into the work we still need to do. For example, the comments in this article for The Huffington Post all go back to prostitution and legal brothels and sex, sex, sex. This wouldn’t be so big a deal if the comments section in other articles talked about some other aspects of human trafficking.
But they don’t.
So long as our public consciousness remains rooted in the sex part of human trafficking, we will never be able to seriously tackle the crime — a crime in which we the everyday consumers actually play a part.
It’s tough to say how certain prostitution laws or “pimp penalties” will impact the overall field of human trafficking, but I’m willing to bet that increasing our awareness and even our laws about tracking where our food and clothing comes from (and the working conditions of those places) will have a significantly greater impact on a crime that reaches every corner of the globe.
Lastly, and on a different note, although The Huffington Post article mentions girls on several occasions and even mentions the generic “children,” it never once mentions boys or men. I’ve talked extensively about this and won’t do it again here, but at least part of the writing process, particularly as it comes to journalism and crime, should be about conveying the truth. What is the collective impact of how the human trafficking movement scarcely mentions how boys and men can be and are victims? I don’t know. But I know in my bones and I’ve seen with my eyes that a different, more complex truth exists beyond the one that’s talked about.