Sex Trafficking: An AMERICAN epidemic

As American’s we always have this urge to save the world. As a  result we’ve developed the Peace Corps, and many other international relief organizations,  but do we ever stop to think that maybe we’re the ones that need saving?

According to Sayantani DasGupta’s Article “Your women are Oppressed, But ours are awesome” Americans are so focused in pointing other countries flaws than focusing on their own problems.  She criticizes American Journalist Nicholas Kristof, with his book and documentary headlining the tragedies of third world countries such as Cambodia’s crisis with Sex trafficking. DasGupta believes that Americans are so blinded by their ethnocentrism that they failed to see those same problems occurring in their own backyard.

The US Locks Up More Prostitutes Than Sex Traffickers Do

What many American’s don’t know is that sex trafficking is not only a growing epidemic in third world countries, but also in the United States. According to Andrea Johnson Americans are still battling to pass anti-trafficking legislation. Johnson points out that the first federal law that ever discussed human trafficking called the  “Trafficking Victims Protection Act”  began with a bold statement,“The United States is principally a transit and destination country for trafficking in persons” but fails to qualify this particular statement and, “It [did not] rank the United States based on the anti-trafficking standards to which it held other countries.” Even American Legislatures are ignoring the problems they are well aware of.


Although law enforcement in the U.S are “working” on the issues, in reality they’re not helping anyone. The Law enforcements idea of “helping” the trafficked workers is to simply throw them in jail. Many of these sex workers who are jailed end up getting out and returning a few months later.  According to Melissa Grant, officers are essentailly leaving the sex workers homeless. Grant interviewed many American sex workers and found that sometimes it’s impossible for them to seek help because they can’t organize, and they can’t talk to health professionals about what they do, which means they can’t fully cater to their needs.  The main reason she found that many don’t seek help is because of the social stigma attached to their work.

Unlike many counties, Americans eroticizes sex work through its media and entertainment industry. According to Bitch Magazine many movies and television shows portray  sex workers as attractive middle-class white women just to feed the voyeuristic interest of the audience. Most of the time they represent the perpetrators in these shows as darker skinned minorities. The American mass media is not only creating stereotypes, but also sexualizing this dehumanizing epidemic.

As you see Americans themselves promoted this epidemic and instead of taking responsibility  they are simply ignoring its side effects. I do believe that one day we can fix this problem, but we first need to admit we have one.


Copyright (c) 2012 Columbia Human Rights Law Review Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Winter, 2012, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 43 Colum. Human Rights L. Rev. 617, 39161 words, ARTICLE: A PERFECT STORM: THE U.S. ANTI-TRAFFICKING REGIME’S FAILURE TO STOP THE SEX TRAFFICKING OF AMERICAN INDIAN WOMEN AND GIRLS, Andrea L. Johnson

Grant, Melissa Gira. “Unpacking the Sex Trafficking Panic.” Contemporary Sexuality 03 2013: 1-6. ProQuest. Web. 4 Nov. 2013

“Your Women Are Oppressed, But Ours Are Awesome”: How Nicholas Kristof And Half The Sky Use Women Against Each Other


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2 Responses to Sex Trafficking: An AMERICAN epidemic

  1. Pingback: Sexual Trafficking in India: An Idealist Critique | strobelight

  2. eouillet2014 says:

    Great read. I agree with you that it is incredibly wrong that the sex slaves are just tossed in jail for their sex work. The fact is those girls have most likely been abused both mentally and physically and probably see themselves as being worthless, and by tossing them in jail that is not a solution. I think that the justice system should do mandatory therapy for these sex workers, enough sessions to hopefully be able to get enough information that they are able to help these girls. These poor girls need to be rehabilitated and learn that they are not worthless and only good at sex but can have a pretty normal life with help. I am sure they would not be comfortable disclosing their work but maybe over a period of a few sessions they would be able to build an alliance with these therapists and be able to work through their issues.
    I also agree with you that the focus needs to stop being so international but more centered on what is going on here in America.

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