Sex Trafficking

Emroyana Caesar, Reporter

“All my life I had to fight.” An infamous line stated by Sofia, in the novel The Color Purple. In the context of the novel, and later on the film, it had resounding effects which can be applied to the real world. Women of all ethnic groups, races, cultures, and religions can relate to this quote, because day in and day out, they’re fighting. Fighting for justice, equality, freedom, human decency, and empathy. This fight doesn’t just begin in their adulthood nor in their adolescence, it actually starts much earlier than that. As children, girls are scolded and told, “go change,” “there’s guests in the house,” “why is that so short or so tight,” among various other statements. This sets the precedent for girls to be restricted and sexualized even in their homes. While this occurs, boys are running around in their homes, with minimal clothing or shirtless, with underwear on- and it’s seen as acceptable. In this instance the girls are being held accountable for their clothing, and the way others choose to view them- while boys are free to wear, and do as they please. As she matures physically, she is advised not engaging with someone who catcalls, not walking home at night, staying away from dark alleys, and using your keys as a form of protection have been suggested. If this doesn’t work, the next steps to take would be taking self defense classes, getting a guard dog, or a weapon. All of this is done in an effort to prevent women from being taken advantage of and hurt beyond repair; however, these are temporary solutions for a long existing issue. In the words of Craig Bruce, temporary solutions become permanent problems. Failure to fully fix the problem can result in its reappearance in the future.

In the ongoing fight between women and society, sex trafficking plays as an undefeated foe which causes women to have to fight for their lives and freedom. Sex trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, including sexual slavery. A victim is forced, in one of a variety of ways, into a situation of dependency on their trafficker, and then used by the trafficker to give sexual services to customers. Within the 20 to 40 million sex trafficking victims, 71 percent are women and children, the remaining 29 percent are men and boys. One of the most profited industries of them all is the sex trafficking industry. Annually their revenue is 99 billion dollars, which is disturbing to know that people find pleasure in the misery and discomfort of others. As sickening as it is to know this occurs, the focal point of this article isn’t sex trafficking in is entirety, but rather the victim.

Many of the victims are unaware of their predicament, so getting help and moving forward with their lives is a slow process. However, for those who are conscious of the events around them, and simply pretend they don’t remember, upon their escape, life after is traumatic for them. Events, places, times and just overall patterns can inflict trauma in the individual to the point of feeling stuck and feeling the need to return to what they knew. Not to mention starting a new life. In this day and age the compassion between humans, and morals in general, has overall decreased. Helping return a person to their normal way of life may seem like a difficult task to take on, so many wouldn’t try. Furthermore, building a life with someone who has dealt with something so traumatic may not be the easiest thing to do. For this reason many avoid it which can cause the victim to become warped in their thoughts and feelings of the traumatic events as a sex slave. Then for those of whom become vengeful, and decide to kill their kidnapper that can also lead them to a black hole of guilt, and possibly depression, not to mention prosecution.

In the case of Cynthia Brown, she killed Johnny Allen, a 43 year old real estate agent. At the time she was in an abusive relationship with a drug dealer Cut Throat, who had forced her into prostitution. When she met up with the real estate agent at a Sonic Drive-in, she believed he was going to take violent action against her. She shot and killed him with the pistol in her purse. This occurred when she was sixteen years old which means the real estate agent was 27 years older than she was. The age gap, his gender, and what she was required to do, had already caused her to fear him, which led her to do what she felt would protect her. However, the prosecutor argued it was her plan to rob him initially and dismissed all other evidence which caused her to face 16 years in prison. If the real estate agent was alive, he wouldn’t be prosecuted, and the boyfriend wasn’t prosecuted. Yet again women are being held accountable for the actions of men and influence of men. Due to the Me Too moment, and celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian speaking out on the issue, her sentence was reduced from life to sixteen years. Now she’s happily married and working on a novel. Karol Sanchez the teenage girl from the Bronx, who was allegedly kidnapped, and her mother was violently assaulted at the time it occurred, is another example. However, the example is for a different purpose. The moment the video was released of Karol Sanchez kidnapping, the fear within people momentarily rose. The fact that a child can be walking with their parent and in that moment just get taken away and never seen again was something truly frightening. Later on, it was released that Karol had staged the kidnapping similar to that of Empire star Jussie Smolett. Scenarios like this invalidate the actual cases were women and children are taken against their will and held for what could be the rest of their lives and forced to do inhumane acts. It also can make people question whether the other incidents were true. Similar to the boy who cried wolf when there are some cases where people lie about being kidnapped or assaulted, other cases within the same time span, or close time span, causes disbelief among the general public. Temporary solutions become permanent problems.