Monday, June 12, 2006

Slavery in the United States

Everyone knows that slavery ended in the U.S. with the conclusion of the Civil War and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, right? Think again. There is a thriving black market here even now in a most horrific form of slavery---sexual slavery.

Women, lured to the U.S. with the promise of jobs, have been met by enslavers who steal their passports and force them to work as strippers or prostitutes. If they resist, they are beaten or perhaps even killed. Often these women speak little or no English. They have no support, no way out. Holding the title for "second highest destination in the world for trafficked women" is no honor to our nation. (Please read Lis Wiehl's FoxNews story on "Sex Trafficking".)

There are people who argue for legalized prostitution and that strip clubs are merely entertainment. But sex trafficking is a $8,000,000 industry in the U.S. How could one ever be sure he was not ogling or raping a woman who had no freedom to choose? Just something for anyone with a conscience to consider.

See previous post, Human Trafficking Continues.


At 6/12/2006 10:18 AM, Blogger Duffy said...

Well, has the legalization of alcohol reduced the number of moonshiners? How about reducing the influence of organized crime in the booze trade? When was the last time Capone and his bootleggers went against Ness' Untouchables?

At 6/12/2006 10:55 AM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

I understand your point. But go check out articles on Germany. There was huge concern over the fact that it seemed that sex slaves were being brought in to help fill the demand for prostitutes during the World Cup. Legalization doesn't appear to be saving women from what to me would be a fate worse than death.

Also with prostitution being legalized in Germany, there's been pressure on unemployed women to go work at brothels if they can't find other work.

There is just no way I can see to ever make women "equal" in a business that by its very nature is degrading to body and soul.

At 6/12/2006 2:16 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

It's actually legal to have slaves in the US - but only if they are convicted of a crime. It's in the 13th amendment, it specifically says:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Now, personally I think this is an area of punishment that is being neglected, we ought to force theives and defrauders and other similar kinds of criminals to work off their sentance as a slave either to the business they offended or the state. This seems like it would be superior to simply shuffling them off to a prison somewhere to learn to be a better crook.

However, you bring up a good point about prostitution, most of them are in effect slaves - as are some people working subsistence jobs. If you cannot stop working and make only enough to barely survive, how is that different than slavery?

At 6/12/2006 3:58 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

CT, I knew you would be the one to bring that up about slavery still being legal, if anyone did.

I didn't mention if bec women in the sex-industry could never be considered as slaves legally, not even for punishment of crimes. I would be more than willing to fight for the overthrow of a govt that could do that. It's sickening enough that it happens illegally.

We could indeed argue that it is a form of slavery even for women who do it "willingly" as I have read enough to know that women who work in the sex trade are long-time victims of abuse, sexual and otherwise, the vast majority of the time.

However, indentured servitude could potentially work, once again, as a form of restorative justice for non-violent, non-hardened criminals and would probably less cruel than sticking them in prisons with violent people who can give them HIV. I cannot condone the death sentence of a petty criminal.

At 6/12/2006 5:37 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Exactly, the point is not that it's somehow acceptible for women to be enslaved (or men, for that matter) as sex industry slaves, but rather that indentured servitude to pay off one's debt to society would be a positive step.

The blog Stuck on Stupid Lies has a suggestion for illegal immigrants regarding this idea:

At 6/13/2006 1:06 PM, Blogger RightWingRocker said...

There are people who argue for legalized prostitution and that strip clubs are merely entertainment. But sex trafficking is a $8,000,000 industry in the U.S. How could one ever be sure he was not ogling or raping a woman who had no freedom to choose? Just something for anyone with a conscience to consider.

I often argue for leagalized prostitution, within limits. I wouldn't want that going on in public, i,e, on the streets in front of everyone. Behind closed doors, however, i see no reason to interfere with a woman's right to earn her living in that fashion if she so chooses.

Sex trafficking is not the same thing. These women had little or no say in the matter and did not choose this course of action for their lives. This practice should, of course, be banned and the applicable laws strictly enforced (appropriate punishment preferrably includng severe daily torture).

In fact, depending upon the structure of the law, it may be easier to get these thugs behind bars than under the current system through which officials must also busy themselves with the arrest and conviction of those who are not part of any sex trafficking ring.

Just an idea.


At 6/14/2006 11:00 AM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

Perhaps we should consider the terms "a woman's right" and "choose". While you are probably envisioning high price call girls who make a couple hundred or more per trick or the "Mayflower Madame", the reality for most women in the sex industry is much different.

Some women from my church had picked up a prostitute who was in need of a ride to shelter. She'd been kicked out of her hotel room for lack of payment (if I remember correctly they put her up for the night, paying her bill, but don't quote me on that). She was grossly dirty and extremely hungry. they had some food left over from their outting, some meatballs, but no utensils. The woman was so hungry that she shoved them into her mouth anyway with her hands smearing sauce all over herself in the process.

This is the degrading reality of prostitution. Many women are under the control of pimps who beat them if they don't perform. Most come from abusive backgrounds and are unaware that they are intrinsically more valuable than this. They make little, age quickly, fall into drug abuse if they had not already succumbed to deaden the pain of their existence. Things are not much better for strippers. Something that men ought to consider is how often was this woman molested as a child, how badly was she abused, that she has no higher opinion of herself. And if it's just entertainment, could they suggest it as a good job opportunity for their mothers, wives, and daughters? While I really wouldn't want my daughter to spend her life behind a cash register as her highest career achievement, that doesn't generate the same kind of revulsion as her body and soul being degraded in the sex industry. I think most decent men would agree.

At 6/14/2006 1:51 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

Not enough churches have done anything to help prostitutes in their area, something that really is an area of ministry that is neglected.

At 6/14/2006 3:06 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

Yeah. there are people who specialize in that kind of ministry. it's one i've thought of venturing into one day. but these women can be very hard core and it can be dangerous to break them out as others have a vested interest in keeping them where they are. it can take a lot of time to convince someone that they are worth more than that kind of degradation when that's all they've ever known. then it costs time and money to retrain them for some kind of honest work since they are frequently lacking in other skills and they don't have a whole lot to pad their resumes with.

At 6/14/2006 8:27 PM, Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

There's also an effect that at least some women who get into this life are doing so because it's an easy way to make money. They don't want to work, they want the money, and this is easy. If you get them another job they have to go to work every day, get paid less, and have to work more. That simply doesn't appeal to some women and you have to break that by instilling a sense of morality and right and wrong in them.

That can be very hard to do, as is trying to get people to not be money hungry. From what I understand from reading, many strippers (exotic dancers) do it because it's fun to dance and they make stacks of untaxed cash. Getting them to get away from this life is tough, even though they dream of it and are always looking out for a millionaire to steal them away.

At 6/14/2006 9:08 PM, Blogger Anna Venger said...

True. I understand that exotic dancing can pay very well. However, most of them end up with serious drug and/or alcohol abuse issues presumably because the work is so degrading that they have to numb themselves to do it day after day, week after week, etc. At least that would be my take on the drug use.

I also have issues with men who frequent such places. They are contributing to the degradation of women. If they have wives and children, why the heck aren't they home with them and doing something more constructive with the money too?


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