These weekend we will be watching the Super Bowl. Leading up to the game are activities for players, coaches, owners, and the generally wealthy that can afford to go to an event that commands as much as a million dollars for a ticket. There is an underbelly to this event though, one that had gone ignored until just the last few years. As Aaron Kaufman points out in this article, along with the fancy dinners, parties, mixers and other networking opportunities for the mighty and wealthy, there is an increase in sex trafficking, much of it involving exploited women.
Mr. Kaufman does a good job of not conflating the trafficking of other human beings with sex work in general. Some women choose, for whatever reasons of their own, to engage in that work. Those reasons, so long as they are not being exploited, are none of our business. No, what Kaufman, and any decent human being worries about, are those coerced into sex trade, many outright kidnapped, and used by the men at these events.
That last part is where Kaufman slips a bit, but then we are conditioned to forget about it. We are trained to see only the pimps and slave traders as the villains. The men paying those bastards to have their way with tortured, often drug-adled, slaves get a pass. We neglect that the reason that there is sex trafficking to begin with is that there is a demand. We are passively coaxed into forgetting it because who these men are.
Poor and middle class Johns do not go to these slave traders. They drive their cars, looking for women accepting payment. Some of those women do have pimps, some do not. I am not going to reflect on that too much now. I have bigger, much bigger, fish to fry. Because the patrons of these men who drag girls half way across continents, sometimes across the world, are the wealthy. The reason the trafficking spikes at these events, and keep in mind the National Conventions for both major parties also coincide with this crime, is because wealthy men want pliant young women brought to their rooms. These men create the demand, and then at worst get a slap on the wrist.
In our supposed criminal justice system, if you are poor, and caught with drugs on you person, even in you bloodstream, you face jail time. In other words, being a victim of addiction makes you a criminal. If you are wealthy, however, if you are one of the princes, lords, or petty nobles of our oligarchy, then you can create a demand for the destruction of women’s lives, and get a fine, one that accounts for less than a traffic ticket does for the “little people.”
It would be great if our mainstream media talked about this, but then they are in the service of the oligarchs as well. Oh, they occasionally throw us a fictional tidbit in shows like Law and Order: SVU, but woe be to those who actually expose the mighty. If Rachel Maddow, Oprah Winfrey, Bill O’Reilly or any of their contemporaries were to actually start talking about the men who buy use of these poor women, we might actually have a real dialogue about the abuse of wealth and power in this country, and that is something our betters will not have.
So when you, quite justifiably, advocate for these young women, do not forget that this is not just a crime by a few greedy mobsters. This is a crime of and by our system, one of many that needs to be addressed, and one that will be. If we are lucky, if we are smart, it will be done by reform and education of everyone from the poorest to the wealthiest, though I lose confidence in that a little more every day.