Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Notion of Sexual Terrorism

When I first heard the term sexual terrorism attached to persons who have been enslaved in the global sex trade, it sounded a bit…out of place. When I think of terrorists in the conventional sense, I think Bin Laden, McVeigh, the Unabomber, people like that. I had never considered human trafficking as a form of terrorism and now I’m almost ashamed that I hadn’t. I’ve read many a human trafficking book over the last several years and the process of recruiting a women into sex trafficking is not unlike the premise behind most terrorist organizations.

Most Hollywood depictions of the practice emphasize brute force abductions. The most common procurement method reported by the experts I’ve read is to place false ads in newspapers throughout the developing world for nannies, models, etc. Then their told they have to travel to a location where their documents are often confiscated, meaning that their trapped in a foreign country without papers, fear or are made to fear going to the police because of corruption in many police departments throughout the world. Then these woman are locked away from civilization in apartments that often have bars on the windows and other elaborate security procedures.

Then the “breaking” begins. Once their behind closed doors, they are burned with cigarettes, brutally beaten, and in many cases given drugs in order to make them compliant prostitutes. No isn’t an option, if a girl says no it is quite likely she will die or be beaten into compliance. Once their prostitutes, they are made to service as many men as possible to make the most money for the pimps and traffickers. Failure to make enough money will result in more beatings. Some former trafficking victims tell stories of being pregnant and being given drugs to abort the baby, and then being made to return to servicing clients.

Where does the terrorism fit in? Well we have violence against a targeted population, designed to instill fear in that population. They are held against their will and coerced into being prostitutes with the threat of beating. The trafficking business is very profitable, they can make thousands of dollars off of just one girl. That’s the rationale behind the practice. Terrorism doesn’t have to occur on a large scale, like how an attack in Israel can be seen as an attack on all Israelis. Trafficking women is an attack on all women for sexual exploitation and human greed and the practice cannot be condemned sternly enough.

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