Chapter 4 Infrastucture

4.1 Linked Systems

It is an unfortunate reality that most people worldwide do not know about and some turn a blind eye towards the systems that enable trafficking. For those who know, many people disconnect themselves from the reality of trafficking as it is too overwhelming. This can be somewhat understandable; however, apathy enables traffickers to expand their territory and increase the number of their victims at an alarming rate. The simple act of engaging culture by dispelling the myths and highlighting the realities of trafficking will do more good than most people realize.

The rapid globalization of our world has helped accelerate access to trafficked individuals. Technological advances, websites, and social media have become a virtual hunting ground for traffickers. These virtual environments have become a highly visible and easily utilized platform to sell their “commodities.” 1 Many websites facilitate the exploitation of others and are still allowed to function within the law.

Other examples of systems that indirectly enable the fire of trafficking to spread be music with lyrics that glorify pimps and use derogatory terms to describe women. Effectively, this clears a path for the flames to spread. Sadly, all forms of mass information distribution have all helped to desensitize society to the injustices that are all around us and that we are learning from this book. And the by-product is cultures worldwide have been lulled into the false belief that objectifying other people is normal and acceptable - and ultimately harmless.

The virtual connectivity of our world has provided the perfect storm of opportunity for the victimization of others. As the fastest growing crime in the world, human trafficking is the firestorm that results from the dry, explosive condition of a detached, misinformed, and/or apathetic society. Detachment manifests both through ignoring the facts of human trafficking and believing the myths that keep the system intact.

Given how the myths of trafficking have been allowed to run rampant, a mindset of tolerance toward commercial sex is commonplace. Thus, it is easy for people to view these things as “freedom of expression” when in fact - the vast majority of the time - it is true exploitation. When we begin to understand this “freedom of expression” as enslaving some of society’s weakest and most vulnerable, then we will continue to see this momentum to continue to grow.

4.2 Reinforced Architecture

Have you ever wondered why the people who commit these acts and drive the sex trafficking industry are typically nameless and faceless? People who fuel the demand are rarely, if ever, the focal point of a discussion on sex trafficking. The emphasis is on the victim rather than the people who enslave them.

To satisfy the appetites for commercial sex, the existing architecture (below) presents women, children and other men to consumers through various figures. The route that leads to enslavement of millions of victims is one strategically mapped and successfully followed by those who comprise the infrastructure of trafficking. The following chart includes some entities that encompass the demand side of human trafficking: 8

For the sex trafficker, it’s all about profit—lining his or her pockets while, unfortunately, being immune to the cost paid by the victims.

Laws that legalize prostitution make it easy for exploiters to victimize women and children. Most importantly it creates a legalized market for sex-traffickers to bring their victims.

Some argue that legalizing prostitution enables those being prostituted to receive health care. And though this is in most cases true, would anyone be ok with legalizing slavery so that slaves could be provided health care? The analogy fits like a glove and the world is starting to wake up to this.

Furthermore, when prostitution is legalized, tax revenues collected from these legalized activities help to compound and solidify the infrastructure just as it did when governments received tax revenue from slave labor. Thus, criminals, crime groups, and corrupt officials profit even more as they put on a front of doing legitimate business. 9

Below is a diagram on the:Infrastructure, Outcomes, and Feedback Loop that perpetuate the cycle of sex slavery:

MYTH: “Blanket” legalization of prostitution would rid the industry of its criminal elements.

FACT: “Blanket” legalization of prostitution fails to protect sex workers, boys and girls, and to reduce the prevalence of sex crimes. Further, it creates a legalized market for traffickers to bring their victims.

Failure to protect sex workers:

• Legalized systems of prostitution may mandate health checks but only for the prostitute, not the buyer (e.g., certain counties in Nevada 24). Additionally, women are not protected from HIV contracted from “johns.”

• According to one study, the longer women were in brothel prostitution, the more likely they were to be infected by HIV. 25 Health examinations for women, but not for men, fail to protect sex workers.

• Over 200 years ago, the argument of providing health checks to slaves was a way of making slavery seem more humane to society that thought it was acceptable.

Failure to protect boys and girls:

• Legalizing prostitution increases the number of minors who are prostituted. 26 Wherever there is legal prostitution, “markets” for child prostitution are created and flourish because that is where the demand resides.

Failure to reduce the prevalence of sex crimes:

• Legal prostitution does not decrease the rapes of women in Nevada. In fact, Nevada’s women are raped at rates that are twice that of New York and 25 percent higher than the U.S. average. And women are three times as likely to be raped in Las Vegas (where prostitution inside licensed brothels is legal) as compared to New York City. 27

• Evidence from Nevada and Australia, where prostitution is legal, indicates that legal prostitution fosters a “prostitution culture” that affects all women and children resulting in increased sexual harassment. For example, the province of Victoria, Australia (with legalized prostitution) has the country’s highest rates of both domestic violence and prostitution of boys and girls. 28

People traffic others due to the extremely lucrative market. The huge amounts of cash come not only from the people/“johns” who rent women and children, but can also come from the casual strip club goer or porn viewer. Either directly or indirectly, personal choices foster the demand that leads to the enslavement of millions. For example, even if all traffickers were imprisoned today, more traffickers would arise tomorrow. Why? Because the demand would continue.

As you’ve heard us say many times, “If there were no buyers, there would be no sellers. If there were no sellers, there would be no victims.” As long as the demand exists, the enslavement of victims will never end.

“If there were no buyers, there would be no sellers. If there were no sellers, there would be no victims.”


Mankind As Infrastructure

We must remember that there is no common profile of who purchases sex - other than most are men. Beyond that it is ALL ethnicities, vocations, fathers, singles, geographies, etc. There is an estimated 2.5+ billion men above the age of 18. The percentage of men who purchase sex varies from country to country ranging from 10 percent to 70 percent. 10

Doing a simple calculation and taking the conservative 10 percent of adult men who purchase sex and applying to the global adult male population would equal to approximately 250 million “users” worldwide.

Your neighbor, co-worker, friend, or even members of your family could be individuals who are very actively contributing to sex-trafficking. This is why it is so important for you to share the facts discussed in this book, so that the myths of trafficking find themselves relegated to the halls of history and not living in the halls of our children’s future.

MYTH: Nuanced legislation designed to decrease the sex trade is ineffective.

FACT: Nuanced legislation against the sex trade affects change in the system.

• A recent change in Sweden’s laws has criminalized the purchase of prostitution and has therefore helped to combat sex trafficking. 29 This might seem strange, but essentially it is criminalizing the buying, so the system can treat those being sex trafficked as they should be treated - as victims; not criminals.

4.3 With Eyes Wide Open

In his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” 4 The reality is that we are affected by the plight of the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

Consider the devastating effects of The Great Chicago Fire (or any devastating fire). Not all people were directly in the fire’s path; however, none were or are left unaffected. Every life in that city was drastically changed by the events of the fire. Everyone was connected to one of the victims. Likewise, in an increasingly global and connected community, it is difficult to escape the effects of sex trafficking. When one woman, child, or man is enslaved, we are all negatively affected.

The truth is that no activity is done in isolation. When city officials reflected on The Great Chicago Fire, they identified a failure to prepare and equip their fire department as a possible contributor in the extensiveness of the fire’s devastation. 5 Due to the failures of the system, no one was isolated from the resulting flames and an entire city paid the price. Similarly, sex trafficking grows and expands when ignorance of what enables trafficking is allowed grow and thus society is left in its inertia.

The purchase of a pornographic magazine or triple X-rated content can line the pockets of traffickers and increase their power to enslave yet even more victims.

Media often times perpetuates these myths and by its power convinces audiences (and thus culture) that sex is a purely physical activity. But by its very nature, sex requires profound vulnerability. We have seen in an earlier session that prostituted individuals suffer great psychological distress as a result of engaging in sexual relationships devoid of meaning or intimacy. a In fact, even trained women police officers that pose as prostituted individuals in sting operations typically last only six months on the job due to suffering both physical and psychological ramifications. 7

Action Points

The next step is to get involved. This can take many forms (moving from the most basic to more of the, perhaps, less obvious):

• Do you want to share those new facts with the same people you did before? Or with a set of individuals you haven’t shared with?

• Commit to being faithful and loyal to all the women and children in your life.

• Train yourself to see all women as mothers, wives, sisters or friends, and never again as objects.

• Encourage others not to refer to women as hookers, whores, prostitutes, or any other derogatory name. Refer to people in prostitution as “prostituted individuals.”

• Speak out against dehumanizing sexual jokes, innuendoes or the trivialization of women or sex.

• Let others know about the myths they have been taught to believe that are hurting others. Use these moments as an opportunity to start dialogue about putting out the fire of sex trafficking.

“Never underestimate the effectiveness of one small act. Many small acts together form a powerful movement.”