Justice Denied—Women’s Lives Cruelly Destroyed by Sex Trafficking Gangsta Rap Artist Hailed as a CelebrityMay 21, 2013
By Jacqueline S. Homan, author of Without Apology
Snoop Lion used to be known as Snoop Dogg. Apparently, he re-tooled himself. His name is Snoop Dogshit as far as I’m concerned. A recent Rolling Stone article featured Snoop bragging about trafficking women and girls without a shred of remorse:
“Snoop had already been a platinum selling rapper for ten years when he turned his pimping fantasies into a reality. For Snoop, it “was never about the money; it was about the fascination of being a pimp.” He says he would let the girls keep the money after they, um, performed their services. He added, “as a kid I dreamed of being a pimp, I dreamed of having cars and clothes and bitches to match.”"
Now, here’s the real crime of it all: Snoop, like other rich pimps and traffickers NEVER suffered ANY of the social costs as exploiters of women and girls. Only the poor marginalized trafficked women and girls did—that is, for those who survived. Many either ended up dead from suicide, drug overdoses, murder at the hands of johns, or dead from untreated HIV/AIDS.
How can ANYONE claiming that they care about, or claiming that they support, sex trafficking victims/survivors sit by quietly and NOT demand that Snoop’s CD’s, videos, T-shirts, etc. be removed from store shelves?
How can people be silent instead of demanding that Snoop make reparations for the completely destroyed lives of those women and girls?
What kind of people applaud the fame and fortune of rich pimps and traffickers while leaving poor, marginalized trafficking survivors to rot in total social exclusion with NO social and economic support, and NO restorative justice?
Where is the deafening moral outrage from the anti-trafficking movement, the feminist movement, and the class justice movement?
Where is the richly deserved social stigma for pimps and traffickers?
Poor marginalized trafficking and prostitution survivors suffer social condemnation and rejection (and outright bullying) and utter poverty for the rest of their lives in many cases. Many whom are now older women fear for their grandchildren being tormented and bullied at school because “Grandma was a ho”—regardless of how or when “Grandma” got pressed into prostitution (and subsequently exited), be it from being trafficked by a criminal gang or be it from being forced into it by the gun of poverty aimed squarely at their heads—while those who exploited them, who profited from their rapes, torture, forcible infection with fatal STD’s and other forms of brutal treatment are treated as super stars.
Where is the moral outcry about that?
So far, the ONLY organization that is publicly expressing any outrage and demanding any restorative justice on behalf of the pimped and trafficked women and girls whose lives were ruined in order for some gangster rapper to fulfill his fantasy is Trafficking and Prostitution Services (TAPS)—I am still waiting to see what response, if any, TAPS will get to this letter:
Hugh Hefner, Founder
Theresa Hennessey, Public Relations
via email firstname.lastname@example.org
c/o Jay Bird, Agent
William Morris Agency
Via Email email@example.com
California Attorney General
Fax (916) 323-5341
Catherine Cortez Masto
Nevada Attorney General
Rolling Stone Magazine
Gloria Allred, Esq.
Attorney at Law
Via Fax (323) 653-1660
Trafficking In America Conference
Luis C De Baca
US Dept. of State
Congressman Joe Heck
Review Journal Newspaper
To All Addressed Above:
I read the recent article Snoop Dogg published about his time “living out his fantasy to be a pimp”. In most of society, when you want to live out a sexual fantasy, you get your partner to play out this fantasy with you that’s mutually agreed upon. In some cases, a man might even hire a prostitute or a dominatrix where they describe this fantasy to them. They then agree upon a price for this fantasy – and then live it out.
In this Rolling Stone article – Snoop says that he essentially went from town to town playing out his “fantasy to be a pimp”. He did this by “selling pussy” to professional sports players across the USA to prostitutes. Prostitutes he then says weren’t “really” paying him as a pimp because he “gave the money back” after the act was done.
First of all, if I had a fantasy about robbing a bank and then went about actually robbing a bank – giving the money back to the bank after I’d just robbed them doesn’t make the criminal act that I’ve just committed go away. Now if I had a friend who owned a bank who let me stage a “fake robbery” that everyone knew about ahead of time was a “fake” – then that could be called a “fantasy”. But Snoop clearly states that he committed everything during this tour a pimp does – then somehow giving the money back in an “April Fool’s” gesture (or so he says is what happened here) is supposed to make this all “good clean harmless fun”.
Well it wasn’t all “good clean harmless fun” nor just a “fantasy” from some of these womens’ perspectives who clearly were engaging in acts of prostitution. Acts that just because Snoop decided he wanted to give the money back after the women committed these sexual acts doesn’t make it all okay.
During this infamous Playboy tour, I received a call from Joe Heck about a case of a pregnant prostitute. The family had contacted him asking for help to get their daughter away from this violent pimp who was not letting their daughter escape his grip. He told me he couldn’t find anyone else in Nevada that would help in such a situation and asked me to help the family get their daughter free.
I contacted the family who then described to me what was going on. This pimp had been arrested before and had a history of violence. The girl was a few months pregnant, and afraid to leave for fear her family would be killed. I was able to make contact with the girl and find out what was going on.
Snoop Dogg did have this Playboy Tour going on where he was the “lure” if you will for these hardcore pimps that were right behind him. He would be the glitter and the glitz to bring the girls to them from the club to backstage. There they would receive drugs and then be “turned out”. Once they had gotten a taste of coke and celebrity and “broken in”, they would then be transferred like “hand me downs” to the hardcore traffickers. In this girl’s case, she was told that if she left that her family would be killed. Since these pimp knew where they lived – she had reason to believe the threats were real.
I convinced the family to move to a new location – and not tell the girl where the pimp could overhear the new location. Then I had it set up so that she’d get arrested on some minor charge where she wasn’t really arrested – just held. As she came out of the police station (knowing that no pimp is going near the police station) I was able to make contact with this girl and let her know that her family had moved, they were safe, and to come with me now to go to them.
We had her to her family in a short time. A few months later I received baby photos of the girl with her four month old baby girl safe and sound. This was not a woman who had been prostituting pregnant because she wanted to be – but because she clearly was afraid that her family would have been killed if she had tried to leave. This was made clear by the fact that once she knew her family was safe – she was out of there and with them.
However, this left a problem of what to do with the other girls being trafficked left behind and who were going to be going into this trafficking factory. The police didn’t want to get involved in this. No one wanted to go up against Snoop Dogg and all of the whole rap entertainment community. I certainly couldn’t make any public charges about him being part of a trafficking ring without risking defamation charges and a team of lawyers coming after me either.
All we could do was rally around our members who are nationally distributed. As the tour would come into a town – we knew that Snoop would be using the concert to lure in new victims. We would then do our best to get at the girls on a “one on one” basis to either prevent them from getting lured in – or when they would get entangled – take them out the back door to safety.
No one wanted to make a police report against a trafficking ring that was under the “wing” of protection of the music industry afforded by not just Snoop Dogg – but his “athletes.” What isn’t being understood in this article was that these were huge professional athletes. There were young girls who weighed maybe 110 pounds and not all of them were 18 years old either. Some of them lied about their age to get into these concerts. They were asked backstage to meet celebrities, athletes and musicians. Next thing they know, they’re having a door shut behind them where Snoop is then living out his “fantasy” of “selling” their “pussy” to these huge 200-300 pound athletes who are famous and wealthy who are all standing there in the room together getting high, drunk, and negotiating over their bodies like they were car parts.
They can’t exactly say “no”.
Would you? Just imagine you’re an 18 year old (if that) thin female who is suddenly asked back stage after a concert to meet Snoop Dogg and all of his friends and other musicians that were with him, and visiting him backstage during one of these events. You’re asked back into a party room where everyone is drinking and getting high which Snoop and his friends are notorious for doing after a show. There are also professional athletes there who are not the size of jockeys. These are huge, muscular athletes who are also wealthy, powerful and famous.
Snoop said clearly it was “his” fantasy to “sell pussy” to these athletes – not that these women had that fantasy and that he was fulfilling “their” fantasies for them when he did these things. As he also admits selling these women to more than one athlete in more than one city – he talks about how he “gave the money back” to the women when they gave it to him. If you act this out – it means the athletes are giving the money to the women, having sex with them, and then the women are giving the money to Snoop – all within the same area at the same time in order for Snoop to be giving it back to them.
We’re not talking that these men took them back to their hotel rooms for the night then to do this – or they would have had to go all the way back through security just to turn the money. That’s not going to happen. She’s not going to be partying, having sex with this famous athlete in his hotel room, and then going all the way back to wake Snoop up the next day to pay him his money. No – this was all taking place at the same time and location.
Again, robbing a bank and then giving the money back after – doesn’t make it okay. A bank robber can’t go “April Fool’s” and get out of an armed bank robbery charge. Why would what Snoop did here not be considered an act of sex trafficking? Especially when there is no proof offered that these women where (1) over 18 years of age, (2) consenting to this, (3) actually did return the money? Were receipts and copies of the ID’s of these women kept on file to verify any of this?
Prostitution is still illegal anywhere but in a small county in Nevada. What Snoop did here – whether he gave the money back or not – the act having been committed – was still prostitution. Therefore, even having given the money back – he’s still guilty of pandering. Even if these women didn’t commit prostitution. Even if he didn’t commit an act of pimping. He is clearly guilty of pandering – even this article is an act of pandering.
Our group and its members had to execute more than one rescue to get these women away from the pimps who were tagging around behind Snoop’s protective wings of his celebrity, money, status and power – as well as his connections. They also used him to hook them up with clients – such as the professional athletes – even by his own admission.
These women were young – many of whom didn’t have jobs. They didn’t have health insurance. They didn’t have any money. So I had to provide them with support services at no expense to them. I had to provide emergency shelter to these women while we got them back home. I had to provide transportation to them to get them back home once they’d been transported across state lines. I had to help some of them get into drug treatment. I had to sit up with them for hours at night sometimes while they were having nightmares, and flashbacks – and being scared to death that they’d be “found” again. Many of them were so traumatized by the experiences and the ordeal – they report they can’t even go to any concerts any more.
I had to keep our overhead on to answer these calls. Which meant I had to pay for our website, our phones, our toll free service, our fax line, our internet, our hosting service, our cell phones, cars, gasoline, insurance, and even tickets to get into some of these concerts so we could be there to help those who were being targeted by this sick, criminal fantasy of his. I also had to pay for the airplane tickets, the bus tickets, and the hotel bills while we were arranging to either get these women home, into a treatment program, or onto their own feet again away from this whole “system”.
How am I supposed to apply for a grant for this or even ask for any donations for this rescue work we were having to do – when no one would believe us if we told them before this confession of Snoop’s himself about what he was doing back then?
While he was living out his fantasies, and making all that money, and laughing about how he’s just “handing back the money” because this was all one big game to him – I was the one having to pay the check on this big banquet he was having. Certainly no one else was going to. We couldn’t even ask for help from some of the trafficking programs – because no one was going to go into these locations back stage to find these girls to help them get out the back doors when people still think most trafficking is only happening on street corners – and not right on the main stage with wealthy celebrities, musicians, and athletes.
Which is why many of these victims couldn’t even ask for help with traditional therapists. No one would have believed them. They would have thought they were being “crazy” and “paranoid” and maybe even tried to lock them up for observation. As it was, for those who did feel betrayed by their own society when these famous men turned them out like objects and treated them like trash – and then turned them over to violent pimps to continue the abuse – so I was having to verify this really happened to these victims just so they could get counseling and not be locked up for psychiatric observation.
While Snoop now gets to joke around about what “fun” the whole thing was in Rolling Stone? If you allow this to be viewed as something of a “boys will be boys” oh this is just the way “men act on tour” kind of thing – while I’m having to live on $710 a month in Social Security disability and trying to figure out how to network all of these resources needed to help rescue and take care of these women and let’s face it “girls” that were victimized and damaged for life by this tour – then you become a part of one of the largest trafficking rings that ever operated across the USA in history.
Mr. Hefner, you gave $1,000,000 to Lois Lee with Children of the Night because they help young prostitutes and trafficking victims. They do excellent work. Any girl affected by prostitution and trafficking can call their hotline 24/7 and get to safety and help – while if a woman happens to be a day over 18 years of age and therefore an adult – she gets to call a hotline that I have sitting on a table I bought at Wal-Mart for $20 that’s answered on an 800 number I have through Vonage because I can pay $15 for that phone number and barely squeeze out that bill on my income.
The victims of this tour are guaranteed their “anonymity” through our program and I’m not going to trot them out on some dog and pony show now that he’s’ confessed in order to get a donation when I actually think I’m entitled to damages for the expenses I incurred having to help these women to escape and recover because Snoop had a “fantasy” he wanted to live out without any thought about the after-effects or the full consequences of his actions on this “pimp” tour of his.
But isn’t that just exactly how a pimp thinks? That there are no consequences or “real damage done” or after-effects to what he’s done to his victims? That it was all just a “victimless crime” because everyone is left with all their fingers and toes now?
Not all damage is seen – and I can testify that some of these women have been damaged for life from what they went through connected with a whole process that he started rolling when the wheels of that tour bus hit the road. Since I posted something about this on my facebook – I’m even getting letters from other victims I wasn’t even aware of writing me who have been damaged by this man, or connected with the whole process he set up in this tour that he was the figurehead and the ringleader of.
He is a criminal. He should be treated no different than any other pimp in this country. As an American citizen, I demand a full criminal investigation be done against this man and everyone connected with this tour he’s confessed to “playing pimp”.
If we tolerate this – then we’re saying that men and “play murderer” or “play rapist” or “play bank robber” and that it’s all okay if you tell the reporter that you “gave the money back” and then try and laugh it off like it’s all a big joke.
If this is a joke – then Auschwitz is hilarious.
Yvonne, you’re organizing a Trafficking in America Conference on May 24-25th. I’d like you to sign a petition I’ll be sending over to your attendees that any outlet that carries Snoop Dogg’s music stop carrying it based on the fact that he’s admitted to being a human trafficker. Giving the money back doesn’t make the act go away that he’s admitted to performing on that tour besides his musical act.
If Snoop wants to laugh and give the money back – I’d like to know when he’s going to compensate me for the damages I incurred in my expenses in taking care of these women’s rescue and the work with their recovery after these experiences. He’s certainly going to be making money from the sales of his albums off the press he’s receiving from making such statements – and from his providing of sexual favors for professional athletes.
Mr. Hefner – I’d like to know what you’re going to do about the fact that you support Children of the Night’s work. This means you understand the horrible damage these girls go through when they’ve been pimped and trafficked. I want to know what you’re going to do about the sponsoring of someone who has admitted now that he’s a human trafficker. Again, just because he gave the money back doesn’t make the act go away.
I have an interview up on my radio show at www.blogtalkradio.com/stopsextrafficktalk
where I have an interview with a man who was a pimp for over 30 years. In this interview, Derek Williams reports that the reason why he was a pimp was because “that’s all he saw” in the urban community was pimps, drugs dealers, and the mistreatment of women. To him, seeing this kind of thing was “normal”. In other words, no one showed him this mistreatment of women was wrong.
A lot of young men, soon to be pimps, up and coming pimps, and old gentlemen pimps read your magazine Mr. Hefner. I’d like to know what your publication is going to do about showing these men that this is not “normal” and in fact downright a “wrong” way to treat and view women.
Something has to be done about this. I can be reached at the above contact information.
The kicker is he didn’t do it for the money. He did for the FUN of it! He totally destroyed the lives of countless women and girls FOR FUN! He was already a rich rap star when he began fulfilling his “fantasy” of pimping women and girls. Selling an unwitting and duped 110 lb woman/girl to a room full of 200-300 lb football players for them to rape for money—and this was “fun” for Snoop.
Ask my colleagues and friends Jody Williams and Amy Schwartz at TAPS about just how “fun” it was for members of TAPS—a non-wealthy, non-government, non-charity, self-sustaining survivor-run org (on a shoestring budget)—to have to go and rescue some of those victims (with NO help or cooperation from police) from brutal traffickers who followed Snoop Dogg’s tours like maggots drawn to rancid meat. Yeah, it was real fun alright…
Since Snoop had his “spiritual transformation”, like so many other misogynists who sacrificed the lives of women and girls on the altar of the Almighty Phallocracy ‘just because’, he gets a free pass and celebrity treatment. And society reaffirms that he deserves his wealth and success and whatever other sick, twisted sexually sadistic benefit he got from inflicting harm and death on the girls he pimped for “fun”—society gave Snoop full approval by according him all of life’s social prizes and rewards while giving nothing but poverty, total marginalization, stigmatization and destruction to the women and girls who emerged as broken human wreckage from Snoop’s “fantasy.”
And for those who were swept away by the vicious human traffickers that were part of Snoop’s fun-filled tours, only to end up either murdered by johns or infected with HIV/AIDS? Too bad for them. But all is good—all Snoop had to do was hit the “Jesus Forgives Me” reset button and all is cool.
by Jacqueline S. Homan,
author of Without Apology
Combatting the scourge of human trafficking has become the sexy, trendy newest cause for privileged opportunists in need of their newest feel-good activism fix as they seek to profit by wrapping themselves in the cloak of social justice. Of course, those whom are the very core of this cause—the sex trafficking victims (or exited women) themselves—are without real, adequate and appropriate help in terms of income support, medical care, education, job training and job placement to regain control of their destiny to rebuild their lives and live with dignity while trying to do so.
Restoring trafficked women to “normalized” status in society is an important goal, but there is an enormous resistance to that on the part of society, including many “allies” that will not stop their privilege-clinging and power-overing to actually facilitate restoration. Sadly, even most such “allies” look down on adult prostituted women who started out as trafficked under-aged girls.
The very women and girls whom this movement is supposed to be about are exploited for their stories and then discarded and thrown under the bus by most “allies”, including many well-heeled academics who’ve been enriched with chair endowments and many other social prizes and rewards after prostituted/exited women’s stories of tremendous suffering have helped pave the career paths of those who enjoy all the status, prestige and prosperity in the name of “speaking for” downtrodden, marginalized women.
After decades of throwing the poorest, most marginalized women away with misogynistic laws and policies of “benign neglect” tantamount to social Darwinism, everybody suddenly wants to cash in on the big business of helping trafficked women and girls. How odd, considering that it was this very same male supremacist society that threw away poor marginalized women and girls into the prostitute caste in the first place—first by ripping away what meager, inadequate threadbare safety net that did exist for destitute women in the name of “personal responsibility”, and second by continuing to discriminate against women for good-paying blue-collar “men’s jobs” that don’t require an expensive college education, and third by reaffirming male entitlement to women’s bodies as disposable reproductive goods and sex goods.
The Obama administration has unveiled a plan inviting public participation for helping to fight human trafficking, and part of the plan is to open funding for battered women’s shelters whose funding was recently cut by the 2010 Congress. More troubling is that most of these domestic violence shelters refuse to take prostituted women who want to exit but who are also destitute and have nowhere to go. Funding for emergency shelters that turn away trafficked women and under-aged girls is funding that won’t be given to shelters run by anti-trafficking groups that help the trafficked.
Cash-strapped survivor-run and/or secular NGO’s that are geared towards providing real material help to survivors get little to none of the funding from the US Department of Health & Human Services through its Refugee Resettlement Office. Non-profit groups that get the lion’s share of the annual grants from the Office of Refugee Resettlement are nearly all anti-abortion Christian organizations that are huge, deeply entrenched corporations with Catholic Charities and Polaris Project getting the most funds.
This is problematic because faith-based charities refuse to provide abortion care to trafficked women and leave them no choice except to be further physically and psychologically violated by their rapists-johns by forcing them to endure a full term of incapacitating pregnancy and a traumatic, grueling childbirth—thus, continuing the rape and torture. Forcing women to get/remain pregnant against their will when they don’t want to go through it has been the time-honored way that men have oppressed and continue to oppress women, using our vulnerability to pregnancy to keep us from having an equal opportunity to have the same good jobs that are automatically handed to men, denying us full citizenship and equal civil and human rights—which is what fuels the sex trade in the first place because it limits women’s opportunities and rights.
If it’s wrong for women and girls to be sexually exploited, how is it NOT also wrong for them to be reproductively exploited by their “rescuers” for the benefit of Christian adoption agencies and rich, white childless couples who are buying the “right” to further exploit those victims with forced factory-farm reproduction to provide them with babies—free grata?
How does this make them any different than the johns who bought the “right” to first use these girls’ bodies for forced sex to provide him with his precious orgasm?
There is something radically wrong with the system when the non-profit mega corporations (aka “faith-based” charities) that enjoy the backing of well-heeled patriarchal, misogynistic religious powerhouses get all the federal grant money from the US Department of Health & Human Services while cash-strapped secular and survivor-run non-profits started by impoverished exited women who are the real human trafficking experts can’t get funding to help destitute survivors and women who want to exit prostitution but can’t due to nearly insurmountable barriers.
A trafficked teen girl who has no choice becomes that 22 year old drug-addicted woman found in a dumpster with her throat cut from ear to ear because of being thrown away by a bootstrap-happy society that pushed her into the arms of traffickers in the name of “personal responsibility” while refusing to give her real equal opportunities and provide a social floor through which no one can fall.
The Exploitation Continues After Exiting
Now not all men are bad, and neither are all Christians. But the fact remains that the majority are comfortable with the status quo because it privileges them at women’s expense, or else there would NOT be a right-wing War on Women where it is women (especially POOR women) who punished with gratuitous cruelty for men’s sense of entitlement, greed, and debauchery. And there would not be a pandemic of sex trafficking fueled by male demand secured by female poverty and disenfranchisement due to discrimination backed by 6,000 years of institutionalized patriarchy.
People with privilege really don’t want to upset the status quo—it may mean having to relinquish some of their own privileges that come at the expense of the disprivileged. Even within the abolition movement, there is a LOT of privilege-clinging and power-overing.
Exploiting women as sex goods and as reproductive chattel are inseparable. It’s the same end game: objectification, reproductive enslavement, sexual terrorism and cruelty towards women to support male supremacy and male privilege to benefit men at women’s expense, suffering and misery.
Forced pregnancy/childbirth was the main linchpin that upheld the plantation slavery system in the antebellum South. African slave women were forced to breed. All for men’s sexual AND economic benefit at women’s expense and suffering. And even though not all men are porn-consuming, prostitute-abusing pigs, the fact remains that ALL men benefit from this sadistic, exploitative hierarchical system of unearned privileges in which women are kept economically, sexually, and socially oppressed in the ‘one-down’ position. And poor white women (“poor white trash”) have also been convenient throw-aways into the sex class so that men could have a free license to be sexually sadistic predators.
It’s no secret that most who are thrown away into the sex caste are those who either lack class privilege or race privilege or both. Poor men get offered helping hand up and job opportunities that are denied to women; poor women get told to take our clothes off—that being “only a whore” is the ONLY place in society for us, the only “option” if we don’t want to starve or be homeless. Or end up disabled or dead for lack of health care from jobless poverty due to discrimination. This is also how you get so many rescued trafficked women who, out of utter despair, reluctantly return to the traffickers and johns.
Traffickers tell their victims that there is no other place for them, that society won’t accept them and treat them nicely. Unfortunately, the lack of support, help, social acceptance, and a leg up for poor, marginalized exited women faced with no alternative except to return to prostitution gives this credence: Everybody (including many “allies” and “rescuers”) in society proves the traffickers right.
Almost all of the faith-based organizations that get the lion’s share of federal grant money only help a select few kids that make good photo opportunities for their charity’s fundraising PR. What kind of message does this send to trafficked teens and adult women who desperately want to exit prostitution that they were trafficked into before reaching that magical age of 18?
Meanwhile, poor adult women who either have already exited (or who want to exit but feel trapped because they’re physically and/or financially unable to exit) never get anything because there’s this idea that grown women cannot suffer and therefore don’t matter. Adult women are just discarded and written off as having made their “choice.” Almost all anti-trafficking groups focus only on children and ignore the women.
The Cost to Society of Ignoring Poor Prostituted Adult Women
Conservative estimates based on limited data collection place the percentage of sex trafficking victims with HIV at about 25%, but actual numbers may be much higher. According to the Office of the Secretariat of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, 63% of HIV-positive sufferers aged 15-24 are women.
A 2007 study published in JAMA showed that 38% of a study group of 287 sex trafficked Nepalese women and girls tested positive for HIV. The study also showed that the younger the trafficked girl, the higher the likelihood of being exposed to HIV since johns specifically request younger girls (under age 15) at brothels and johns often refuse to wear condoms and the prostituted women and girls realistically cannot compel them to.
Many other regions have much higher rates than that, such as Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where 75% of prostituted women and girls are HIV-positive. Women and children who are trafficked for commercial sex experience a tenfold risk of contracting HIV compared to any other subgroup of the population. The average age of entry into the sex trade for females is 12-14 years of age. The US is one of the top three source and destination hubs for sex trafficking.
According to the US State Department, 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and according to the Harvard School of Public Health study authored by Dr. Jay Silverman, the HIV infection rate exceeded 60% among girls forced into prostitution prior to age 15 from the 2007 sample of 287 Nepalese women and girls. The public health consequence, and ultimately, the devastation to society caused by male demand for commercial sex is astronomical.
“Addressing the widely accepted male demand for commercial sex is critical to ending this modern day form of female slavery,” Silverman said.
As sex trafficking survivor Lisa Bouvet, said: “Saying someone chose to become a prostitute is like saying someone chose to jump off the roof but no one mentioned that the building was on fire.”
Those who manage to exit the sex trade also face a substantial risk of being re-trafficked if they are from a country that lacks adequate social and economic support systems because of the contempt, scorn, derision, neglect and social rejection suffered by the prostituted. Many exited women and girls, out of sheer desperation, re-enter the sex trade when they’re left with nowhere else to go and no real social and economic support because of the criminalization and stigma that comes with being a prostituted woman. And when that happens, chances of being able to re-escape and survive are almost zero.
Many exited women are unable to afford proper medical care and due to total social exclusion and marginalization, they have almost zero employment opportunities and no hope of economically fending for themselves. Almost no one will hire exited women due to the social stigma alone, and finding some middle class Prince Charming to rescue her from utter destitution by marrying her and supporting her so she has a home, food, and medical care is definitely off the table.
As an aside, a study of johns showed that upwards of 60% are married men with families—they bought prostituted women so they could get away with doing to a woman what they would never be able to do to their own wives. If you torture and kill one of the “madonnas”, you will likely get prison; if you torture and kill one of the “whores”, you will likely get a free pass and a pat on the back.
Convicted Child Molesters Get More Social Acceptance and Better Economic Support For Re-entering Society Than Sex Trafficking Survivors
According to Dr. Brian Conway of the University of British Columbia, people who contract HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—can live very, very long and high quality lives without ever developing full blown AIDS as long as their CD4 (white blood cell) count remains well above 200 on medical therapy. But the vast majority of exited women struggle in abject poverty, and in countries like the US and the impoverished regions of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, destitute human trafficking survivors don’t have access to adequate medical treatment or any social income support to be able to live with dignity. Consequently, the sex trafficking survivors who contracted HIV from johns and traffickers are slapped with a cruel, torturous death sentence: slow, painful death from AIDS related complications.
Two major factors that negatively impact CD4 cell count are fatigue and stress. The stress from having to suffer in utter poverty and complete social exclusion due to stigma, compounded by the trauma levels of anyone who survived the amount of violence and torture as prostituted women have, only serves to intensify the agonizing progression of untreated HIV, which is hallmarked by ravaging and unrelenting opportunistic infections such as pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) which causes fatal treatment-resistant pneumonia for which medical intervention does not come cheap.
Untreated HIV is a certain death sentence, but it is a very slow and torturous one that surpasses the level of torture that would be permissible at Guantanamo. Treatment of HIV requires a series of antiretroviral drug therapies, of which there are several classes—each one inhibiting the mutation and multiplication of the HIV virus at different stages of cell invasion in the HIV virus’s life cycle. Often, several classes must be combined to effectively treat this devastating retrovirus which targets CD4 cells, injects healthy CD4 cells with its genetic code (RNA) which is then used by the reverse transcriptase enzyme to build HIV DNA.
The HIV DNA is injected into the CD4 cell’s DNA by the integrase enzyme, establishing HIV infection in the CD4 cell. When the HIV-infected CD4 cell reproduces, the HIV DNA is activated. This is how a retrovirus like HIV destroys the immune system and causes full blown AIDS—by attacking the body’s white blood cells. And this is why multi-faceted therapy drug schedules are needed to treat and subdue or limit the HIV virus’s activity within the body.
None of the current medical technologies for treating HIV can protect an HIV-positive person’s sexual partner from contracting HIV no matter how well the infected person responds to the antiretroviral therapy. So an HIV-positive john with access to good medical care and who is able to improve his healthy CD4 cell count and limit the devastation of HIV in his body, who then turns around and buys rape-on-demand sex from poor prostituted women (and likely refuses to wear a condom) then infects the trafficking victim who is unable to compel him to wear a condom—never mind dictate any other terms and conditions of the sex-for-money transaction. In fact, it is usually in attempting to refuse a particular sexual act that gets prostituted women murdered—if not by the john who wanted to hurt her as part of the “services” he paid for, then by the traffickers in whose eyes a “troublesome” woman’s life isn’t even worth eight cents.
Unlike the traffickers and the johns on sex tourism “vacations” at home and abroad who paid for the “right” to get “you-do-what-I-say” sex from prostituted women and children, poor trafficked and/or exited women that contracted HIV from these self-entitled sexually sadistic men that refused to wear condoms have little to no hope at all of living a long, high quality life if they cannot get proper care due to being from a country in which women do not enjoy equal rights with men, and a country that either does not have the medical technology of antiretroviral therapy available, or that does not provide good medical care to those unable to pay for it because of that country not having universal health care.
To be sentenced to death from full blown AIDS as a direct result of first being forcibly infected with it by cruel, sexually sadistic men that are carriers of HIV and secondly by lack of access to the same quality of medical care to adequately treat HIV that their class-privileged HIV-positive rapists enjoy, meets the definition of torture and crimes against humanity.
In the US, convicted serial killers sentenced to death row get more sympathy and avenues for legal redress and concern for their rights than an adult sex trafficking victim who struggled to exit “the life” against all odds. Regardless of where one stands on the death penalty issue, the fact is that the way the state is permitted to execute a convicted serial killer is restricted by Constitutional laws against cruel and unusual punishment and torture—which is why no one is executed by being drawn and quartered or burned alive at the stake like they were in medieval Europe.
It is also why the state cannot (in theory, anyway) execute someone with biological terrorism, and neither can an individual resort to that under Stand Your Ground Laws. Bioterrorism is precisely what traffickers and johns are doing by deliberately infecting prostituted women with a fatal, incurable STD. Women and children did not enter prostitution with HIV—traffickers and johns infected them with it.
It is a crime against humanity for any other identifiable group to be targeted for death by sexual torture, destitution and bioterrorism—except women. Do the math: 95% of the prostituted are women and girls, 94% of those living below poverty suffering without basic human needs are women and girls. Women comprise 52% of the population yet women have less than 2% of all good-paying blue-collar skilled trades jobs and science careers due to institutionalized sexism and discrimination. Men comprise 88% of the government leadership and lawmaking bodies, and men comprise 98% of the top 1% of the financial elite. Although 5% of the prostituted are boys and men, nearly 100% of the sex buyers are men. Money, privilege and power are gendered. And so is the institution of prostitution.
There are upwards of about 10 million trafficked women and girls trapped in prostitution in the US and only 200 shelter beds nationwide for women and girls who desperately want to exit but cannot. So the final question remains: will destitute exited women get helped with income support to live with a little bit of human dignity while they struggle to heal and rebuild their lives, or will this new anti-trafficking plan by the Obama administration merely serve as a boon for large charity executives? If this country is serious about the sex trafficking problem, then funds for destitute trafficking victims payable to the destitute exited women whether they exited 20 minutes ago or 20 years ago must come first before anyone else’s enrichment. What is needed is: income for destitute exiting/exited women to live with dignity as they try to get on their feet and rebuild their lives, medical care, dental care, therapy, advanced educations and/or vocational training and REAL job placement—guaranteed job slots for poor marginalized exited women.
What’s your writing background? When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
My writing background includes bioethics articles, most of which were ghostwritten for others and published in medical journals, science and technology articles for Edwin Black’s online newspaper, The Cutting Edge News, blogs, and five non-fiction books that centre on social and political criticism and social justice.
What inspired me to write in the first place is that I am a marginalized woman—from deep inter-generational poverty, and I am also an exited woman who escaped sexual exploitation as a homeless orphaned teen.
I am mending every day, every moment of every day.
But there was so much broken by prostitution - it has hard to believe I ever be fully mended and whole.
There are too many holes, too many deep scars, too many times I have trauma without knowing the full root of how it came into me.
When a prostitute, I was made into a living doll - a doll that was smashed into a million pieces and then re-molded to appear new again.
It is 5am.
I have just finished reading Corban Addison's, "A Walk Across the Sun". It has been a while since I have braved reading a book about human trafficking. I avoid it, because every time I read about a girl's 'introduction' into prostitution, it takes me a while to put my emotions aside and enter real life brothels again without thinking about what happens behind closed doors.
I have writing this blog for so long, several years - and I feel I have say too much over and over and over and over again.
I am now mentally exhausted, and like many amazing exited women have come to wonder if we just communicating with a brick wall.
Yes, most who read me would named themselves as abolitionists - but do you truly hear and honour exited women.