Human trafficking: a misunderstood global scourge
“For years, whenever we talked about sex trafficking in America the reaction was surprise,” says Andrea Powell, executive director and cofounder of FAIR Girls, an anti-trafficking organization based in Washington, D.C. “The perception was that it happened to girls in foreign countries…. We’ve seen the beginning of a shift in the attitudes in the US, and that has to do with public awareness.”
On one level, the new and growing focus on domestic human trafficking seems straightforward. Clearly, enslavement of individuals, and sexual exploitation of children, is cause for concern. But when the international issue becomes a domestic one, and when forced labor starts to involve sex, there also comes an emotional debate about where the real problem ends and where hype and sensationalism begin.
As with anything that involves the letters S, E, and X, academics, advocates, and the general public are emotional and divided. Dig beneath the surface…
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