Friday, March 2, 2012

America's Dirty Little Secret

            Sex trafficking is becoming one of the worlds’ biggest growing problems in the world today. When we think of sex trafficking we don’t tend to think of it happening in America. Sex trafficking is when people are exploited through coercion, threat, force and deception. It necessarily isn’t only sex; it can be labor as well. These victims have no control or liberty over themselves. Victims of sex trafficking get lured in by parents, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends or someone random making all of these empty promises for a better life. A better life could include money, house, car, and freedom. Sometimes traffickers ask someone to marry them so they can feel comfortable or make them more willing to oblige. They do whatever they can to get these innocent individuals to say yes.
            The article I found while doing research on sex trafficking was very interesting because I have never heard of this form of finding victims and their pimps as well. Most of us have been on Craigslist and have had either good or bad experiences. However, not all the posts on sites like this and similar ones are good or moral. Since these sites don’t go out and say escort or prostitute, they will say “candy” or “new to the game”, which implies they are young. The wording is chosen carefully on these sites to make them harder to detect. A woman by the name of Kimberly Ritter who was scanning had noticed something peculiar.
            While browsing this website Ritter came across the escort section and while she didn’t know the girls in the photo, she did recognize the rooms. These rooms were actually middle to high end hotels that Ritter has stayed at because of her work. The way Ritter did and can recognize hotels, hotel chains and also sometimes the location. It was reported that she can recognize bathroom sinks, door locks, comforters and even the air conditioning units.
            Ms. Ritter can make a major difference in the world of anti sex trafficking and even her training can be very beneficial. The training can be done for the employees such as the ones at the front desk. If someone who checks in other then who registered, it should definitely be a red flag. Also the housekeeping and wait staff can pick up on certain cues such as noticing there aren’t bags or luggage in the rooms. Another way to identify a possible trafficked victim can be by if the child seems scared or abused or can have bruises. If anyone suspects suspicious behavior there is a hotline that can be reached on what further actions should be done. Just as recent as the Super bowl, a girl was brought home due to a hotel worker who pointed her out by a sheet of missing people who were believed to be working for a sex ring. The girl was 17 years old. This was not the only great news; two more girls were brought home safely as well.
            Other signs are of a child is wearing provocative or not age appropriate clothing. At times these girls will start flirting with the male workers because they are so used to it or they don’t know how else to act. If these are ever spotted, it is the workers job to tell their manager and they will call the proper authorities. It is the workers duty to tell because some hotels sign the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct which is a voluntary set of doctrines to fight trafficking.
             As I brought up earlier the sites like Backpage and Craigslist do get a lot of bad publicity. On Backpage everyone who posts a personal ad gets charged $1.00 to a credit card. The credit card is traceable and the card user can be identified, located, arrested and prosecuted if need be. Posts are monitored; however some do slide through the cracks. Millions of dollars is put into the detection and suspected child predators so that they are caught and don’t cause any more harm.
            This topic can be related to class with a few reasons. In class we talked about norms and values. Nothing about sex trafficking is normal or shows the value to themselves or others. Also, the deontological philosophy and how it relates to moral obligation. Moral obligation can be connected to sex trafficking by reporting any sort of suspicion; after all it may save someone’s life. Sex trafficking can be dramatically decreased if we all become aware.


  1. We should have special sentencing for people who are involved in human trafficking. These people need to have their rights, dignity and free will stipped from them like they did to their victims. I say bring back the cruel and unusual punishment for them.

  2. I think that this post brings up an excellent point. When most people think about sex-trafficking they probably think about countries in the former Soviet Union because it happens a lot there. What we don't think about is how often it happens in the United States. Though it's not quite as common here, it is still a big issue. In my opinion, one person that has been trafficked is too many. I think that it is a great idea to notify people that are in a position to notice this to the warning signs.

  3. IT is crazy to me now though how much more attention is paid to sex trafficking, a couple years ago people in America really didn't even know about it. It's funny to think about, but I think this is mainly due to the move Taken. It gave so much awareness to sex trafficking, and it also helped that it was a great movie. I would totally agree though that most people think its mainly happening overseas. Specially in poverty stricken countries. The reality is that is it happening here every single day. These poor young girls are drugged and put through hell until they are used up and then they are killed. It is not as prevalent in the US in comparison to other countries, but to know it is happening over here is a cause for great concern. Also if this problem is not addressed soon it could get out of hand and become even more of a problem. The people trafficking these girls tend to make a great deal of money, and if people see the wealth from this activity more will try and do it.

  4. Its a shame that this happens in the United States, well anywhere. Firstly, i can not see how a human being can do this to another. But look at slavery. I just hope that our Law Enforcement can effectively deal with this problem, and eradicate it asap. It is so new to us, so we do not know how to fight against it and we probably dont know to what extent it expands. Just makes me horrified.

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