The New Yorker: “The Countertraffickers”

The May 5 New Yorker has an excellent article on global sex trafficking. One of the most striking aspects is the effort by sex traffickers to get victims to put a happy face on the trade. We are reminded of one of the biggest ongoing lies of porn–that women and children enjoy abuse.

Here are some excerpts from the New Yorker article:

The Countertraffickers

Trafficking can start with a kidnapping. More commonly, it starts with a broken agreement about a job promised, conditions of work, or one’s true destination. Most victims suffer some combination of threats, violence, forced labor, and effective imprisonment. The commercial sex industry, according to the International Labor Organization, absorbs slightly less than half of all trafficked labor worldwide…

For cross-border trafficking worldwide, estimates range from half a million people annually to several times that figure…

In some parts of the world, established mafias dominate the trade… Many of these groups simply added human trafficking to existing crime portfolios, often running women alongside traditional contraband, like drugs and arms…

Many legitimate businesses share, unwittingly or otherwise, in the profits–travel agencies, hotels, tour-bus companies, night clubs–along with accountants, lawyers, doctors, landlords, forgers, and a large, indispensable contingent of corrupt police officers, border guards, and embassy personnel. Everybody seems to be making money except the trafficked women and girls…

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is now the third most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world, after weapons and narcotics. Annual profits are reckoned to be in the tens of billions of dollars…

A La Strada survey found that a majority of trafficked Moldovan women had been victims of domestic violence…

Few victims arrive [home] feeling ready for a fight. Many, according to Rotaru and her colleagues, seem broken. Beatings, rape, and torture are common methods of labor control among pimps, and, along with threats to harm the women’s families, including their children, they usually have the intended effect…

Traffickers have become smarter…about recruitment, increasingly using a technique known, with some dissonance, as “happy trafficking.” (Anti-trafficking organizations object to the phrase.) Happy trafficking involves a Faustian deal. Victims who have worked off their “debts” (invented by pimps, arbitrarily increased by “fines” and alleged costs, and fully reinstated, if not increased, with each resale) are permitted to go home on the condition that they send back someone else–or two or three someone elses–to take their place. In order to make the sales pitch persuasive, they must represent their own emigration experience as having been a positive one. They may sometimes admit that it involved prostitution, but never that it was an onerous, degrading job in which, say, they were given no choice about the number of clients, what sexual services to provide, or whether condoms would be used…

Ex-victims turn out to be effective recruiters…

Repatriated victims of trafficking, or V.O.T.s, are also vulnerable to “re-trafficking.” …many women, having worked as prostitutes, seem convinced that they are incapable of earning a living another way.

“It’s good if we find a victim while she is still in the state of fighting her exploitation,” Victor Lutenco, an [International Organization for Migration] trafficking-prevention specialist, told me. “Because later the victims develop big psychological problems. Some develop Stockholm syndrome. I saw an arrest in Moscow where the victim insisted on being handcuffed to her trafficker! Some women become terrified of anybody in uniform, and totally dependent on their pimp.”

…Public skepticism about the gullibility and true intentions of the young women who become victims is also a challenge. “Victim blaming is the Moldovan national sport,” an anti-trafficking official in Chisinau said. Over time, this stigma, or merely the mentally oppressive threat of it, inclines some victims to leave home again, and risk re-trafficking. It also helps discourage them from pursuing criminal charges against their traffickers…

[Psychologist Lilia Gorceag] has also seen women who worked as high-end prostitutes in the United Arab Emirates and returned to Moldova with savings. “They say, ‘I don’t need help. I can buy a place to live now.’ But, after a year or two, many of them come back to us, and say they have family problems, problems with their sexual relations. Each of them is marked by her experience.”

…Police are notorious in many places not only for protecting traffickers and pimps but for demanding sexual favors themselves…

Stella Rotaru [of the International Organization for Migration] approves of the Swedish approach to prostitution. “I like that they punish the clients for a change,” she said…

Some johns undoubtedly don’t care whether or not a woman is trafficked–some are even said to find the idea stimulating–but people doing anti-trafficking work hear more often of women who are threatened by their pimps for sullenness. Enthusiasm, smiles, however faked, are thought to be good for business…

Local traffickers were luring Transnistrians with the kind of classified ads that no longer worked well in Moldova. Alistratova showed me that week’s shopper’s paper: ads for strippers and dancers in Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Slovenia…

See also:

“Trade – A Film Brings Sex Trafficking Home”
Trade makes it clear that traffickers do not operate in a
vacuum. Theirs is a complex and determined industry, enslaving both
women and children through coercion, violence, and drugs. It is
painfully apparent in the film that there are often moments when
everyday people could intervene – but choose not to…

Ask the Valley Advocate to stop profiting from the sexual exploitation of women

Investigates Human Trafficking and Prostitution in the US; Valley
Advocate Advertises “Foreign Fantasies” Where “Everything Goes”

Diane Sawyer Special Examines Prostitution in America; Challenge the
Valley Advocate “Rat King”

Escort Prostitution: A Response to Tom Vannah, Editor of the Valley Advocate

Cincinnati: Coalition asks CityBeat to stop allowing promotion of prostitution through advertising

Peter Bronson, Cincinnati Enquirer columnist: “Illegal ‘fun’s not far’ from casino” (6/10/08)
John Doe No. 26 said he purchased sex with a $20 coupon published in CityBeat…

“These (sex trafficking) indictments tie back to CityBeat in four of
the major massage parlors,” Winburn said. “You don’t have a First
Amendment right to aid and abet prostitution.”

Orlando Sentinel: “3 from Orlando Weekly’s staff charged with aiding prostitution” (10/20/07)
…MBI has made 80 prostitution arrests since 2003 connected to advertisers in the Weekly, the agency said…

“We’ve never called anyone dealing with these ads who was not providing prostitution services,” [Cmdr. Paul Zambouros] said.

Pasadena Weekly: “Lives for sale”

Testimony in Los Angeles: Pornographers Place Recruitment Ads for “Models” in Newspapers

Belltown Messenger: “Greed, Lust and Ink”
only motivation for running escort ads in the first place is unbridled
greed-and these supposedly liberal publications can’t have it both ways
when defending the rights of society’s underdogs in their editorial

“New York Press No Longer Marketing Arm for Prostitution/Trafficking”

Another Victory for NOW-NYC: New York Magazine Drops Sex Ads
One would think that this would be exactly the kind of exploitation the
[Village] Voice would revel in exposing. But because the Voice is free, it
apparently needs the revenue brought in by, this week, 10 pages of
these ads.

And so its press release yammers on about how our
freedoms are “under attack by the Bush administration,” and makes NOW
sound like the Taliban, and finally trots out the same pathetic excuse
New York once made: “If there is evidence that any advertiser in our
pages engaged in…sex slavery…” Blah blah blah.

It’s hard to be part of the solution, when you’re part of the problem.

Gloria Steinem at Smith: Cooperation, Not Domination
are more slaves in proportion to the world’s population–more people
held by force or coercion without benefit from their work–more now
than there were in the 1800s. Sex trafficking, labor trafficking,
children and adults forced into armies: they all add up to a global
human-trafficking industry that is more profitable than the arms trade,
and second only to the drug trade. The big difference now from the
1800s is that the United Nations estimates that 80% of those who are
enslaved are women and children…

New York Times: The Girls Next Door; Worldwide Sex Trafficking; Role of Porn

Realities of Teen Prostitution Mock Notions of ‘Sex
Work’, ‘Sex-Positive’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empowerment’; Media Glamorizes Pimps

Salon: Atlanta’s underage sex trade

A Closer Look at Sweden’s Success with Reducing Prostitution; Skeptics Rebutted

Pornoland’s unwritten law: “if we tell the truth about what’s really going
on here, the fan will get turned off”

At conventions and other public events, the adult industry tends to
portray itself as a happy family promoting shame-free sexual enjoyment.
But privately, many performers say the reality is very different.
“There’s some unwritten law or agenda out here in Pornoland that…if
we tell the truth about what’s really going on here, the fan will get
turned off,” said Ona Zee, a former performer who is now an advocate
for reform.

Ex-Porn Star Shelley Lubben Talks about Days on the Set: Tedious, Intoxicated,
Painful, Risky

I used to brag endlessly to fans and pornographers about my extreme
“Italian” sex drive and how I loved making porn movies. I would go on
and on about how I needed more and more to fulfill my insatiable
appetite. I lied 100% of the time to 100% of the people. Lying is the
native language of porn stars because they can’t afford to tell you the
truth. Not only would it ruin the fantasy for their fans but more
importantly, it would ruin the amount of their paychecks. Don’t believe
porn actresses when they proudly proclaim they enjoy making porn
movies. They’re ACTING.

Video Presentation: A Content Analysis of 50 of Today’s Top Selling Porn Films (explicit language)
Bridges: “How did the person respond when they were aggressed?… In
95% of these 3,000 and some acts of aggression, the person was either
neutral, as in no change of facial expression or verbal expression, or
was sort of saying, ‘That feels great. Keep doing it. Right on.’ And in
only 3% did we see some overt expression of displeasure or pain. Again,
it seems to be very important to the people who are watching this to
believe that the recipient of aggression is fact enjoying it, is
choosing it at some level.”

Childhood Spanking Linked to Coerced Sex and Risky Sex in Adulthood; Milks Pain for Profit (explicit)

Intense Fetish # 724 300 Strokes For Spanky
Three hundred hard strokes using six different instruments! With
assistance from his slave Nicole Master Len picks three instruments
from the wall!Spanky picks three more for a total of six. Spanky is
given fifty strokes from each instrument. The strokes are spaced out
every three to five seconds. There is only a small break between each
new instrument. Every stroke is applied to her tender ass. See her ass
get red and bruised with small blood blisters forming. Spanky is a real
pain slut. You will see her writhe in pain and then smile in ecstasy.

Herbert, Brooks and Osayande on Misogyny, Money and Power;’s War on Women and Blacks (explicit)
New Blood
Hold on tight and smile Bitch! The only difference between a filthy cunt whore on the street and a porn star is the camera.

Porn’s “Verbatim” Accounts of the Pleasures of Child Sexual Abuse Don’t Square with Reality
What is this, if not the age-old “fantasy” that the child seduces the
adult, and where else does this derive except from the imagination of
the adult who is burdened with a guilt he will not accept? Of course I
am using the words “fantasy” and “imagination” as synonyms of “lies”,
which is what they are. The entire narrative is “positive”, that is,
Wandella expresses nothing but pleasure and happiness…

Rick Porras, Capital Video Executive, Would Rather You Not Know He Is a Pornographer (explicit language)
Story: My Father, The Hero
First He Protected Me, Then He Porked Me!

Exposure to Pornography as a Cause of Child Sexual Victimization
Masking child victims’ pain and trauma is a major way in which the
prohibition against child sexual abuse is undermined. A pedophile
called Stewart describes how he masked victims’ pain when he
photographed young girls:

They couldn’t show fear or doubt in the pictures. They had to show
happiness or love… To get that look, I’d give them something, from
tricycles to stereos. It depended on what they wanted. You have to be
able to express [evoke] excitement in the pictures… (Campagna &
Poffenberger, 1988, p. 126)