Last month, Vanity Fair published a major investigative story on modern-day slavery in the U.S. ‘Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door’ takes a look at domestic sex slavery—an illicit industry that preys on every-younger girls and boys (the average age that a person becomes a prostitute in the U.S. is 13).
2010 Freedom Award winner Tina Frundt was forced into sex slavery when she was just 14. Now she runs her own anti-slavery organization, Courtney’s House, based in Washington, D.C., helping other girls and boys to freedom. Read more about Tina here.
Featuring interviews with several survivors of sex slavery, the article is not for the faint of heart. Writer Amy Fine Collins doesn’t pull any punches when she describes the torture and horrifying abuse endured by the victims. (You can read the article in full here.)
If ever there was a report in the mainstream media that might turn the tide of of pimp glamorization, this might be it. Fine writes:
“Criminals have learned, often in prison—where ‘macking’ memoirs such as Iceberg Slim’s Pimp are best-sellers—that it’s become more lucrative and much safer to sell malleable teens than drugs or guns. A pound of heroin or an AK-47 can be retailed once, but a young girl can be sold 10 to 15 times a day—and a ‘righteous’ pimp confiscates 100 percent of her earnings.” (Emphasis added by me.)
One survivor put it bluntly:
“Pimping… is not cool. A pimp is a wife beater, rapist, murderer, child-molester, drug dealer, and slave driver rolled into one.”
The article is well worth a read. It illustrates how a person can be trapped into slavery by invisible bars—their confidence crushed, physically brutalized, their trust in family and institutions broken. There are times when family members enslave other family members. Fine shows how pimps lure their victims by plying them with gifts and attention, then controlling them througah drugs and violence. Often, law enforcement personnel won’t recognize a victim of slavery. Sex slaves are arrested for prostitution or soliciting.
It is important to note, as you read this report, that sex trafficking is not the only form of modern-day slavery. Domestic servitude and forced labor also occur with alarming frequency in the U.S.—as documented in the book The Slave Next Door, written by FTS President Kevin Bales and historian Ron Soodalter. This Vanity Fair piece brings home the fact that slavery is not a remote problem. Our connection to it is very close. It’s happening in our own communities. Because this is an issue that affects us all, it is our responsibility to help end it.
Learn more about what you can do to join the movement to eradicate slavery here.
To help Free the Slaves continue our work, make a donation today.