Commodity. Supply. Demand. Slavery.
These are the words I was left to ponder after the conclusion of the Courtney’s House and DC-SMS coordinated viewing of “3 AM Girls,” a documentary of a sex trafficking strip in Washington DC. The use of economic terms in regards to people seems too distanced and dehumanizing. But perhaps this distance is exactly the eerie and uncomfortable point that needs to be made. There was one study, mentioned by a Courtney House representative, that showed that most male “Johns” who participated in the study truly believe that every guy buys sex. The fact that buying forced sex, particularly from minors, could be perpetuated as a part of our culture is scary. This fear was voiced by several of the audience members who also wanted to know, “What can we do?”
What can you do? These were my main take-aways from the film and the Q&A:
First, be careful with the language you use. Prostitution is not the same as trafficked people and the distinction is important whether you’re talking to law enforcement or your next door neighbor. Second, educate yourself, your family, and your community. Raising awareness and staying informed about how to recognize human trafficking and who to call is by far the most effective, community tool to combat human trafficking. Finally, though the film focused on child sex trafficking, the representatives from Courtney House stressed the important point that sex trafficking is only one type of human trafficking, as well as the fact trafficking is not gender-blind; boys and girls, women and men could all possibly fall victim to human trafficking.