Speaking of human trafficking and modern slavery, check out this podcast of a recent “To The Best of Our Knowledge” program entitled “The New Abolitionists.”
The first segment of the podcast features Maria Suarez, who at the age of 16 was lured away from her family by the promise of a domestic position with an elderly couple. She was instead sold for $200 to a psychopath who abused her for 5 years. The psychopath then murdered a guy and pinned it on Suarez, who ended up doing more than 20 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit.
Despite piles of sex-slavery anecdotes, there exists controversy over whether or not human trafficking really is the human rights crisis it’s made out to be by activists and do-gooders. At this moment I hold in my hand a book called Sex at the Margins by Laura María Agustín, in which the author argues, based on a shit-ton of research and field work, that the aforementioned activists and do-gooders have ulterior, non-altruistic motives, that “trafficked” as a descriptor isn’t doing anyone any favors, that thousands of women freely “migrate” and take up “sex work” as a result of completely autonomous decisions, and that efforts to “rescue” them just fuck them up.
Agustín takes a pretty non-judgmental view, which is cool, except she extends it, unpalatably, to the “clients” who buy women. In fact, she avers that the number of men who pay to rape women is so enormous that it actually disproves the radfem hypothesis that engaging in rape culture is perverse. By which logic, pay-to-rape is the norm, making the few dudes who don’t exploit women into psychos.
Agustín proposes a theoretical framework of sexploitation based, not on male violence, but on the idea that many women have concluded, through the independent personal sovereignty available to marginalized females in such superabundance today, that “sex work” is preferable to other occupations.
I don’t disagree that “rescue” efforts might often fall into the category of ham-fisted feminist theorists gone mad, that the feminists who know what’s best for everybody often silence the injured parties, or that “helpers [...] become ventriloquists occupying the main stage while the helped sit mutely in the wings.” But dang it, in a patriarchy, where women are the sex class, and sexploitation is considered by anyone to be a dignified, violence-free occupation, something’s really fucking wrong.
If only there were time for an analysis! But it’s 105 in the shade here in Cottonmouth County, and I have to find a veranda, recline, and fan myself.