America: Home of the Free and Brave, Right?
America, the Home of the Free and the Brave, Right? Millions of United States residents live in modern slavery.
America, the home of the free and the brave, right? The Civil War ended slavery in the United States, right? The world's greatest Democracy, right? The land of the free, right?
America has two sides. On one side of the coin, we see a prosperous, fruitful country, a country where the poor live like kings. However, there, hidden from view, exists another America. Exists an America chock full of children exploited for sex and porn. There exists an America where millions of prisoners work for dozens of hours for literal pennies. A country in which men rape women making porn for the pleasure of others. We do not see this side of the United States. It sits in the shadows, a plague terrorizing some for the benefit of others. Modern-day slavery. The biggest issue the U.S. faces today.
"People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is that things are being loved and people are being used." – Unknown.
1 in 7 child runaways sold into sex trafficking every year. 1,000,000 children worldwide. These children, forced to prostitute themselves to grown men. Purchased by pimps, who force them, under threat of physical abuse, to have sex with grown men. In addition to extensive physiological damage, there is a significant medical risk. Only about 24% of pimps claim to provide condoms or other sexual protection to their child slaves. Children, as young as eight years old, exposed to sexually transmitted diseases that would give most adults nightmares. Night after night, these children risk their lives to satisfy pedophiles. They are slaves. America has failed them.
While these children should be playing on playgrounds and going to school, making friends, pimps prostitute them. How, as free Americans stand idly by?
Three million eight hundred thousand adults, too, are sex trafficked internationally. They are prostituted illegally, against their will by ruthless pimps. U.S. Congressman Bill Flores spoke out on the issue, saying, "Imagine having all of your freedoms taken away, being forced to work against your will, and constantly living under the threat of violence. Sadly, this situation is a reality for millions of children, women, and men each year as part of the global human trafficking industry." Dignity ripped away. Humanity denied — pure evil. Worse than murder. Human sex slavery is worse than murder. In homicide, the victim dies. A tragedy occurs, however in sex trafficking, a human soul, destroyed day after day. It is as if the victim dies every day with no end — a Groundhog day of despair, depression, dehumanization, and hell.
Porn. One of the most addictive drugs known to man. According to Pornhub.com, per minute, users upload two days of pornographic content. Many consumers of this faux pas entertainment do not recognize that often the actors (primarily female) are victims of sex trafficking. There are dozens of graphic accounts, all of them too vile to add to this document, that outline the abuse and physiological destruction done to adult film stars. One such star tells of a time when her agent forced her to have sex with an actor she felt uncomfortable with and perform in ways she was not protected. She did not consent. The male actor violently raped her for the pleasure of the viewer. What choice did she have? She could not have consented, not shown up, right? Wrong. Her lack of consent, according to her and fellow actors, would have led to blacklisting and shame from male superiors. Another actor recalls a time in which her agent conditioned she has sex twenty-three times in one day to avoid blacklisting — viciously raped — ruthlessly trafficked — sexually exploited.
The solution to sex trafficking? Well, no one solution exists to a problem of this magnitude; however, many people believe prostitution would provide a clear pathway to decreasing human trafficking. When cities and countries decriminalize prostitution, they see a decrease in drug-related crimes, a reduction in STDs, and instances of rape and sexual abuse fell by 40%. Legalizing prostitution keeps people who trade sex safe, allows them to report crimes, and keeps their clients from harming them. Many prostitutes feel as if they do not have a place in deciding how they are to be kept safe. The government continues to limit their freedoms through bills like SESTA and FOSTA. These bills allow companies like Microsoft to invade privacy and shuts down websites like Backpage.com. Backpage.com was a website that prostitutes used to gather client information and stay safe. When Craigslist opened an erotic forum on the site, female homicide decreased by 17.4%. People are safer when prostitution becomes decriminalized. There are countless stories from prostitutes now working safely in brothels about how legal prostitution pulled them out of the hell-like cycle of sex trafficking. When being interviewed by T.V. host Jim Jefferies, one self-proclaimed "smut peddler" said unequivocally, "[This brothel and my madam] saved me, pulled me out of sex trafficking." Presidential Candidate Senator Cory Booker came and said outright, "Yes, sex work should be decriminalized."
To keep our Democracy safe, we must remove the stigma around the sex trade. Statistic after statistic proves that the decriminalization of the sex trade makes people safer. In the discrimination of the sex trade, we remove the stigma from porn. Removing the stigma from porn keeps actresses safer and more comfortable. As Americans, we must keep our people safe and cared for.
Many consider sex trafficking and sex slavery to be the most heinous of modern-day slavery; however, there exists another side — forced labor. In Charles Dickens's rousing story about the French Revolution, a Tale of Two Cities, readers are introduced to a character, Dr. Manette. Manette, a prisoner of the aristocracy, sits in a tower making shoes for eighteen years. At this time, he develops severe mental blocks. He becomes very attached to his tools and workbench. Upon his release, his tools haunt him, yet at the same time, comfort him. Manette is a book character, tragically, forced labor like this is legal in the United States under the 13th Amendment, "...except as a punishment for a crime of whom the party shall have been duly convicted."
Newsweek wrote this about forced prison labor, "The vast majority of the country's working prisoners, who do their jobs without labor protections, perform maintenance activities for their detainment facilities. However, prisons throughout the country also function like factories, with inmates manufacturing myriad products that are sold to government agencies and, to a much lesser extent, nonprofits. Despite their labor, inmates receive little, if any, compensation for their work. This cheap and unpaid workforce, experts say, allows correctional facilities to operate." Among the 2,300,000 humans incarcerated in the U.S., around half of them work in prisons according to the same Newsweek article. The worst example comes from now widely criticized Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who offered President Trump slave labor to help build the wall, saying "Bristol County inmates will be available to help build Trump's border wall with Mexico."
There are mental implications for forced labor. It degrades a man's sense of himself. Degrades his humanity. The Declaration of Independence claims that all men are created free and equal. Does America live up to that?
1.15 million humans.
63¢ per hour.
"Prisoners understand they are being treated as animals. We know that our conditions are
causing physical harm and deaths that could be avoided if prison policymakers actually gave a damn," The Cut reported.
All products produced through slave labor. In America. Land of the free, home of the
brave. America is supposedly a haven, the best place on Earth, the Disney World of countries. CBS News wrote this on the topic, "The U.S. government has often admonished other countries such as Burma and China for using forced labor to build pipelines or make goods or in times of national emergency. Nevertheless, the truth is, it is just as prevalent in the U.S.".
We are Hippocrates.
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker.
However, if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood." Proclaimed John Adams. Adams believes that we, as Americans, must actively protect freedom at any cost. Every day, Americans watch porn, wear blue jeans, sit on park benches, oblivious to the fact that modern slaves produce them all. How can the United States of America, and its citizens, justify itself?
Every day, Americans must hit companies where it hurts, boycotting prison-made products and admonishing industries and laws that support sex trafficking. This is the only way America can continue as a viable democracy. If the population remains in this gilded age, they are no better than Jack and his band of savages in William Golding's tale of human savagery Lord of the Flies, continually justifying horrific acts with excuses.
We live in a society built on sex trafficking and slavery. Our politicians pass laws that harm those they intend to help, and our corporations use slave labor to cut costs. That is the biggest problem America faces. The citizens of the U.S. must stand up to the oppression. America is not free. We are slaves to the products made by slaves. We are not free.