You may think that sex trafficking, modern-day slavery, could never happen in your community, but look at this definition from the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000: “The term ‘sex trafficking’ means the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” Severe forms of sex trafficking include a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion involving adult victims or any commercial sex act involving a minor.
Just look in your local yellow pages or the sports section of your local newspaper and you’ll discover that thinking sex trafficking takes place “somewhere else” is a wrong assumption. Where there is a demand for prostitution, there are sex trafficking victims.
In the yellow pages of Washington, D.C., you find advertising for prostitution under the thinly veiled categories of “Escort,” “Massage,” “Night Clubs” and “Entertainers.” Granted, prostitution is illegal in all 50 states except for several counties in Nevada (and no, Las Vegas is not one of them, so what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas but it’s still illegal).
Here is a sampling of the wording and phrasing of some “Escort” ads:
24 hours, prompt and discreet Asian models, Asian college girls, Asian dolls, Asian fantasies, Asian honey In/Out call Full service College girls Your pleasure, your fantasy A sure thing Repeat client discounts All ages Confidential, discreet billing A “girlfriend experience” without the commitment
So what in those ads says trafficking may be occurring? The most blatant one is “all ages.” How many children are being exploited through these agencies is anyone’s guess, but the probability that there are children being exploited is very high.
Singling out a race, such as Asian, is also a tip-off. Six out of the 21 picture ads in this section were exclusively Asian escorts. One ad does not exclude anyone, as it says, “all nationalities, ages, shapes and sizes.” Could there be trafficking victims from Eastern Europe, Latin America, or even the United States?
Moving on to the “Massage” section, we find some crossover ads from the “Escort” section. Business must be very good to afford picture ads in both sections. The oriental and Asian influence is the dominant theme here. The wording, again, is not so subtle:
No more disappointments Hotel and residential 24 hours/7 days Private rooms Discreet billing
Interestingly enough, the sports section of the Washington Post contains ads for “massage” and “spas.” How many of you ladies out there peruse the sports section of your paper when you’re looking for a spa? You won’t find out much from these ads if you are looking for a manicure or pedicure. But those who are seeking the services offered by these places don’t need it spelled out for them, they just need a number to call. And with the “massage” and “spa” ads in the Post sports section, all you get is a name, address and phone number. Oh, and what credit cards they accept – the processing fees for American Express must be too much for these entrepreneurs because MasterCard and Visa are the ones most accepted. My guess is if you really want to be “discreet” they probably accept cash too.
And in case the “massage” and “spa” are not enough for the men in the D.C. metro area, occasionally an ad for a local “gentleman’s club” joins the other ads. Evidently the “gentlemen” at this club are studying the adult film profession this week, as one of its “superstars” is appearing there. Who would have guessed pornography would be involved?
To round out your yellow pages education, take a quick look in the “Nightclub” section, and you will find out which club has all-nude lap dances, all-nude showgirls and all-nude dancers. For those “discreet” patrons, ATMs are often available. And the “Entertainers” section allows the homebodies in the group to chat with beautiful, adult, live phonemates and playmates.
Sex trafficking victims have been found in the United States in prostitution rings, strip clubs, massage parlors and escort services. In one recent example, a pimp in Connecticut is awaiting sentencing on sex trafficking charges which include prostituting a 12-year-old girl. His indictment charged Corey “Magnificent” Davis with forcing women to work as exotic dancers and prostitutes.
Sex trafficking is driven by the demand for prostitution and pornography. Your local advertising may provide a clue as to how much demand is in your area. Where there is a high demand for prostitution and pornography there will be victims of sex trafficking.