A Tale of Two Countries: Sex Trafficked Women in America & Nigeria

One of the most heinous and hidden crimes in the world is sex trafficking. Two stories this week highlight both hope and horror in the black market industry.

First, with a hat tip to TheBlaze, 72 victims — including five minors — were rescued in Washington State as part of a wider effort. Fourteen traffickers were arrested, as well:

Federal agents and local police have arrested 14 people across Washington suspected of forcing 72 people into prostitution, including five children.

The sweep took place Oct. 13-15 in more than a dozen cities across the state.

There was one arrest and 13 women recovered in Airway Heights, and in Spokane there was one arrest and three women recovered, according to FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams.

The FBI and local agencies involved declined Monday night to disclose where arrests and prostitution contacts happened.

“Victims and the pimps travel throughout eastern and western Washington to work and do not necessarily reside in the area where they were located this week,” the FBI wrote about the results of what they called Operation Cross Country X.

In this country, these women are likely to get help from shelters, from local authorities, and hopefully family members and friends. Compare this to Nigeria:

Nigeria’s government is negotiating the release of another 83 of the Chibok schoolgirls taken in a mass abduction two-and-a-half years ago, but more than 100 others appear unwilling to leave their Boko Haram Islamic extremist captors, a community leader said Tuesday.

The unwilling girls may have been radicalized by Boko Haram or are ashamed to return home because they were forced to marry extremists and have babies, chairman Pogu Bitrus of the Chibok Development Association told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Bitrus said the 21 Chibok girls freed last week in the first negotiated release between Nigeria’s government and Boko Haram should be educated abroad, because they will probably face stigma in Nigeria.

Later in the piece:

All those who escaped on their own have left Chibok because, even though they were held only a few hours, they were labelled “Boko Haram wives” and taunted, he said. At least 20 of the girls are being educated in the United States.

“We would prefer that they are taken away from the community and this country because the stigmatization is going to affect them for the rest of their lives,” Bitrus said. “Even someone believed to have been abused by Boko Haram would be seen in a bad light.”

Sex trafficking is a devastating crime. It violates the physical, psychological, and spiritual innocence and independence of women. It’s horrifying that these girls would be blamed for something that they were helpless to prevent — from their neighbors and friends, who claim to be Christian.

I’m not sure what we as individuals can do to help the women in Nigeria other than pray, but each one of us can help put a stop to sex trafficking generally by reducing market demand — by not watching pornography.

From my old boss at LifeSiteNews, writing for Huffington Post:

In other words, when Americans watch porn, they’re fooled into thinking they are always watching free men and women engaging in consensual sexual intercourse. Contrary to the popular image of the porn industry, many women are being forced to have intercourse, be groped, kicked, beaten, etc.

According to [Fight The New Drug] CEO Clay Olsen, “porn fuels the demand for the sex trade” in a way often not seen by those who view porn. “Traffickers have learned to package their product in a way that disguises the fact that the ‘performers’ are forced to participate,” said Olsen.

While data on the number of women girls and boys forced into porn is relatively scant, due to its secretive and illegal nature, Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told me that “the 20+ performers I have talked to (some still involved in porn) have all shared stories with me that they were forced and coerced many times over.”

“Drugs, alcohol, physical abuse, blackmail, threats, fake legal documents, deceitful enticing, promises of fame and money and so much more are used to get the girls to perform what and how the producers desire,” she added.

That’s right. Watching porn helps fuel the sex trafficking industry. More so than blogging here at The Resurgent, or posting on Facebook and Twitter, we can all help trafficked women by reducing the demand for this abuse of their bodies.

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