by Susan Becker, RDC
Every year about this time the sports minded, particularly football aficionados, turn their hearts and minds toward Superbowl Sunday. The sports pages narrate the drive up to it; TV ads hype it; the weatherpeople chart it, and the airline and hotel industries love every minute of it.
What may go unnoticed these days is the uptick in media focus on another national – and global – happening, one that lives in the shadows of the stadium and the hotels and the airports but nonetheless has a huge market and profit margin. They call it the sex industry and spruce it up a little to take the human degradation out of it. Wikipedia, for example, says, “The sex industry consists of businesses that either directly or indirectly provide sex-related products and services or adult entertainment.” A sex worker is a person who is employed in the sex industry. The term is used in reference to all those in all areas of the sex industry.” It goes on to list pornography, prostitution, adult entertainment venues, those who procure and are employed, etc.
It’s also called human trafficking. It is the trading of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others. It is the business of stealing a person’s freedom for profit.
Yes, it’s been going on forever…the world’s oldest profession, they say. The good news is that for the past couple of decades policy makers and industry leaders brought to awareness by an enlightened faith-based sector (that has been working with women –and men - in the shadows all along) are taking strong legislative and corporate stances to identify and protect victims and punish perpetrators.
So as we do whatever it is we do around the Superbowl – fill in a box in the office pool, buy the snacks, or go to the movies instead, take a few minutes to educate yourself about the issues as well as the responses of people of good will. A couple of websites are rich sources.