Human Trafficking advocates are very victim centered as we should be, but we also need to expand into johns & traffickers as well.
Traffickers don’t just wake up one day and say “hey… I really want to start selling people today”. There is some untold journey there that takes a person and shapes them into a monster.
Johns don’t just decide that they want to buy time with a 13 year old girl, there’s something that we’re missing.
Traffickers exist due to economic disparities, we know that. Human trafficking isn’t a crime of anger or hatred it’s money and that’s well documented. A sex-trafficker can pull down close to a half million a year if they are good & don’t get caught. To work with traffickers or potential traffickers they need to be given other viable educational and economic alternatives to deter them away from selling people. Sure our political rhetoric now surrounds locking up people & throwing away the key; but that’s not financially or ethically sound thinking. We have the largest incarcerated population in the world, locking people up is not working.
From the johns perspective our social and historical culture objectifies women. For the Johns they are lacking in their lives in some way and our cultural objectification of women, they believe justifies their behavior. No John would allow someone to pay for sleeping with his or her mother or daughter ( I would hope) but due to to the Pretty Woman effect Johns; view prostitutes/trafficked victims as willing or needing their financial help. Some communities have John Schools or shame Johns into submission by publicizing their pics on billboards or newpapers; this isn’t working either. Johns exist because they are lonely, can’t control their physical desires and have little or nothing to actively contribute to.
As we discuss the victim centered approach of dealing with sex trafficking we must remember that it’s a triangle, supported with traffickers, johns and victims holding each corner. All three must have interventions if we expect any substantial results.
These thoughts that I’ve been blogging about recently surround The Cleveland Freedom Center, a prevention center that aims to tackle the causes of human trafficking in conjunction with the effects. It’s a model that if proved successful could be duplicated on a large scale. Unfortunately it’s also a model that doesn’t exist yet, we’re working on that though.