This semester, I am taking a class on human trafficking. In just a few months it has opened my eyes so much to what is happening not only all over the world but in our backyards as well. I could talk for hours about what we have covered so far, but I would like to talk now about a documentary we watched on prostitution in New York City and the surrounding boroughs. It was called “Very Young Girls” because that is just what the prostitutes are – the average age is just 12-13.
I think I have always been quick to judge women who sell their bodies, as I’m sure a lot of other people have as well. It’s easy to judge them for what they’re doing because to the outside world it looks as if they are choosing to subject themselves to that lifestyle but a lot of the times there is someone behind the scenes pulling the strings and making the money. These pimps know what types of girls to prey on – the naive and vulnerable – and they know how to play the psychological game of manipulation. While making all these promises of a better life together, they make these girls fall in love with them. Love can be so beautiful but also so dangerous because when you love someone you want to do anything for them. These girls believe that if selling themselves is what they have to do for these men they will do it because what else do they have?
Besides always being at risk for abuse, rape, and STDs, they are psychologically so damaged that even after they get out and realize what a bad person their pimp is, they often return. It is like being addicted to a drug that you can not detox from. There is no magic cure to the pull of that life.
This documentary has made me feel so awful for these young girls who don’t think they have any other options. How can we stop this from happening?