Sunday, September 16, 2007

"Systematic, Institutionalized Degradation"

Many of those who would liberalize or eliminate laws prohibiting various aspects of the sex trade often dress up their ideological arguments with sanitized revisions of reality. Bob Herbert, writing about a report on the Las Vegas sex industry, provides a helpful corrective:

If you peel back the thin, supposedly sexy veneer of the commercial sex trade, you'll quickly see the rotten inside, where females are bought, sold, raped, beaten, shamed and in many, many cases, physically and emotionally wrecked.

Start with the fact that so many of those who are pulled into the trade are so young – early 20s, late teens and younger. Child prostitutes by the hundreds pass through the Family Division courtroom of Judge William Voy, who views the hapless, vulnerable girls as victims and tries to help them. The girls he sees are as young as 12; the average age is 14.

He told me about a 14-year-old who was seven months pregnant by her pimp. She was suffering from a sexually transmitted disease, had a drug problem, was undernourished and still craved a relationship with the pimp. "These cases will tear your heart out," the judge said.

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