...is a collaborative, faith-based network that offers educational programs and materials, supports access to survivor services, and engages in legislative advocacy to eradicate modern-day slavery.
Awareness Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery with over twenty-seven million people enslaved worldwide. The scope of the problem is hard to define because human trafficking is largely a hidden crime, making accurate numbers of trafficking incidents difficult to determine. It is a crime under state, federal and international law and is currently the second fastest growing criminal activity, exceeded only
by the illegal drug trade.
There are two major types of human trafficking: sex trafficking, in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age; and labor trafficking, which is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision
or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.
Sex trafficking is especially reprehensible because it specifically targets vulnerable women and girls. Some victims are abducted; others are
runaways or are lured out of poverty r sold by their destitute families. Many are desperate for acceptance
and enticed by the false promise of romance, good jobs or a better life. Pimps and johns see them as easy prey and exploit them, especially the young women. The victims are often kept on the streets until they meet their quota of money for the night, which they must turn over to the trafficker.
If they rebel, they are beaten, raped, drugged and starved into submission. The pimps recognize that women under their control are a more lucrative source of income than selling drugs because the same girl can be sold over and over for years until she is no longer useful or dies.
The links between human trafficking and other social justice issues, such as poverty, immigration, and violence against women and children are complex. Factors contributing to the tragedy of human trafficking are:
ƒ Growing demand for both labor
and commercial sex services
ƒ Lack of access to appropriate
social services such as safe housing, employment, addiction rehabilitation and mental health services ƒ Cultural factors such as racism,
caste systems, bigotry, etc. ƒ Pornography
ƒ Lack of respect for the dignity
of personsƒ Sexually explicit content of
videos and lyrics to music
The focus of this module is the objectification of women as a significant contributing factor to human sex trafficking and the creation of a climate in which violence and exploitation of women and girls is both tolerated and tacitly encouraged.
In her paper, Objectification of Women, Phyllis B. Frank says: "A definition of objectification might be: portrayals of women in ways and contexts which suggest that women are objects to be looked at, ogled, even touched, or used, anonymous things or commodities perhaps to be purchased, perhaps taken - and once tired of, even discarded, often to be replaced by a newer, younger edition; certainly not treated as
full human beings with equal rights and needs. Once a class of human beings are seen as objects or commodities, or in ways that effectively reduce them to objects, it becomes much easier to use them as one would an object, with as little, or no, regard."
Objectification of women is obviously common in mainstream media,
advertising, calendars, Hollywood movies and magazines – it is seen everywhere. Half-naked female bodies are displayed on walls; in public, like objects; exposed female bodies are used as markers of male territory or turf. This raises immediate signals of discomfort, and of menace, for women. In short, the direct negative effects on women, as they are exposed to it daily are: negative self-images, shame about themselves, diminished feelings of dignity, autonomy, privacy, and safety.
The objectification of women can lead women and girls to believe they are old and unattractive even in their 20’s, that they are not taken seriously and cannot match in real life their photographed, objectified image even if they are young and beautiful.
Why Is This Happening?
The objectification of women may contribute to a "climate" inwhich violence and exploitation of women are both tolerated and tacitly encouraged. Once a class of human beings is seen as objects or commodities, or in ways that effectively reduce them to objects, it becomes much easier to use them as one would an object, with little or no regard. It can become the norm. [Source: Objectification of Women by
Phyllis B. Frank] Throughout history, sexual objectification of women has been a constant in society. Women were, and in many cultures still are, perceived as inferior to men; and therefore are to
be dominated, subdued and controlled.
They are then simply treated as an instrument of sexual pleasure, a "sex object" or commodity to be bought and sold, used and abused without regard for their personhood or dignity.