Lately I’ve been doing an insanely large amount of research on human trafficking for a project. Every so often I come across articles that say human trafficking is a feminist’s issue. While I am all for equality between men and women, I disagree that human trafficking should be considered a feminist’s issue. I do agree that trafficking is a feminist issue the sense that feminists are human, because human trafficking is a human’s issue. There are an incredible amount women involved in trafficking drawing a lot of attention from women’s rights groups as rightly it should be. But there are more than women in trafficking and it is certainly not simply a woman’s issue. I find it harmful to the cause to classify trafficking as a women’s issue because that takes men out of the discussion and out of the fight to stop it. I have never been so inspired than when I hear incredible, strong women taking a stand and refusing to tolerate trafficking any longer, and I find it equally impressive to hear a man do the same. You see, the reason trafficking is still in existence is because there are people who visit brothels, who want underage boys or girls to have sex with, who are willing to pay for sex and these people are overwhelmingly male. This is not to say that women don’t play a huge role as well. Women are often the madams or brothel owners, supplying the rooms and the trafficking victims. Despite the enormous number of men that pay for sex, I don’t believe men are inherently bad. Most men are good, stand up guys. It is these stand up guys that need to join the conversation surrounding trafficking. Women can try to educate men but it would be even more powerful for men to teach other men about the damage trafficking caused, to teach compassion and kindness, to teach them that not all those who work in the brothels or on the streets are there by choice, and even those who are deserve more than being used for sex, to teach that trafficking victims and prostitutes in general almost undoubtedly face physical and emotional abuse on a daily basis. It might be easy to ignore the problem when a girl comes out of her room in the brothel all smiles and flirting. It’s easy to ignore the fact that she could be held there against her will. Human trafficking isn’t called women trafficking for a reason. It involves all humans, young, old, male and female.
By: Danae Zimmer