The constant link to equate human trafficking with abortion is harmful to the one that’s actually a crime.
I’m all for as many people as possible joining the fight against human trafficking. The people out there working to combat this complicated, devastating crime need all the help they can get. That said, I believe it’s irresponsible to lump the crime President Obama called “…one of the great human rights abuses of our time” with an issue all too often wrapped up in political and religious dogma.
For starters, the many people I’ve talked to who frequently link the two actually have no idea what human trafficking is. What they learned of it comes from movies or advertisements and therefore they believe human trafficking is only synonymous with violent sex slavery. They speak of handcuffs and basements and force-fed women eating from dog bowls. Many others simply equate it with “sinful” sexual conduct and therefore human trafficking is simply a newer term for prostitution. What’s equally frustrating is that many of the people I speak of in this category feel no additional need to learn more about human trafficking. They know it’s bad, like abortion, so it’s game over. Unfortunately, they spread the results of their game. They make documentaries that lack research and they speak of the crime as though it only impacts women. Churches pump awareness campaigns and rake in the money and though much of it does fuel terrific work, much also simply stirs the pot of misinformation or is used to send “missionaries” out to feed “lost” victims the light of Christ. For a brief introduction to what human trafficking is, check out The Misconceptions of Human Trafficking. Here are a few tweets floating around out there:
Why does all of this matter?
(1) Because those always radically tying the two are merely using the waves in the human trafficking industry to bolster the effectiveness for their longstanding argument against abortion. They often aren’t adding anything new to combat the crime and many times they offer advice like this that only serves to weaken the movement:
(2) In linking one of the world’s worst crimes with abortion, they are casting the net of criminality on all women who have had an abortion, are thinking of having an abortion or who will need one in the future. Those who support abortion, by default, are also criminals. And not just vandals of some sort, no, some of the world’s worst. This kind of unfair criminal linkage can not only add acute stress to those contemplating abortion, but I’d argue that it can leave a kind of psychosocial residue that can have long-term negative consequences.
(3) Because the fight against human trafficking needs to have thoughtful leaders like Nicholas Kristof and Somaly Mam at the forefront, not people who forcefully claim to know the unknowable and say things like:
(4) Because a woman raped should never also have to contend with nonsense like this:
If you are personally against abortion, fine. But to equate it with a completely different issue, to conflate it with a crime that it has nothing in common with, is grossly dishonest and profoundly insensitive. If you have to rely on dishonesty to spread your message, you are doing something wrong.
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–Photo: screenshot from this article