Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Problem With Freedom

One person's freedom can be another person's prison.

Modern America loves its freedom. The rise of Western culture is dominated by independence, especially in this country. We have a national philosophy:
As long as it doesn't hurt someone else, you should have the freedom to do it.
Tell that to the commercially exploited sex trafficking victims.

Yes, I'm still fuming about the Village Voice article slamming the campaign of "Real Men Don't Buy Girls" by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. The article attacks the statistics used by abolitionists for girls at risk of being trafficked in the U.S. More than this, they suggest the fight against trafficking is driven by the desire for federal grant money.

The Village Voice is not a disinterested party. They run Backpage, a solicitation site for adult services. After Craigslist was taken to task for its adult services pages not screening for underage girls (or boys), the Village Voice is being proactive to protect their profit margins individual freedom.

Really. They make it an argument of the right of people to seek out such services.

I agree. In America they do have a "right" to do so if they wish.

However, this doesn't make it right.

Before I get accused of imposing my morality on others, let's take a step back for a bigger perspective. According to a recent Newsweek article (excellent, BTW), the demand for pornography and sexualized services is so high in the modern Internet age. The demand can't be contained by the services of adult women who voluntarily choose to offer their wares.

Entrepreneurs are going to find a way to meet a demand.

When men indulge their lusts, they are feeding into an industry that is preying on vulnerable women and girls. Certainly there are women who freely choose to enter the oldest profession, but many more (I would wager to say the majority) are forced into it in some way, whether it is due to economic pressures or to the degree of full human trafficking. The Newsweek article was sobering when it described a study and the way they had trouble finding a control group of men who did not pay for sex or pornography in some form.

The Village Voice argued that it was the morality police trying to use the overestimated problem of child sex trafficking in the U.S. to shut down Backpage, the way Craigslist backed down on their adult ads. The problem is that they think that the problem of child sex trafficking is not linked to adult services.

Like a pebble thrown in a pond, it can create ripples across the whole body of water. My next post will look at the connection between men fueling demand and the vulnerable being victimized.

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