There is an over abundance of candid of discussion about sex trafficking. Of course the people that seek it out are some of the most vile creatures among our species. But.. I wonder how many people stumble into the transaction?
I went to Cuba a few years ago at the very enthusiastic request of my then boyfriend. The plan was to backpack from Havana to Santiago de Cuba and stop at several smaller towns along the way. We decided to forgo hotels and only stay at Casas Particulares. Casas Particulares are basically the model that Airbnb copied, locals rent out rooms or apartments in their private residences to tourists. In Cuba they have licensed Casas Particulares, there of course were also people doing it illegally for extra money and you could generally find them by word of mouth. The great thing about Casa Particulres is that you can stay with locals in their homes and connect more with the spirit and culture around you, the bad thing about them is that you are with locals in their homes, LOL. That is another story though…
We made it to a lovely town Trinidad, Cuba. Very quaint and colonial town in central Cuba. As i recall the people we stayed with in the previous town referred us to the Casa Particulares in Trinidad and called the couple for us to meet us at the bus stop. The couple, a husband and wife met us and took us back to their home. They prepared a lovely lunch and did our laundry. We were asked to join them in the living room along with their daughter, they explained she was 14. Typical teenager, she had headphones on and seemed unimpressed, LOL. Various pleasantries followed between the adults. Very abruptly the wife, hops up and brings down a large album from a shelf. She presents the album to my boyfriend. The first pic is a very innocent pic of the family together. As we continue to turn the pages the pics change to pics of just their daughter at various stages of her childhood. The pictures start becoming more suggestive, they turn into full on staged glamour pics. At this point we are both a little confused, maybe its a cultural thing ? Until we turn to the next page and there it is, a full on NAKED airbrushed playboy-esque pic of their daughter. My boyfriend closes the album abruptly and hands it over and nervously laughs. No words are spoken, we are only met by their eager gaze.
We make our exit to our quarters, where i am of course the first one to address it. LOL “Ummm, were they just trying to sell you their daughter, in front of me ?” LOL. We left that morning….
I think in the dialogue concerning sex trafficking, specifically of children there is little focus on the fact that many children are sold or contracted out by their very own parents for sex work. In order to address the very diabolical practice of sex trafficking one needs to address the very real and common practice of commodifying your offspring. How do you present people with a better option to selling their child ? I think if many of us look around you can see the incentive to commodify ones offspring is very high especially on social media. Where do child labor laws fit in for your average tiktok/youtube star ? LOL
But, back to my original question…
I wonder how many people stumble into the transaction? I can only guess that there is a good number of people that would never go looking for this sort of thing but when presented with the option …… who knows what they do, you can only hope they are not opportunists. I think to address the horror that is child sex trafficking one needs to embark on a serious campaign to educate, and try to change the hearts and minds of people that would opt to do this.