Today, October 5, 2016, is a day that will be remembered as a turning point in a battle against modern slavery with the arrest of Backpage CEO in Houston, Texas, my home.
Our future generations will look back at a time when commercial sex was available everywhere and they will study the horrible stories of abuse, murder, child rape, porn, strip clubs and torture and think of this time we live in now as barbaric. The crimes surrounding commercial sex, the money drained from families and communities, the diseases, torn relationships, mental illness, victims incarcerated, long-term trauma, the children born because of commercial sex and the problems given to them, the costs to society.
Sex should not be sold in a civil society.
Stripping, porn, and prostitution are detrimental to all who are near them, buyers, victims, wives, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, children. The damage done grows exponentially in concentric circles for generations. Children and adults should be saved from rape for pay, torture, grooming; not considered collateral damage so that sex can be purchased on demand, free of risk, and at a cheap price with no chance of consequences.
Anyone, child or adult deprived of ALL of their human rights can NEVER be considered a product to be sold, traded, branded, marketed and served to predators. This is the United States and we are the land of the free and the spirit of justice for ALL. We already settled the issue of servitude and it costs us dearly, even today.
There is no business too big or person too powerful that can justify such behavior.
In fact quite the opposite. Someone blessed in life, those with power and position, have a duty to not use it for the purpose to enslave others.
I know that our society can move past these very common barbarous acts. However, those who would benefit from others’ exploitation have chosen to worship money. They have chosen not to go away on their own. Laws in 2000 were changed to stop this modern slavery, 16 years later human trafficking has grown not diminished.
Today is a turning point. This story and criminal case cannot go away with the next news cycle. This must live on strongly and now. Each day, in my office parents, children, siblings, and guardians lives are destroyed by commercial sex. Rapes by dozens and hundreds, starvation, beatings, deaths, murders, forced abortions, trauma 24/7 for days, months, years. The pain caused is unsustainable.
The sale of Commercial Sex is as barbaric as the slave trade in historic times. Traffickers are harvesting our youth, our future, and selling it off as quick and dirty as possible.
We need to make the choice today to stop.
No excuse, no myth or distortion, no fake lawyer’s argument about art, free speech, or some other distortion of the truth. This is ENOUGH!
I have never been so proud of Houston, the State of Texas and the State of California. I have worked in all of them for 13 years to combat this evil. Today, my soul is smiling with hope and encouragement for our future.
Please comment and share, please think about us today reading about Harriett Tubman, John Brown, and Frederick Douglass.Comment for future generations to read and to know that we got it right today!
Dottie Laster spent the last 13 years in the effort of the anti-human trafficking movement nationally and in her home state of Texas. She is the co-founder of the San Antonio, Texas Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the past Administrator of the Orange County, California Human Trafficking Task Force and has successfully written millions in grants to assist children and victims of human trafficking.
Along with her position as Executive Director at Heidi Search Center, Laster is the Anti-Trafficking Coordinator with the Bernardo Kohler Center as an accredited representative recognized by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals to practice immigration law under BKC.
Laster is featured in the documentary on sex trafficking in Latin bars and cantinas, The Cantinera, and her direct rescue work is the subject of the MSNBC Documentary, Sex Slaves: Texas Rescue. She is the recipient of several human rights awards and has been featured in numerous publications including recent issues of Texas Monthly, Town Hall, and MORE Magazine’s Sex Trafficking’s Unlikely Angel and recipient of the Guardian Angel Award.
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