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贩卖人口在美国泛滥成灾,已成为一个巨大的产业

Jaclyn Gallucci 2019年04月20日

在全球范围内,人口贩卖如今已成为一个数十亿美元的产业,而且相关案件在美国呈增长趋势。

明尼苏达州贝拉普兰尼。告示牌显示了美国性奴隶所带来的影响。图片来源:Education Images UIG via Getty Images

奴隶在美国这个自由国度依然健在。在全球范围内,人口贩卖如今已成为一个数十亿美元的产业,而且相关案件在美国呈增长趋势。有这么一个说法:大多数女性之所以从事性交易是出于自愿,维权人士正在试图推翻这一理论。

在被贩卖后从事性交易的尼克·贝尔称:“卖淫的那些人并非是为了筹集学费而迟迟不去上耶鲁,事实并非是你看到的那样。我们说的是那些贫民、有色人种以及那些离开寄养系统的人。”

贝尔是于上周五在曼哈顿参加全球女性峰会时说的这番话,她的身旁是一群维权人士。贝尔如今是Living in Freedom Together (LIFT)的创始人及首席执行官。该机构是由幸存者领导的一家机构,致力于帮助个人摆脱以营利为目的的性剥削。

贝尔说:“虽然我们将卖淫与人口贩卖看作是两种不同性质的事情,但大多数性交易工作者都经历过某种形式的人口贩卖。大多数人都是在还没有到获准发生性关系的年龄之前便被卷入了这个行业,何况贩卖的目的就是从事性交易。”

国际劳工组织称,据估计,每一年全球人口贩卖的利润约为1500亿美元,其中990亿美元来自于性剥削。Polaris Project称,全美人口贩卖热线和BeFree Textline在2017年收到了近9000例案件举报,较上一年增长13%。但这个数据并不完整,因为有众多的案件并未得到举报。

麦凯恩研究所的人口贩卖顾问理事会主席辛迪·麦凯恩说:“这不仅仅是一个重要的问题,而是已经泛滥成灾。可谓是堂而皇之,无处不在,真的随处可见。”

美国总统唐纳德·特朗普曾经表示,自己有关在南部边境筑墙的议案对于终止人口贩卖有着重要作用,但麦凯恩称,这个是美国国境之内存在的问题。

麦凯恩说:“总统住在幻想国。这些被贩卖的孩子都生活在美国本土,他们位于美国境内,而且被人从一个州卖到另一个州。”

脆弱人群养成通道

Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics的创始人及首席执行官沙隆·库珀博士称,导致这些脆弱的儿童发展成为脆弱成年人的一些最关键因素包括贫困、无家可归、家庭虐待、寄养系统以及性行业的美化,最终也就形成了一个“脆弱人群养成通道”。

库珀说:“我们看到,儿童在被带入人们所称的‘生活’之前会面临着很大的风险。他们确实接受了各种各样的洗礼,有些来自于社会,有的来自于广告,有的则是他们自己通过社交媒体得到的见闻,因此,我们必须未雨绸缪,尽早制止这一现象。”

通过LIFT,贝尔开始与女囚这类很容易遭到性贩卖的人群合作。

贝尔说:“看看我们的监狱系统就会知道,它实际上就是一个脆弱人群池塘。患有滥用药物紊乱症的女性,没有任何家人支持的女性,无家可归的女性,如果想寻找一名受害者,只需要读读法庭证词记录即可……然后为她们提供一条出路。”

不要以为你所在的州就是清白的。2018年通过全美人口贩卖热线举报的5147例人口贩卖案件涉及了美国的各个州。

库珀说:“公众认为,女童贩卖出现在市中心。我们曾经看到过一些案件,一些女童被带到了农场,然后卖给了移民过来的农民,为了让她们顺从还给她们灌了药。我们还看到,一些一直生活在收容所的女童会离开收容所上街头走走,但这家收容所已经成为了人贩子的目标,他们随后会开车来到街头,对女孩们说,‘嗨,我这里有份工作,有小费可赚。’如果你向无家可归的孩子提供这类机会,他们绝对会认为这是真的,而且也会觉得这是一份正经工作。”

卖淫对性贩卖

库珀博士经常治疗因性行为而受到心理创伤的儿童,并在法庭作证来帮助惩罚那些让这些儿童成为受害者的罪魁祸首。

库珀说:“当前,人口贩卖案件已经不是什么新鲜事情,当我在这些案件中作证时,我明显地意识到,法官和陪审团并不知道卖淫和性交易贩卖之间有什么区别。”

尽管卖淫被定义为:通过性来换取金钱、药物或影响力,而且发生在两个自愿的成年人之间,但这种同意也是可以被授予的,因为人口贩卖意味着存在第三方的控制。

她说:“一旦有人通过出卖这些人的肉体来牟利——通常是那些不得不进行10、12、15次性交易的儿童,而且有时候实际上属于性侵——就会构成性贩卖罪。”

贝尔说,这些儿童通常会沦落为成年妓女,有很多人只是把卖淫看作是一种工作上的选择。

她说:“性贩卖儿童受害者和性贩卖成年人受害者之间的区别也就只有60秒。在我18岁之后没有发生任何变化,我依然是受害者。这种事情依然并非出于我自己的愿望。我大部分的成年生活都与卖淫有关,有时候会受到第三方的剥削,有时候则因为我觉得没有其他退路,或在这个世界上没有什么存在价值。”

贝尔正在努力实现卖淫的合法化,但却呼吁加重对性交易购买方的惩罚,因为女性性工作者通常会面临牢狱之灾,但男性却通常只是受教育干预而已。

但这种情形开始发生变化。

麦凯恩在谈及亚利桑那州时指出:“如今,我们把他们的车没收了。因此,这些家伙回家后就得向其最重要的另一半——妻子,或者向其老板,或者其他任何人解释为什么车被没收了。这一举措十分奏效。”

在洛杉矶之类的其他城市,那些因购买性服务而被捕的人士会发现自己的名字出现在告示牌上。贝尔说,她所在的机构LIFT会向那些被捕人士的家里寄送明黄色的明信片。

但维权人士说,终止性贩卖的最好的方法就是防止其发生。

麦凯恩说,请确保对我们的检察官、法官、医生、第一发现者进行培训,让他们学会应该调查什么内容,以及当他们看到人口贩卖时该怎么做。这一点是打击人口贩卖最重要的一个环节,但它并没有听起来那么简单。

对于学校来说,与儿童讨论性问题并不一定是个受欢迎的话题,即便只是进行安全教育亦是如此。

麦凯恩说:“我在去过的地方都会遇到这个问题。这并非是性教育,这是为了拯救生命。”

麦凯恩研究所正在支持一项研究,以便获得美国境内更加完整和可靠的人口贩卖数据,从而更有针对性地开展意识和预防培训。麦凯恩还鼓励民众,尤其是女性,在其社区中未雨绸缪,寻找可利用的资源来预防性贩卖的发生,并帮助受害者。

麦凯恩说:“这基本上是男人的问题。女人,则需要记住这一点。”(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

Slavery is alive and well in the land of the free. With human trafficking now a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide and cases increasing in the United States, activists are trying to squash the myth that most women who work as prostitutes do so because they want to.

“Prostitution isn’t people deferring entrance to Yale while they prostitute to raise money for tuition—that’s not the reality of what it looks like,” said Nicole Bell, who worked as a prostitute after being trafficked as a teen. “We’re looking at people in poverty, people of color, people coming out of the foster care system.”

Bell, who spoke alongside a panel of activists at the Women in the World Summit in Manhattan last Friday, is now the founder and CEO of Living in Freedom Together (LIFT), a survivor-led organization that helps individuals exit the world of commercial sexual exploitation.

“We look at prostitution and trafficking as two different things, but most people in prostitution have experienced trafficking in some form,” Bell said. “Most were brought into this before they were old enough to consent to have sex—never mind to being sold for sex.”

Human trafficking is estimated to bring in global profits of about $150 billion a year—$99 billion from sexual exploitation, according to the International Labor Organization. Nearly 9,000 cases in the U.S. were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and BeFree Textline in 2017—a 13% increase from the prior year, according to the Polaris Project. But this data is incomplete, as cases are severely underreported.

“This is not only a dominant issue, it’s an epidemic issue,” Cindy McCain, who chairs the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council said. “It’s also something that is hiding in plain sight. It’s everywhere—it’s absolutely everywhere.”

President Donald Trump has said his proposed wall at the Southern border would have a huge effect on ending human trafficking, but McCain said the problem is within our own borders.

“He’s living in Disneyland,” McCain said. “These kids that are being trafficked are domestic. They are within the United States and they’re going from state to state.”

A Pipeline of Vulnerability

Some of the biggest factors that lead vulnerable children to become vulnerable adults are poverty, homelessness, abuse at home, the foster system, and glamorization of the sex industry, what is essentially a “pipeline of vulnerability,” said Dr. Sharon Cooper, founder and CEO of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics.

“What we see is that children are at great risk to be brought into what’s referred to as ‘the life’,” said Cooper. “They are really groomed, sometimes by society, by the advertisements, by what they see on social media, and therefore we have to be very proactive to make this stop.”

Through LIFT, Bell works with incarcerated women, another group hugely vulnerable to sex trafficking.

“When you’re looking at our prison system, it’s literally a fish pool of vulnerabilities,” said Bell. “Women with substance abuse disorder, people who don’t have any family support, homelessness—if you want to find a victim, all you have to do is go through the court transcripts … and offer them a way out.”

And don’t think your state is immune. Of the 5,147 human trafficking cases reported in 2018 through the National Human Trafficking Hotline, not one state was excluded.

“The general public thinks that trafficking of girls occurs in inner cities,” said Cooper. “We’ve seen cases where girls were taken to farms and sold to migrant farmers, drugged in order to become compliant. We’ve seen girls who have been living in homeless shelters, and who come out of the homeless shelter just to walk down the street, but that homeless shelter has been cased by traffickers who will then drive down the street and say, ‘Hey I have a job for you and you can get the tips.’ This is the kind of thing if you offered to a homeless child they would will absolutely believe is authentic and is an okay thing to do.”

Prostitution vs. Sex Trafficking

Dr. Cooper often treats sexually traumatized children and testifies in court to help prosecute those who victimized them.

“When I’m testifying in a trafficking case, which is fairly common these days, it’s really clear that judges and juries do not really understand the difference between prostitution and sex trafficking,” said Cooper.

While prostitution is defined as the exchange of sex for money, drugs, or influence between two consenting adults—where consent can be given—human trafficking means there is third-party control.

“Whenever someone else is getting that money on the backs of those individuals—often children who are having to perform 10, 12, 15 sexual acts, and actually being sexually assaulted, at a time—that constitutes sex trafficking,” she said.

And these children often end up the adult prostitutes, who many assume are just making a job choice, said Bell.

“The difference between a child victim of sex trafficking and an adult victim of sex trafficking is 60 seconds,” she said. “Nothing changed as I turned 18 years old. I was still being victimized. It still was not something I wanted to be doing. I spent the majority of my adult life involved in prostitution, sometimes with a third-party exploiting me and sometimes because I didn’t feel like I had any other options or any other worth in this world.”

Bell is working to decriminalize the act of prostitution, and advocates instead for harsher penalties for those who purchase sex, because while female sex workers often face jail time, johns are often given educational intervention.

But things are starting to change.

“We take their cars away from them now,” said McCain, referring to the state of Arizona. “So these guys have to go home and explain to their wife, their significant other, to their boss, whatever it may be, why they don’t have a car anymore. And it’s working beautifully.”

In other cities, like Los Angeles, those who get arrested for buying sex might find their names printed on billboards. And Bell said her organization, LIFT, sends bright yellow postcards to the homes of those caught buying sex.

But the best way to end sex trafficking, activists say, is preventing it.

Making sure our prosecutors, judges, schools, doctors, first responders, are trained on what to look for and what to do when they see human trafficking, is the most important piece of combatting it, said McCain—but that can be harder than it sounds.

Schools aren’t always welcoming when it comes to speaking to children about sex, even when it is a safety issue.

“I’ve run into this everywhere I go,” said McCain. “This is not sex ed, this is saving lives.”

The McCain Institute is supporting research to get more complete and reliable data on human trafficking in the U.S., in order to better target awareness and prevention training. McCain also encourages people, especially women, to be proactive in their communities and see what resources are available to both prevent sex trafficking and help victims.

“This is very much a man’s issue,” said McCain. “Women, we need to take hold of this.”

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