2:00 PM, July 7th, 2011

Michelle Goldberg weighs in on the Ashton Kutcher-Village Voice feud over underage sex trafficking, and clarifies what the Village Voice got wrong in its reporting:

Unfortunately, the Voice story perpetuates the very regressive ideas about “real” trafficking victims that activists have spent a decade fighting. At one point, the reporters get one of the researchers behind the disputed number to admit, “Kids who are kidnapped and sold into slavery—that number would be very small.” Indeed, he says, there are probably only a few hundred such victims.

But a girl hardly needs to be kidnapped to be trafficked. Many are pimped out by men who claim to love them, or by relatives. Some are runaways or addicts. It has taken activists a long time to convince law enforcement that these girls are victims of a crime, not perpetrators. The typical trafficking victim “isn’t a kid from Middle America, frankly,” says Lloyd. “This is a kid who’s been abandoned and failed by every institution. The fact that The Village Voice, of all newspapers, is not getting the connections around race and class with this issue is mind-boggling to me.”

1:52 PM, March 23rd, 2011

Comment of the Day

This is a reader’s comment on our story about a terrifying sex trafficking ordeal:

I’m an immigration attorney in the Midwest. I met the officers and agents who worked on the Detroit case with the Ukrainians (check the link). These traffickers make millions of dollars.

I am contacted about once or twice a year by women who were trafficked and forced into prostitution here in the US, usually from Central America or Mexico. Often, they have the young women in vans in the parking lots of strip clubs, waiting for horny guys who are leaving.

Sadly, as long as there is a demand, there will be people willing to force others into prostitution.

Memo to horny guys leaving strip clubs: those girls aren’t what you think they are.

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