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Mainstream Media’s Take On Human Trafficking

Article by Amber Cammack, Houston’s Voice for the Missing

Our society suffers from “Perception Deception Disorder”

Ask yourself why is it that so few people are aware of Human Trafficking? Is the media somehow controlled in reporting on certain topics?

Click the link below which presents concise summaries of revealing writings by a number of award-winning, courageous journalists further suggesting that certain topics are censored from the news by media ownership. These journalists reported on powerful, disturbing stories at the risk of losing their jobs in order to bring highly important news to the public.

While you read some of the eye-opening information in the two-page summary at the link below, remember that by working together, we can change all of this.

Some of you may already know or have suspected how corporate ownership of the media has tended to promote fear and sensationalism while neglecting some of the most important issues our world is facing, like Human Trafficking AND MISSING PERSONS CASES. Others may feel a bit overwhelmed after reading the revealing stories of these courageous, award-winning journalists.

Many people would rather not know about the major manipulations happening in our world. Believing that it is better to focus only on the positive, they choose to avoid looking into the shadows. Yet would you ignore a friend who was about to harm someone, raped, killed or commit suicide?

As long as we collectively choose ignorance over awareness, these manipulations will continue. In fact, they will likely grow in magnitude until people are finally forced to open their eyes and deal with the consequences…. For Example; this could be your child’s face on this MISSING PERSONS flyer.

Or you could be one of the parents we have on the our weekly radio show crying and begging the public to help get justice for your child. Do not wait until it’s to late…speak out against the injustice.

The sooner each of us decides that we do want to know of important matters that are being hidden, and that we are willing to invite others to open their eyes, the more easily we will be able to transform our world in a direction that supports the good of all who share this beautiful planet with us. Our children are our future. Without children there is NO future in America. We have to acknowledge crime on our American CHILDREN.

We are ALL parents… I do not share information regarding the dirty political agenda’s, corruption and horror stories to scare or sadden you, my purpose is always to inspire you individually and all of us collectively to be the change we want to see, to be the hero’s we may need one day. Speaking out against the injustice and crime on children is a tremendous opportunity for to make a real difference in the lives of your family and mine. Your voice matters and can help save a life, it could help save your child’s life. The first step to any great change is education and truth. Arm yourself and your family with the truth and understanding. Acknowledge the fact thousands are missing and children are being sold into sex slavery.

Criminology behind media and Human Trafficking

Although the exploitation of people for profit is not a new phenomenon, in the late 1990s and early 2000s international leaders, advocates, and the public became increasingly concerned about the risks of exploitation inherent in labor migration and commercial sex work. In 2000, the U.S. government passed the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA), which defined a new crime of human trafficking and directed law enforcement agencies to begin identifying and responding to this form of victimization. Following passage of the TVPA, U.S. media interest in human trafficking as a crime increased steadily, though the framing of the problem, its causes, and its solutions has changed over time. Media coverage of human trafficking spiked around 2005 and has risen steadily since that time. Human trafficking has become a “hot topic”… the subject of investigative journalism and a sexy plot line for films and television shows. Yet, the media often misrepresent human trafficking or focus exclusively on certain aspects of the problem. Research on human trafficking frames in print media revealed that portrayals of human trafficking were for the most part oversimplified and inaccurate in terms of human trafficking being portrayed as innocent female victims needing to be rescued from traffickers. Depictions of human trafficking in movies, documentaries, and television episodes in the United States have followed a rescue narrative, where innocent victims are saved from harmful predators. Additionally, traffickers are commonly portrayed in the media as part of larger organized crime rings, despite empirical evidence to the contrary. Incorrect framing of human trafficking in the popular media may lead policymakers and legislators to adopt less helpful ant trafficking responses, particularly responses focused on criminal justice system solutions.

The over-representation of simpler forms of victimization such as kidnapping and deception is problematic because these representations completely ignore the coercive form of victimization that many victims undergo. For instance, many labor trafficking and sex trafficking victims are held by psychological forms of coercion such as being threatened with deportation or with violence toward their family members, and being held by debt bondage. The kidnapping narrative also ignores domestic sex trafficking victims who are psychologically attached to their exploiters as well as foreign-born sex trafficking victims who voluntarily migrate for sex work and are victimized upon arrival. More complex forms of victimization are not presented in the media because they involve attaching criminal behavior to the victim. Once criminal behavior is attached to the victim, the victim is no longer the “ideal victim” and therefore can no longer be given sympathy, or they are no longer considered “t.v. acceptable”.

Unfortunately, many traits of the “ideal” victim are not present in most trafficking victims. Many labor trafficking and sex trafficking victims help facilitate the beginning of their illegal or legal movement into the United States. Also, sex trafficking victims participate (even if unwillingly) in prostitution, running away, and drug usage. Because the American public has little sympathy for illegal immigrants or individuals involved in prostitution, articles such as Landesman’s “The Girl Next Door,” which focused heavily on innocent victims who suffered physical victimization continue to proliferate because they are the types of victims who serve as better motivational frames.

Victim Characteristics

Demographic characteristics of victims such as age, gender, and race also play a huge role in constructing America’s “ideal” victim. For instance, children and women are the most commonly represented victims in print media articles. I have also noticed this trend of sex trafficking in which media rarely prints or airs stories of male sex trafficking victims. Children and women are ideal victims because labels such as vulnerable, weak, blameless, and passive characteristics can easily be attached to them. At the same time, it is easy to attach blame to adult victims and male victims of human trafficking. The strong representation of women as victims of human trafficking also corresponds to the over-representation of sex trafficking and the under-representation of labor trafficking in the media.

Media accounts have not only relied heavily on children and women as victims, but they have also focused more specifically on female victims. Because the frame was culturally resonant, news media, movies, and television shows continued to mimic the kidnap narrative of young innocent female victims. Leaving out the wide variety of victims, like the labor trafficking and sex trafficking victims who are held by psychological forms of coercion such as being threatened with deportation or with violence toward their family members, and being held by debt bondage.

Foreign Versus Domestic Victims

Another inaccuracy that I’d like to note about the main stream media coverage of human trafficking, is the preference for foreign victims over domestic victims. Most Americans think of sex trafficking as something that happens only to foreign victims. Americans generally associate domestic sex trafficking in the United States with “juvenile prostitutes” who choose to be “in the life.” Denying this population victim status is arguably associated with the image of the ideal victim because the young women that. They are viewed as guilty, because their victimization do not always fit the kidnapping or the “being chained to a bed” narrative established by the media.

Offenders’ Characteristics

Human trafficking offenders are primarily depicted as males who are more than likely to be from ethnic organized crime groups and more likely to exhibit extreme violence and debasement to their victims. Additionally, when victims are depicted as being kidnapped, that portrayal hints that the offender was a stranger to the victim. Participating in behaviors such as torture and rape also helps establish the offender as evil. Let’s point out that customers are usually viewed as the only immoral, sex-crazed men, or sexual predators involved.

In reality, a large percentage of victims are exploited by their family members, acquaintances, friends, and even law enforcement. Similar to the crime of sexual assault, victims of human trafficking are viewed as more credible and sympathetic if strangers victimize them. In the case of human trafficking in particular, a personal connection between the victim and offender attaches some criminality to the victim, making the victim a “bad victim.” that the public does want to see or have sympathy for.

For example, a 47 year-old male preys on a 16 year-old girl by giving her drug and having sexual relations with her. The pimp gains full control over his child victim when he or she developes a drug addiction. He then convinces the victim to run away from home and he starts prostituting her. When law enforcement finds the child they offer the parents no help and ruses to charge the child predator. The automatically label the child A “bad victim” and point fingers at the parents…. and sadly our society does too.

It’s a classic case of victim shame. Instead of going after the criminal that broke multiple laws (like statutory rape, trafficking of a minor, harboring a runaway and interference with child parental custody) we shame the victim and their law bidding families. In my years of working missing persons cases I have seen thousands of families who are treated like the criminal for requesting that law enforcement, enforce the laws that protect children from human traffickers.

Ask yourself why the mainstream media never air the stories of injustice??? I would love to hear your opinion, you can comment below!!

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