Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dugard story one of many stories of sex slavery in America

By Mike Masten
President, Project Exodus

People all around the United States were horrified earlier this week when it was discovered that Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy had been keeping South Lake Tahoe resident Jaycee Lee Dugard captive and in a cage for 18 years in their Antioch backyard.

Garrido, a registered sex offender, kidnapped Dugard in June 1991 as she was walking to her bus stop in her South Lake Tahoe neighborhood. Dugard was 11 years old at the time.

According to reports, Garrido and his wife Nancy had kept Dugard in a shed hidden in a "backyard within a backyard" and had even fathered two children with the girl. Garrido and his wife have since been charged with kidnapping and rape.

Rightfully so, the Garrido story has been extremely disturbing for the majority of Americans, arousing feelings of sickness and deep anger at such an immoral injustice. However, even as disturbing as the Garrido story is, for modern day abolitionist it is not unique.

According to The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking published by Shared Hope International, at least 100,000 American juveniles victims of domestic minor sex trafficking annually. This number does not include the tens if not hundreds of thousands of children trafficked into the United States from overseas annually.

What these numbers show us is clear: while particularly disturbing, the Garrido case is only one of hundreds of thousands of similar cases happening in the United States at the moment.

So why don't we know about this? Why aren't alarms being sounded from every steeple and bell tower? Why isn't society up in arms about the other 99,999 victims of child sex trafficking in the United States?

One reason may be that there is a massive denial of the issue in the American public. This can be clearly seen in how the Garrido case is being handled. According to the 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the crime of human trafficking is defined as:
A. The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where such an act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age, or
B. The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
In the Garrido case, not only was Dugard held against her will and never allowed to leave the property, but she was also forced to commit sexual acts against her will and at a young age. For abolitionists, this is a clear case of domestic minor human trafficking. To the public however, it is not.

Instead of calling what happend to Dugard as it is, ie slavery, the Garrido case has been labeled a "kidnapping and rape" incident. While these charges are of course quite serious on their own, they fail to name the true nature of the crime.

By charging Garrido and his wife with kidnapping and rape instead of with domestic minor sex trafficking, not only are authorities making this incident out to be an isolated event, they are also continuing to deny the fact that the same thing is happening to an additional 99,999 children as well.

The result? America will be horrified and stirred up at "the most evil man of the moment" but eventually will go on living their happy peaceful lives thinking he is locked away, ignorant of the fact that, in reality, Garrido is really only one of hundreds of thousands of sex offenders doing the same thing to American children all across the states.

Sadly, Garrido is just the tip of the iceberg. How many more Jaycee LeeDugards will we have to find before we finally realize it?

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