Monday, August 29, 2011

The Whistleblower -- and Ongoing U.S. Involvement in Sex Trafficking

First off, if you haven't seen the Whistleblower -- starring Rachel Weisz, Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Anna Anissimova, Roxana Condurache, and Monica Bellucci -- go out and see it.

Its an incredibly raw look at sex slavery -- the literal trade in women's bodies and flesh as commodities, as sources of enormous global profits, and as "things" for men worldwide to sexually plunder.  The fact that there is a demand for such a "commodity" is itself an indictment of the culture of patriarchy and the sexualized degradation of women that is so rampant in -- and so widely promoted by -- pornography.

But, what makes this movie even more gripping and important is the way it reveals a true story of U.S. and UN government collusion with -- and participation in -- this sex trade and its protection.

In case anyone thinks this is just an "isolated incident," check this out from an article by Rebecca Murray posted yesterday at

"In one harrowing experience, Rania and two other girls visited a house in Baghdad’s Al-Jihad district, where girls as young as 16 were held to cater exclusively to the U.S. military. The brothel’s owner told Rania that an Iraqi interpreter employed by the Americans served as the go-between, transporting girls to and from the U.S. airport base."

This conforms to stories that were shared with me informally by several of the anti-war Iraq and Afghanistan war vets I have spoken and traveled with and gotten to know over the years.

Not only has the U.S. military been one of the main impetuses in creating the demand for sex trafficking over decades, not only has the U.S. military been involved in many levels of protecting this "industry" (as well as, at times, itself having a much more active hand in it!), but the wars that the U.S. wages are a huge part of what creates the conditions for women and girls to be vulnerable to be sold into this industry.  As the IPS article continues:

"Before the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq enjoyed the highest female literacy rate across the Middle East, and more Iraqi women were employed in skilled professions, like medicine and education, than in any other country in the region.

"Twenty years later Iraqi women experience a very different reality. Sharia law increasing dominates everyday life, with issues like marriage, divorce and honour crimes implemented outside of the court system, and adherence to state law."

All this is totally fucked.  And through it all, the people who run this country have the audacity to pose not only as the "leader of the free world" but also as the "liberators of women."

If nothing else was wrong with this system (and there is plenty more that is wrong), this alone would be reason enough for revolution.  Yesterday is not soon enough.

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posted by Sunsara Taylor at 1:16 PM


Blogger Sarah said...

I read you post on not leaving religion out of the abortion debate on feministing and followed the link to your blog here. Really enjoying what I've read so far, keep up the great work.

8/31/11, 12:14 AM


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