Friday Open Thread ~ an "It isn't what you think" edition
The idea that sex trafficking is an urgent social problem is woven into American media stories, from reports of Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s alleged trafficking of teenage girls to debunked QAnon conspiracy theories about a sexual slavery ring run through online retailer Wayfair.
The common perception of sex trafficking involves a young, passive woman captured by an aggressive trafficker. The woman is hidden and waiting to be rescued by law enforcement. She is probably white, because, as the legal scholar Jayashri Srikantiah writes, the “iconic victim” of trafficking usually is depicted this way.
This is essentially the plot of the “Taken” movies, in which teenage Americans are kidnapped abroad and sold into sexual slavery. Such concerns fuel viral posts and TikTok videos about alleged but unproven trafficking in IKEA parking lots, malls and pizza shops.
This is not how sex trafficking usually occurs.