Make Slavery Illegal

We can bombast about building fences on the Mexican border, but the real situation is simple supply and demand. You can be sure that there are illegal aliens in Rhode Island doing hard and dangerous work for starvation wages. Others are doing domestic work and child care, perhaps sending money back to their own children who are missing them back home.

It’s bad when people have no leverage in the labor market. It’s worse when human beings themselves are the commodity. The same economic logic that outsources jobs, that floods our discount stores with cheap imports, is the logic that drives sex as a commodity. It’s no news that prostitution is big business in R.I., as in the rest of the universe. The largest alternative paper in our state is largely funded by advertising in their ‘personals’ section. There will always be people who sell sex, as long as there is money to be made. What to do about it is a complex issue. Slavery, however, is something the world long ago agreed is wrong.

If you’ve been reading the Journal the last few years, you may have noticed a recurring story. A ‘massage parlor’ is raided, illegal women are living on the premises. We never find out what happened to them, soon it’s business as usual.

If you are tired of seeing nothing done about what appears to be a human rights crisis in our own state, there is a place to speak out. The National Council of Jewish Women are holding a forum Tuesday, November 28 at 7pm at the Providence Marriot, 1 Orms St., Providence.

In my opinion, we need to speak to our mayor if we want to address the problem of trafficking. If we don’t, what we are likely to get is another moral crusade. These moral crusades never did anything but make life more miserable for women. Our city officials are looking at the prostitution laws. They need to look at laws to make it unprofitable to transport, kidnap, coerce or threaten anyone, and laws that protect victims who testify against the international organized crime networks that are luring desperate people into indentured servitude.


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