I am going to try and keep this one short and sweet. We have all heard about the so-called “Secret Service Scandal” that played out last weekend and has dominated headlines and air-time on local news stations. I blogged about it when it initially broke.
Please tell me what these pictures bring to the story or what they have to do with ANYTHING. The pictures are of one of the alleged women who was brought back to a secret service agent’s hotel room. The pictures of her show her in a bikini, in a t-shirt, and in a blouse and jeans leaning over a chair. She is appears to be happy in that she is smiling. But why is this important? Because the Huffington Post is succumbing to the assertion that “sex sells” and feeding into what they believe to be society’s desperate need to know what at least one of these girls’ looks like. It’s utterly disgusting and awful journalism.
I complained in my initial blog post about how no news was giving attention to the social injustice of sexual exploitation or to the 20 or so women that were brought back to the hotel in Cartenga that night. I thought my complaints had been somewhat alleviated when I saw that the NY Times had written a story about one of the girls. But all that story did for me was paint the picture of a glamorous, safe, lucrative escort service for society to equate to prostitution in general. The story did nothing to discuss the dangers and harm that are so pervasive in sex tourism – which is so non-chalantly used to refer to this “scandal.” The glamorization of the sex industry portrayed by the media is a very dangerous illusion. The commercial sex industry is very linked to human trafficking, coercion, violence, and degrading behaviors against women, men, children, and transgender individuals. But not many journalists want to illustrate that connection to this “scandal” portrayed by the Secret Service.
Fortunately, there are honest and accurate journalists such as Kirsten Powers who wrote a very real and truthful depiction of the U.S. military fueling the commercial sex trade when overseas. Powers did not see a need to post pictures of one of the prostituted women. She saw no need to talk about the presumed security breach and threat of national security that this “scandal” led to. Instead, she reported on the reality.
This is not the first time U.S. government officials have purchased women for sex nor will it be the last so long as the media and the government fail to hold these men accountable. Powers really said it best…
Representatives of the U.S. government should be setting the standard for the world, not feeding the problem of sex trafficking. The chances that the women or girls the Secret Service agents procured for their pleasure were there by free will is very low. Most likely, they were sex slaves.
The club where the agents went to buy the women has been described as a dingy, windowless brick building. Sex trafficking survivors would tell you that what goes on in such dingy windowless buildings is nothing less than torture.
So shame on you HuffPo. Consider yourself another exploiter of women in the commercial sex trade.