A couple of years ago, I saw a news clip about sex trafficking. While I’ve been searching for that video, I haven’t been able to find it. However, a portion of it replays in my mind nearly every time I read a child survivor’s story of sexual abuse.
I believe the reporter was in Cambodia. For part of his research into the child prostitution of the area, he used a hidden camera while he spoke with a prominent American doctor who had traveled there to purchase young girls for sex.
The camera was shaking and the image was grainy but the words were clear. The American nonchalantly discussed his frequent “vacations” for the sole purpose of sleeping with young teenage girls. He talked about his preferences: he liked 13-14 year old girls best, the younger the better. He told the reporter that he was going to purchase three girls for the night. They could be bought so cheaply, it only made sense to have as many as he liked at a time.
He likened buying children to ordering a pizza.
Just like he could order the toppings of his choice, he could order the age and look of his choice.
He ordered pepperoni last night. He might want a 10 year old tonight.
I made pizza for dinner last night. I chose my own toppings: vodka sauce, chicken, red onion, dried basil, mozzarella and parmesan. It was quite tasty. But baking that pizza pie to my liking is not the same thing as a man going to a foreign country and selecting a child who meets his sexual preference. My pizza doesn’t have a soul. It cannot feel. It was not frightened as I ate it. The idea of such things is absurd.
Those little girls who are bought by strange men (men that may sexually assault them for hours without restraint or consequence) have souls. They are human beings with worth. They are able to feel things like fear, pain, loneliness, and depression.
Hate is a strong, ugly word. It implies that we wish destruction upon another person. I remember hating that doctor as the video ended. I could not contain my disgust as he talked about little girls the way he might discuss any other (non-human) purchase. Straightforward. Calm. Matter-of-fact. His personal interests were paramount.
They weren’t children. They were merchandise.
The video revealed many things about prostitution but that one man, the man who didn’t even know his words were going to make international news, personified two of the most prominent attitudes found amongst people who pay for sex.
1) Commercial sex is so common place in our world today that most people don’t think twice about it. In that doctor’s mind, there was nothing unnatural about him traveling to another country to have a good time raping children. In fact, there was nothing unnatural about telling a complete stranger about his planned purchases for the evening. A casual eavesdropper might shake their head and think, “Some people are just sick”. But chances are great, they’ll continue on their way, their evening only momentarily altered by what they’ve heard.
2) If sex sells, youth sells fastest. “Men who buy bodies for sex usually want to buy the youngest body they can find” (see the post linked above from The Prostitution Experience). Young women and children are now just warm bodies that men can rent for an evening. If a 24 year old woman has a quota of 100 men to meet in an evening, or her pimp will beat her, she’ll most likely say she’s 18 or 19. There’s a reason a girl’s virginity often goes to the highest bidder. She’s unmarked territory. She’s a fresh conquest. I guess they might say she’s like that first bite of pizza.
Brand new and made to their liking.