The above is a small trailer for the film Buying Back my Daughter. It is disturbing as it reveals the true cost of poverty. Cambodia is an impoverished third world nation and as a result young women are being sold into sex slavery to support their families. These women clearly do not want to sell their children but feel that they have no other choice. As western women our first impulse may be to judge the parents for their decisions, but to do so is to neglect our culpability in the sex trade.
As western citizens daily we participate in trade that has a negative impact on the rest of the globe. When we grocery shop, or make debt laden trips to Walmart, what we are doing is supporting a global economy that exists through the exploitation of cheap labour in third world countries. When we purchase a bunch of bananas for thirty-nine cents a pound what this means is that the worker that grew and picked those bananas did not get paid. We exist with a sense of entitlement. Through an accident of birth westerners have come to see consuming as an inalienable right despite the fact that our over consumption of the worlds goods relegates the majority of humanity to poverty and suffering.
It is no accident that those largely effected by the global slave trade are girls and women. Female bodies are deemed meant for consumption by patriarchy and since patriarchy largely controls global trade, female bodies have become just another commodity no different than a shipment of wheat, or coffee. Through the global slave trade we can see how the interaction of gender and class work together to limit the life chances of women all over the globe. These women exist without power because they are poor and female. Patriarchy has worked to create a disconnect in our minds, and this is only proof of the validity of interconnectivity.
As we learn about the terrible crime of the global sex trade it is quite easy to dismiss it because we feel powerless to create change. This is an expression of western privilege. If it were our daughters that were routinely subject to this kind of treatment, we would not be able to turn such a callous eye to this situation. Since women are sold because of poverty the best way to combat the sex trade is to combat poverty. We know that western corporations profit from cheap third world labour and therefor it is time to start demanding that these corporations pay a living wage. We can further refuse to support unfair labour practices by not purchasing items we know to be made through labour exploitation. Do not purchase items blindly, take the time to investigate the companies business practices. Teach these corporations in the only language that they understand - profit margins, that human lives are worth more than capitol. Everyday acts have the potential to make a large difference if we all commit to change. As I have said before and will continue to say, all bodies matter.