Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Sin of Omission

Last Saturday, Detroit news station WXYZ ran a story called "Tricks and Truckers" about commercial sex activity at a Detroit truck stop, across the street from Greater Apostolic Faith Temple. I wish the story was still on their web site, but I couldn't find it this morning.

The premise of the story was this: prostitutes were soliciting truck drivers at a local truck stop, and people from the church were offended and wanted the prostitutes to either be arrested or "chased away." The story, like so many others, vilified the prostitutes but said little about the people who exploit them.

I don't know the individual stories or situations of the women in this story. What I do know is that, statistically speaking, some of them are likely victims of sex trafficking - forced into prostitution by a pimp, "boyfriend", "friend", etc. A vital piece of information that was glaringly absent from this report.

Needless to say, I was disappointed that the investigative reporter, Heather Catallo, didn't use this opportunity to educate her audience about sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and girls.

I emailed Heather a week ago, immediately after I read the story. I expressed my disappointment, shared some statistics about sex trafficking and also shared stories of women who had been trafficked and sexually exploited in the Detroit area. I asked her to run a follow-up story sharing accurate information about sex trafficking in America.

I have not received a response.

The fact that her story has been pulled from the website is a small victory - at least the misinformation isn't out there anymore - but it isn't enough. Reporters have a responsibility to report the truth, and her story didn't do that. As a result, she aided in perpetuating the stigmas surrounding prostitution, and made criminals out of women who may very well be victims of numerous crimes.

Please join me in asking Heather Catallo to report an accurate story about sex trafficking and prostitution in America. One that calls out the real criminals - the Johns and the pimps. Urge her to report the truth about the criminal sexual exploitation of women in this country and around the world.

photo: freespiritteen on Photobucket

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