Commentary: Kraft & The Florida AMP Bust
This weeks crackdown on AMP’s (Asian Massage Parlors) in South Florida—and the now infamous charges against billionaire Robert Kraft—may be a big, public victory for the fifth against human trafficking. But it may also be a setback for human decency, especially towards sex workers.
I have no sympathy for Mr. Kraft at all. I freely admit that I am not a fan of him or his football team, the New England Cheaters—I mean Patriots. Honestly, I can’t stand them. So I honestly hope he does get arrested and convicted. I admit, it’s nice to see someone like him get smacked around by the law a bit.
And I have no problem with Florida fully prosecuting the people running this alleged human trafficking ring. If reports are true that the women were not being allowed to leave the AMP’s, and being compelled to have sex with clients, then I am fine with the people who profited from it going to prison for a long time.
What I am not okay with is what will likely happen to the women involved. These women will not be treated decently. They won’t get proper legal support. They likely won’t get proper health care. They certainly won’t get the psychological care they need. And after the case is adjudicated (or perhaps even before), they will get deported back to their countries of origin. And they will likely face shame and ridicule when they get there. Additionally, they may still end up in forced labor or sex work, because they still “owe” a debt to the criminal organizations that were using them in America.
This is the sad truth in the fight against human trafficking: Most the people in the fight don’t actually care about the humans who get trafficked. Their priority is in stopping the crime, not caring for the victims. It bothers me that the actual humans are treated as disposable by both the traffickers and the government.
To top all of it off, this type of “victory” against sex trafficking will be used to bolster law enforcements activities against non-trafficked sex workers. Law enforcement is one of those areas that politicians demand continued success from. One bust is never enough. So with the AMP’s in this area being shut down, LE will turn their eyes to the independent sex workers, all in the name of fighting against human trafficking and sex trafficking. Because the cops will need more success stories to appease the politicians and the moralists.
Human trafficking is a very real problem. This Florida situation demonstrates it. The major public attention that Mr. Kraft’s indiscretions have brought to this bust do have the effect of showing how bad the AMP’s can be. Places like these need to be shut down, and the criminals who run them need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
But after that, the women should be helped. They should be given a chance at a new life. And if they choose to include sex work in that life, they should be allowed to. I truly believe that the single best thing that could be done to help stop human trafficking in America would be to decriminalize sex work. That would strip power away from the traffickers, and give it to the women. It would make it easier and safer for victims to report traffickers. And it would put some humanity back into the fight against human trafficking by making it clear that the victims are victims, not participants. It would protect the victims from prosecution and persecution.
Will it ever happen? I have no idea. A lot of people thought that cannabis legalization would never happen, but look at it now. So there is hope.
In the mean time, guys like Kraft need to learn not to be such cheapskates. If you’re that rich, you can hire a real FBSM professional and not get busted for going to an AMP. How embarrassing.