Not long ago audiences worldwide were shocked to learn of the grotesque tortures perpetrated by American military and civilian personnel on inmates at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison. Especially provocative was the powerful photographic and testimonial evidence revealing the extent to which those involved relied on sexualized techniques to dominate their captives. Curiously, at a time when we as a nation are more acutely aware than ever of out vulnerability to terrorist attacks from abroad, recognition of this abiding and insidious domestic peril is slight at best and appreciation of its historical antecedents practically nonexistent. Yet from the European "conquest" of Native America to the staggering rates of child molestation in the present day, examples of homegrown sexual terrorism are abundant. None, however, better exemplifies its profound consequences and enduring implications than the white supremacist klans that emerged in the predominantly Christian South from the ashes of the U.S. Civil War. These groups employed disparate methods-most prominently whipping, rape, lynching, genital torture and mutilation-to wield sex as an instrument of terror designed to traumatize a despised population into submission. Assailing freed people and their allies on the basis of alleged sexual, social, or political transgressions, klansmen thus endeavored to deny victims' humanity, thwart their individual and collective aspirations, and shackle African Americans to a status that was strikingly reminiscent of bondage. Analogous to its deployment in more recent contexts, sexual violence systematically applied proved a remarkably efficient means of achieving its intended result: in this instance, the reenshrinement of white male supremacy. Much as the trauma of slavery affected those well beyond its immediate grasp, so too have the ramifications of klan terror persisted, contributing in subtle yet significant ways to the perpetuation of racial and gender hierarchy.
The story of Sally Hemings, Thomas Jefferson's enslaved lover and mother of six of his children, has gone from scandal to romance to the subject of historical and scientific investigation. All of these approaches misrepresent the liaison between the Founding Father and his female possession because they ignore the sexual exploitation and family losses inscribed across the Hemings family's history and across the history of American slavery. Even discussions that heroically attempt to locate Hemings' own choices, desires and pleasures are doomed because they require us to separate Sally Hemings the woman from Sally Hemings the enslaved woman. That separation was simply inconceivable during her lifetime. Within the context of slavery, property, and power, Hemings had no rights. She had no right to say "no" when she was 13 or 14 and her sexual relationship with Jefferson began, and had no right to say "no" when her children were sold off with the rest of Jefferson's property after his death. Imagining this relationship as a romance reveals our longing for a sexual ethics that includes mutual choice, respect and consent. Jefferson himself may have provided us with the most straightforward and accurate insight into his relationship with Hemings when he described slavery as "a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions and the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other."
Child Sexual Exploitation | Fight Slavery Now!
Slavery in the United States depended on segregationist ideology and white supremacist views. Yet interracial liaisons between white male slaveowners and enslaved women and girls were not rare. Indeed, they often resulted in children and thus what we can call "shadow families". These shadow families were an institution, unacknowledged but evident, within the American South, both during and long after slavery. Statesmen as eminent as Thomas Jefferson and Strom Thurmond are now known to have had shadow families. These relationships expose the contradictions within racial separatism and the American ideals of sexual purity and Christian virtue. Exploring this pattern of interracial sexual liaisons broadens our understanding of what slavery meant to its participants and what their legacy is for us today. Examining the larger context of slavery allows us to see that it was about much more than the expropriation of labor. We can recognize its daunting consequences for family and kinship, both during and after slavery's reign.
The Slaves' View of Slavery, ..
Approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation. There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking).
The Sexual Abuse of Black Men under American Slavery ..
The illegal status of North Koreans in the PRC and other Southeast Asian countries increases their vulnerability to trafficking for purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation.-