In a cloudy afternoon on last Sunday, I dropped in a local coffee shop to sit down and chat around with a group of friends in Centerville. One of the ‘hot’ issues on the table to talk about was ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, a recently released movie portraying a rather distorted love and sexual relationship between a wealthy young man and an even younger, naive girl in her early twenties.
The impression I have got from the talk that day is that no matter in Korea or in the United States, there is still quite a long way to go to see more of a change in people’s perspective toward the definition and the nature of sex trafficking. When discussing the problem of forced labor or child sex trafficking, the majority do not seem to hold any objection to the fact that the victims were placed in such conditions against their own will. However, if we change the topic to the form of sex trafficking victimizing adults, there is a whole different story – often people think that there must have been their own free will to play in the adult sex trafficking situation and therefore, it cannot be seen as ‘trafficking’ at all in the first place.
Even one of my friends said, “Well, you know. Those who works at those massage parlors. I mean, in many cases they work there BECAUSE they want to do so. Am I not right?” Well, I have to say NO in the most explicit way I could imagine. I would like to share a quote from a police officer who recently shut down an illicit massage parlor in Hayward, CA: “I have NEVER met one of these girls, or interviewed one, that says they got into this business on their own FREE WILL.”
Valentine’s Day is already far behind us, but the line of people heading over to their dates with Grey does not seem to be shortened in near future. For all of you currently in the line or planning to be at some point, there is a powerful piece to read which I would like you to check out.
If any one around me is planning to have their “own date” with Mr. Grey in any upcoming days, I strongly recommend you to visit the article at some point beforehand and hopefully that it might let you have rather balanced perspective toward the movie (as well as the book).