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Photo by: Lea Abecassis. The DRI Program is a Newcomb Institute technology initiative for undergraduate students combining technology skillsets, feminist leadership, and the digital humanities. This curation takes a moment to reflect on the powerful women and women-centered movements strengthening our New Orleans community.
This was originally published on October 15, My first semester Junior year I decided to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. As whose parents are both immigrants, my mother from Cuba and my father from Morocco, I have always been immersed into two separate cultures other than the American one I was primarily brought up in.
As a study abroad student, I traveled to new cities every weekend, and o ne weekend my best friend and I decided to travel to Amsterdam. Amsterdam was full of life and light, and I felt a sense of genuine happiness when I visited. One night, however, my friend and I decided to walk through the infamous Red Light district. As we walked down the district, I remember the strong smell of smoke and alcohol and the women in skimpy outfits attempting to lure both women and men into their booths.
I vividly remember observing how men would gawk at the women in the booths and look at them as if they were objects. A specific instance that I remember most from that night was when a women left a booth and a second later a man entered.
I felt as though these women were instantly being degraded and used. I was shocked as I had never been exposed to anything like this.
I immediately thought to myself these women may be mothers with children, and they most definitely have mothers and fathers themselves. I almost wanted to tell these women that they did not have to do any of this. As I returned back from this trip, I began to think about the role of sexuality in America and how, although, perhaps not as blatant as it was in Amsterdam, situations like these occur in the United States every day. Sex trafficking is an enormous industry and a major problem in America and women are being taken advantage of every day.
Sex trafficking is a contemporary term created during the feminist movement in the late s. During this time, many began marching for the cause of the abuse and forced prostitution of women.
In the year ofthe United States invented the Trafficking Victims Protection Act protecting women who were kidnapped and forced into sex trafficking . These women who are frightened for their lives are being held in inhumane conditions while constantly being abused. These women feel as though this is not simply an option to take but also a lucrative decision. When society is constantly degrading women, it influences the ways in which women view themselves and enforces the idea that they will always be inferior.
Ultimately, these women do not have to force themselves into these conditions; however, they may feel as though because they are being told it is normal, that they should. When women are being portrayed in subperior manners, it encourages women all around to believe that these ideas are true. After eating an impeccable meal at New Orleans renown restaurant Revolution, my friend and I decided to stroll down the streets of Bourbon Street.
We saw women completely naked — some women with their tops off yelling words of profanity. Although we are both Tulane students, the school is mostly in a bubble and unless one decides to take a trip downtown, the aspects of the city feels distant. Aside from the delicious food, New Orleans is known for its free nature and wildness and both the French Quarter and Bourbon street are hubs for tourists who visit the city. The smell of alcohol lingers around the multiple bars and strip clubs that line Bourbon street. Club owners themselves feel as though Bourbon Street specifically has been an instrumental factor to perturbing atmosphere.
Although little is left of it, New Orleans itself has had a red light district: Storyville.
Prostitution became illegal in Storyville in ; however, before then, it was crowded with brothels and saloons. Although jazz music did not originate in Storyville, many brothels would hire musicians to play. Once prostitution became illegal inthe district began to lose its appeal and began to deteriorate .
However, Newton D. Since then, New Orleans has been a place riddled, just as much of the world is, with sexual assaults. This horrifying story could be a case of human trafficking, which happens in the city and police say most of human trafficking goes undetected and is very hard to identify . Sex trafficking in New Orleans has been a recent topic and Louisiana passed two bills that if passed, will connect New Orleans strip clubs with human trafficking . The reason this law poses a challenge is because it can potentially put the sex workers at a great risk.
The second bill, SB, increases fines for those who both engage for sexual activity with with sex workers in hopes to decrease the demand . s of support for sex workers. In February ofstrip club employees and others passionate about anti-trafficking headed to the French quarter to object the police attacks on these clubs.
Police claimed that by raiding these strip clubs, they were assisting in ending human trafficking by shutting down these establishments. However, some of the women and sex workers felt as though the policemen made them feel completely degraded and took pictures without consent.
Not only are police a form of safety and security, but for these policemen to make these women feel unprotected and violated is completely unacceptable. When high positions of authority are not displaying their respect for women in even the smallest of ways, it further encourages society to regress in the ways in which it views women. Defeatiation is a neologism that translates to when a problem that impacts the world or even the smallest community has been overcome or defeated. Human trafficking and sex trafficking has not been conquered.
It is a global challenge that is extremely hard to combat for various reasons. Beneath both the red light district and human trafficking, there is a sense of complete ignorance for humanness. Since my experience in Amsterdam, I have been passionate about the issue of trafficking and how women are being taken from their families and abused all over the world.
These women have the potential to be outstanding individuals in this country, but instead, they are captured and forced into a life that they cannot escape from. Women have been oppressed for centuries and are constantly being degraded and demeaned. Sex trafficking can happening anywhere.
University of Pennsylvania Press, Comments Cancel reply You must to post a comment. Need a ViaNolaVie ? Recent Posts on ViaNolaVie. View Content Archive. Related Content. Listening to the sounds of trafficking in what used to be Storyville. Gender and Sexuality. Hindsight for foresight insight: The struggle of reentering society after prison.
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The Barrooms and Brothels of Gallatin Street