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Analysis of the Problem of Human Trafficking

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When looking at the list of books to read, I was contemplating which one looked the most interesting. While gazing over Trafficked by Sophie Hayes, I was immediately enticed by the title. After browsing the book’s summary, the reviews online and learning that this was based on a true story about the authors endeavors, I knew this would be the choice for me. I finished this book in one day, as I could not put it down. This novel was filled with sad, angry, manipulative, heart wrenching stories which coincides with many concepts that have been discussed throughout this communication course. Through the duration of her book, Sophie experiences what it is like to be a part of a muted group, to be categorized as an easy target for a human trafficking victim and how her nonverbal codes handicapped her negatively.

Sophie’s journey starts in England where she was born and raised and then shifts to Italy when she travels to meet her boyfriend Kas; Italy is where most of the story takes place.

I am of Italian descent and since I have traveled to Italy many times to visit family, I have a personal experience with what the history and culture is like there. Italy has always been a very religious culture (about 400-600 B.C.), and has so much depth and history that it dates back to before Jesus Christ was born. Italy became a unified country in 1873 but prior to that, Italy was a country of city states that were under the rule of France, Spain, a small of the Taupe States (referring to the Vatican) and the Hungarian and Austrian Empire. Now since this novel is based on human trafficking/prostitution, some interesting facts about prostitution was it was introduced before Italy was even a unified country. According to the article “Did you know this about Prostitution?” by Procon.Org, the organization states “prostitution dates back to at least 2,400 B.C.”

For Italy, before it became a unified country, brothels, and prostitution was highly looked upon in the middle ages. While there are some places around the world where prostitution is still legal, Italy did not legally prohibit brothels until 1958. When I used to visit my Great Aunt Franceschina in Italy, she he used to tell us that she was going to make Puttanesca and that was always followed by a true story of how that pasta received its name. Apparently, prostitutes in Italy (during WWII era) didn’t always make the most substantial funding to make a living off of, so after a rather long night of working in the streets they would come home and to save their money, they would throw whatever they had in their pantry to make a sauce for a home cooked meal. This became a popular dish and later was named Puttanesca or better yet knows as “pasta of the whores.” While prostitution has been around since the B.C. era, Human trafficking was not a concept, (at least for people of white skin) until roughly the early 1900’s. It was not until the mid-nineties when the United Nations made the decision to see Human Trafficking as a violent act. Due to the decision made from the United Nations, actions were further taken to protect their citizens by ensuring law enforcement became involved to help stop this criminal act.

Throughout this novel, macro-cultural, micro-cultural and muted groups were centered around human trafficking. For this specific situation, these groups can be identified differently depending on how an individual personally views each group. For example, one scenario that was portrayed as the macro-culture would be Kas (the man who makes a living off of selling other women), the micro-culture Sophie (known as the prostitute), and the muted group could be the men who actually choose to pay and sleep with the prostitutes. But personally, I believe in this scenario that the macro-cultural group would be Kas, or better known as Sophie’s “boyfriend.” Kas would be considered as the macro-cultural group because he was the one in charge of creating the idea to use Sophie for Human Trafficking to make a living. He used positional power to lure Sophie in over a course of four years to only turn on her when she came to visit him in Italy.

Little did Sophie know that Kas was not only going to sell her for her body, but also manipulate her and emotionally and physically abuse her. Next, the micro-culture would be the men who pay to sleep with the prostitutes. These men fall under this identifiable group because they share the same set of values and behaviors. Finally, Sophie would be a representation of the muted group for the women who are being sexually trafficked. Muted groups are usually concerned with power, and since Sophie struggled with the power that the macro-group (Kas) had over her and with power that the micro-groups had in purchasing her; that is why I personally believe she would be placed in this group. Another reason I made this decision is because Sophie was a sublet of the micro-culture. She was there specifically to sell her body to the micro-culture so the macro-culture could make a profit. In this unique dynamic, the macro-culture, the micro-culture and the muted groups just so happen to shadow the idea of the seller, the buyer and the performer.

Categorizing others seemed to be an ongoing theme that was displayed many times in this novel. When Sophie was old enough to find her own place, and move into a flat in London, she became a very strong yet lonely individual. She made it very hard for men to approach her. She built up walls because of how her father treated her and because of that emotional trauma, she seemed to shut men out. For example, Erion was a man she met in a bar and he and her were meant to be together. He was sweet kind, and would never hurt a fly. But since Sophie had built up so many walls, she pushed him away and started to unveil some rude and angry behavior to Erion that her father bestowed upon her. Since Erion was on a visa, he ended up being deported back to Albania. This eventually led to the two breaking up as Sophie was not ready to settle down. When she met Kas, they started off as just friends. Over a course of four years, he learned everything about Sophie and I think this is when he began categorizing her as an easy target for a human trafficking victim. Sophie discussed with Kas her childhood, what she went through with her father and all her feelings of emotions for other men.

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