Power and Hegemony in Human Trafficking by Joe Purgatori

The relationship between and power is pretty significant in human trafficking. Power plays a very large role in historical hegemony in America. The term hegemony means leadership or dominance by one country or social group over others. Power is the ability to do something or act in a particular way. If one group has dominance over another group, which has happened throughout American history, then they have the power or control of how the society works. When It comes to human trafficking, there are many different groups that have both economic and political power over others. In the state of Washington, human trafficking is a huge problem and continues to increase, some of the factors that go into Washington being one of the leaders in the United States are vast rural areas, and it’s international border with Canada. Many Americans are not aware or do not understand the severity of human trafficking that goes on a daily basis. In America’s past there has been a problem of one group having dominance over another as well as slavery. In 1619, the first Africans in Virginia had been “sold” and although they were not slaves, they were people reduced to property and required to work without wages for life. (Takai, 2008 p. 52) This is is still going on today, there are many victims who work for free with no breaks and have to do whatever is needed. In America’s history the English had the money, education, and power causing extreme hegemonic behavior in our society. They would use many resources like money, education, and media to gain complete control over the African Americans. Power also played a role in historical hegemony in America, in the 1800s, Andrew Jackson would forcibly remove Indian farmers to the west toward “The Stony Mountains”. (Takaki p.79) The media could play a significant role in the reduction of human trafficking, on the news every day there are stories of many different things that go on in the world such as bombings or political elections but there is not as much information about human trafficking but it is a very common problem. Like what Postman was explaining from “media as Epistemology”, the problem with such people is that they do not take television seriously enough, television is nothing less than a philosophy (Postman p.17) Many individuals only watch television for entertainment purposes and do not keep up with the news, and the news does not tend to show the importance of human trafficking. Slavery still goes on to this day and it is not just labor work like in the past, sexual exploitation, as well as buying and selling. Children, teens and adults are being trafficked they have no where to receive help because they feel trapped and the media does not help because of the importance of the issue is not a priority. There are groups and gangs that have power as well as hegemony over many individuals in the human trafficking world, the leaders/gangs that run these human trafficking services use intimidation, isolation, physical, sexual, emotional and economic abuse towards these victims. Our group was fortunate enough to get information from an individual from the The Genesis Project in Seattle, Lindsay Weaver. Lindsay explained that, “for most of our clients, they are not coming from a profession. Generally, they have been in “the life” from a young age and this has been their main source of income. Those who work in “gentleman’s clubs and massage parlor with illegal practices could be listed as at higher risk”. Human Trafficking is a real thing in America, especially in the state of Washington, there need to be more information put out about it to help reduce this problem.

Works Cited
A different mirror: A History Of Multicultural America Ronald Takaki (2008)
Amusing Ourselves To Death- Neil Postman (1985)
Lindsay Weaver, (2016)GP Marketing and Fundraising Director


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