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photo of katia

Katia, from Moldova, was sold into sexual slavery in Turkey. Her husband decided to go undercover and try to find her.

Join the Discussion: What are your thoughts on the multibilltion dollar global sex trade? What can be done to combat it and help its victims?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm impressed that the producers set up a trust fund for these incredibly brave women and their families. It's also good to see the concern expressed in the forum. What's also needed is support for the NGOs and non-profits that help victims and advocate for legislation to make trafficking more difficult. The Polaris Project is one organization that does both, though I know there are many others worthy of support: http://www.polarisproject.org/#

From what I know, there is still a lot of victim blame and denial about the extent of sexual trafficking. Public education is still needed. I think the producers did a fine job in this regard (while maintaining their humanity) and rather than spend too much time debating journalistic ethics, I hope folks here will recognize that it's OUR job to take those facts and decide what to do with them. The lawmakers and organizations that work to move these issues cannot do it without groundswells of people standing behind them.

L. Bailey
Ft. Collins, CO

Dear FRONTLINE,

Until the cultures of the world become enlightened, and the victimizing of women stops at all levels, from the most subtle (the fact that cultures place too high a demand on women to be young, model-pretty, and sexual in order to be part of life), to the most extreme (that women are paid less so that they end up prostituting themselves), this sort of thing will continue. Even the countries where women are not being kidnapped, are guilty, because the men of those countries are using prostitutes. Prostitution itself needs to be legalized. Anything illegal needs to be shut down and heavily penalized, and that's just not happening. Women from advanced nations need to get involved, write letters, run for office, and make the laws, if men will not.

Sarah M
North, Florida

Dear FRONTLINE,

This was a good look into the slavery of our generation. If you are looking at possible ways to help end this type of slavery I suggest reading the book Half the Sky by Kristof and WuDunn. It is a hard read at times as watching this frontline episode was, but it gives practical ways you can help create the pressure to end sexual slavery.

Rebecca Howe
Sitka, Alaska

Dear FRONTLINE,

Somehow this whole problem begins in the minds of these very screwed up people that "sell" people for sex. While I believe it is mostly men (who are buying the sex) there are plenty of woman involved in the sale of these woman - and that makes me absolutely sick - woman selling younger woman to men for a profit. What is wrong with this country????

What kind of sick person thinks they have the right to sell woman for sex? Where does this thought process start? Are we in the middle ages? This backward thinking somehow is what needs to change before anything else changes. The level of insecurity and fear present in these East European sex trade buyer's makes me wonder if a good way to solve this problem is to bring these sex trader men to the US and sell them off to the sex industry and use them the same way they have used innocent young girls. Perhaps they see and feel what horrific "crimes" they have subjected thousands of victims to. I'm sure that would make some great camera footage.

Danielle S.
VANCOUVER, BC

Dear FRONTLINE,

It is heartbreaking to realize that slavery still exists, and it involves so many people. I recently lived in a lower income Asian neighborhood in San Francisco. I am fairly sure that some kind of sex trade was going on in the massage "institute" across the street. When I called the police, they told me nothing was going on in such a vague way that I felt they were being paid off. Mayor Newsom supposedly had an anti-trafficking task force, but it was impossible to contact them in actual fact. Other family members of mine told me not to push too hard or be too obvious, as they feared retaliation would come back at me. Since I have small children, I ended up just leaving it alone. I had no hard evidence. This is one example of how difficult it is to deal with this problem, because violent offenders and apathetic law enforcement are present from the outset; if not, the crime would not be there. Often the people who are aware, like me, are too vulnerable themselves to be effective.

One thing we must do to help change this is to stand up to the pervasive sexism of our culture. Western men are the main consumers of the sex trade. My head is almost spinning this week from the level of anti-woman hatred that is inherent in the Republican's proposed bills limiting women's access to reproductive health choices. To believe that this hatred and demeaning of women is somehow unrelated to the sale of other women is simply irrational. In both instances, women are being disrespected as full human beings. It is the virgin-whore dichotomy being played out in the legal/political theater.

I also want to say that the concluding sentence of the report I read made the silly assumption that because an escaping woman could not marry and have kids easily, her life would be over. Women are capable of a much wider life experience than that, and part of helping these women must be about all involved realizing that the inability to 'find myself a husband and raise a family' does not end one's life!

San Francisco, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear Frontline,

First, we call our self civilized but cruelty of this magnitude still exists in the 21st century. I believe this program should be aired to the United Nations. World Leaders should see this and be held accountable to make the necessary changes within their country. I personally worked in several former Soviet States over a six year period and saw many times how nervous local woman are about exactly this situation. I also experienced just how corrupt foreign police can be. At every level there is extortion. But to correct this situation will require economic change and people electing officials that are not so corrupt that want to do good things for their people. People have to say enough is enough!!

Tom Shelor
Antioch, Virgina

Dear FRONTLINE,

This is for Deborah Finding. I read that you are the team leader over Poppy Project. I know I am in a different country. My understanding is slaving girls or largely extreme compared to other places. But no matter large or small group, this must stop. This had been placed on my heart for a few years now. We can not leave these girls out there hopeless in their hell. With no one coming for them. For me and my heart it is time to act. I am a part time nurse and house wife. So I have time and this is what I feel lead to do. I live between Atlanta and Birmingham. Could A Poppy Project be of use here? I all so can help give save quite place to stay through their troubling time. I want to help. I need to know I am trying to help this young girl. Please let me participate in this life changing help for this girls. Teresa Stott Dalton

Teresa Dalton
gadsden, alabama

Dear FRONTLINE,

What a heart breaking story! I can't believe that people can treat others so inhumanely! Don't other countries have laws against such things as human buying and selling? Of course in one section of the story it was mentioned that even the police use these girls so why enforce any laws against such disgusting things as this! Any way these girls can be saved from this trafficing is good. We must pray for their mental and physical healing. May God have mercy on these precious souls!

Martha Patchin
Phoenix, Arizona

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you Frontline. For those disuccsing this issueI have 2 suggestions:

A. SUPPORT GOOD ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THIS. I SUPPORT (Shared Hope) SHAREDHOPE.ORG -founded by Linda Smith, former Congresswoamn.

B. CRIMINALIZE THE BUYER OF SEX NOT THE PROTSTITUTE! Write your representative.

I'm sure there are prostitutes that are choosing to be prostitutes - maybe 10%? worldwide, if that. But we know there are no buyers that are forced at gunpoint to go have sex with someone! If the demand is quenched, the prostitution trade will wane.

SHERI ABBOTT
Birmingham, Alabama

Dear FRONTLINE,

It is really really really sad and very hurtful that there is not much that being done, at least not in public, to take care of this beyond criminal act issue. Families covered in documentary are just like ours in terms of mutual love and human values. Not fault of there own they ended up in bad economic conditions. They are rightfully trying to improve their lives. Lowest of the low humans beings exploit these innocent beings.

I know there are brave and courageous people than me that are trying to make things right in their powers to help human side. I really admire people involved in this effort.

I have mixed feeling here, I am really sad and hurt because of all unrepairable psychological damage and lives destroyed related to this trade but at the same time I want to find avenues where I can make difference at my level. I don't have much knowledge where to look for such info. I will read this board and see if I can find some resources.

It is really amazing for me to notice people pray and follow religion to be "purist" and ignoring sufferings like this one documented in this documentary without giving a sec of their lives to notice something like this. I believe being humans we need to take notice such sufferings and work constructively to pull each other out of these situations. Rest is secondary. I believe. HIS Mercy and Kindness will follow later.

Little Rock, AR

Dear FRONTLINE,

This was an excellent documentary on an heart wrenching subject.

My thoughts on any illegalized product or service is that you move it to the blackmarket. Case in point is prohibition. We made alcohol illegal and it immediately moved to the blackmarket because it was wanted by some. We still fight this with the "war on drugs". Germany legalized prostitution because of the growing problem of trafficked women coming from eastern europe. Holland has done the same with prostitution and drugs.

When kept in the open and controlled, a product or service can become just a normal part of life, as in how alcohol is now legal and controlled here. Until we get it in ours heads that there will always be prostitution, drug and alcohol use. Then finally we can take the power, money and corruption away from the blackmarket.

It is sad to think that people are trafficked in the U.S., but I am sure that it happens more then people believe. We have the ability to bring these problems to an end, if we first realize that we have a problem and what we have been doing is not working.

Madison, WI

Dear FRONTLINE,

I would like to point out that though some condemn Frontline, i think the important thing is that they BROUGHT AWARENESS TO ALL OF US. look at how many people have commented on this page! that's just more people who can potentially make it better for these girls and help stop the sex trade industry. Mind you i'm not angry at anyone, in fact, i'm SO HAPPY everyone is so concerned with the fate of these poor women and their families. I just wanted to point out how important awareness is. Unfortunately, the only way to stop this problem is to stop the DEMAND for it! without customers, there wouldn't be victims. many people don't realize that the women are forced or tricked into this. they assume the women are willing participates and that their money is given to the women.

Brookings, SD

Dear FRONTLINE,

Over the past 50 years, I've personally heard a lot of famous conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians, and philosophers (Ayn Rand comes to mind) say publicly that prostitution is a victimless crime. What were they thinking?

Port Matilda, PA

Dear FRONTLINE,

So evil. Tania is a victim of poverty and Chernobyl, then became a victim of sex traffickers. It is a wonder she was able to get back to her family. Her brother died because of the effects radiation exposure. Money does not always save people even in the best of situations. Money gives a better chance to survive, but nature has the upper hand and there are no guarantees.Thank you for exposing this horrific evil. We that are in better circumstances just don't realize how awful it can be. And the more we talk about it the better. Today, right in our backyards, girls are being victimized daily. Trapped, beaten, drugged, all for the cash from prostitution. It's all very difficult and frightening.

Jasper, GA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I regret that I didn't get to see the whole program and I'm still trying to digest it. It's sticking in my throat. Every time I think I've seen the bottom of the barrel humanity wise, there's a new high or maybe that's a low. Lot of valid arguments going on. And I myself, am not going to sit in judgement of them. Someone else's job. I do think that everyone agrees that it's horrific, mind boggling, and completely impossible to wrap your mind around, especially if you're the one who had to live through it. It's also severely shakes your own security. You don't feel so safe anymore.And pointing a finger doesn't get the job done. Kat

Rocky Mount, NC

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posted feb. 7, 2006

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