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According to Lloyd (2011), there are several risk factors for commercial sexual exploitation of both adults and children in the United States. They include family problems, poverty, and substance use. For instance, among the family issues is the problem of selling older daughters to brothels. To the surprise of many, such families tend to repeat the cycle with their younger daughters, who are willing to work in brothels because their older sisters tell them the stories of extravagant times in the cities. The girls are inclined to admire the western clothes and money that their sisters possess. Therefore, younger sisters become prostitutes with little knowledge of what they are about to do.
Poverty is another factor that leads to commercial sexual exploitation. For instance, Lloyd (2011) was struggling to survive as a child with no dependable adult to help and support her. Thus, she ended up being a victim of commercial sexual exploitation since she was vulnerable. Poverty also makes parents offer their children for commercial sexual exploitation because there is a new form of consumerism due to globalization. Moreover, the money offered to them is too good to refuse. The economic structure of the country greatly influences the number of children sold into prostitution because of the land harshness and the dependency of families on the harvest. Therefore, if there is few harvest, families see daughters as commodities for sale. There is also a tendency of girls falling prey to the seduction of pimps; thus, the court and police discriminate them. Lloyd (2011) admits that the police do not understand that captivity is not an issue of being physically bound and tied. Furthermore, it can be frustrating to give details of a trauma bonding based on terror.
Substance use is another factor that influences sexual exploitation. In this case, substance refers to alcohol and illegal drugs among others. When people are under the influence of any substance, they easily become preys of sexual abuse. Many adult women admit that it i the cause for entering commercial sex work.
There is the complexity of choices relating to both Lloyd’s elucidation of choices and what young girls make when entering and leaving 'the life'. As for Lloyd (2011), she left school to support herself at the age of thirteen due to racial prejudice and taunting she was receiving from the peer group and administration. She also left home since her father was abusive and her mother drank heavily. She began nude modeling and shoplifting to support herself (Lloyd, 2011). Eventually, she progressed to prostitution and stripping. Afterward, a pimp recruited her to start regular prostitution on the streets. It took Rachel time and resilience to break free from her past and pimps.
According to Paul Farmer, structural violence is described as social arrangements that influence population and individual in a harmful way. The arrangements are considered structural since they are embedded in both economic and political organization of the society. The arrangement is violent since it causes harm or injures people. It is not caused by culture or individual will; rather, it is a conspiracy of historical forces and processes aimed at constraining individual agency. Furthermore, structural violence can lead to death or deformities. For instance, one of Lloyd’s pimps cut her hand (Lloyd, 2011).
Lloyd’s case relates well to the Farmer’s concept of structural violence because of the structural arrangement that led her to be raped and abused at the age of thirteen (Lloyd, 2011). The economic hardship that she was undergoing made her become a prostitute, as well as survive rape, her pimps plotting murder, and several attempts to commit suicide.
Slavery, violence, and exploitation, as manifested through prostitution, have become mainstream in the hip-hop, media, culture’s embrace, and portrayal of being a pimp. Many TV programs uphold a romanticized ideal of pimps, thus wielding iinfluence and power over others. The glorification of pimp’s distorts the reality of what pimps do. For instance, according to Lloyd (2011), her pimps violently beat her before she was eighteen years old. Her body still bears the scars of traumatic encounters with the pimps and boyfriends. In particular, she has a deep scar from the knife wound on her right hand, which required seventeen stitches. Moreover, the glorification of pimps by the media shows up in many ways, such as the portrayal of pimps in music videos and films. Men are encouraged to dress as stereotypical pimps while women dress like prostitutes. Lloyd (2011) admits that a large number of adolescent girls are at risk of commercial sexual exploitation and they eventually fall into the hands of pimps. Furthermore, with the recent media glorification of pimps, they have a chance to manipulate victims psychologically by isolating them from support system or creating an emotional disconnection so that they may comply. This brutal reality is erased when the media glorifies the pimps. Finally, Lloyd (2011) also underlines that the media portray underage trafficked women as hookers.
There are the implications of how pimping is portrayed and how the violence and exploitation are manifested through prostitution. When pimps are praised for demonstrating their sexual prowess and being able to have multiple women, women are ashamed of having multiple partners since they are seen as public property. It leads to damaging double standard about the sexuality of men and women. Women, who have been exploited sexually, are mostly blamed for being victims when they try to seek assistance (Lloyd, 2011). On the other hand, males feel entitled to have sex with multiple females because it is a way of proving themselves as men. Because of these trends, there is an issue of the continued existence of the sex trade. When people who have contributed to sexual trauma are romanticized, survivors of the sexual escape feel that what they experienced is not important. On the contrary, it is important to idolize the artificial image of a pimp’s lifestyle rather than empathize the pain of the survivor.