News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2007
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Actions speak louder than political rhetoric

To The Daily: You have sheriffs who barely feed inmates, just so they can pocket all the leftover money. Is it legally wrong? No. Is it morally wrong? Yes. When you mistreat people and make them go hungry just to fill your pockets, it is morally wrong.

I’ll bet, though, that if you asked every sheriff in Alabama if they go to church and consider themselves to be Christians, the answer would be yes. Do Christians mistreat people they have authority over? No.

Alabama legislators voted to give themselves a pay raise. Was it legally wrong? No. Was it morally wrong? Yes. When you are already making more money part time than most people in this state make full time, and you vote to give yourself more, that is morally wrong. Especially when you are doing nothing to help the poor in this state.

I’ll bet if you asked, every one of them would tell you they go to church and are Christians. The people of Alabama need to stop listening to what people say and start watching what people do. Words lie, but actions do not. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

George Irvin
Decatur

Correct terminology key to conveying women’s plight

To The Daily: Kristen Bishop’s article about the trailer park-turned-brothel is an important piece of news. I am glad that reporters are starting to focus on the devastation of human trafficking that surrounds us in each and every state.

However, since human trafficking is a new buzzword, many reporters and professionals are unaware of how to use correct terminology in their reporting. In the article, Ms. Bishop writes: “A brothel that operated for years in a Northeast Alabama trailer park took in as much as $800,000 annually and may have forced some young Latin American women to work as prostitutes in return for being smuggled into the United States.” The terms used in this sentence are incorrect.

Women and children who are forced to work as prostitutes are not smuggled; they are trafficked. This may seem like an insignificant detail but it is actually very important. When women and children are classified as “smuggled,” there is a portion of blame that is assigned to them.

According to the definition of human trafficking, no victim is responsible for the actions they are forced to do in fear of their lives, their families, under threat of deportation or an unseen emotional coercion and/or manipulation.

Once all media outlets and professionals begin to use the correct terminology in regards to human trafficking, society may begin to see the women and children involved not as deviant sexual commodities, but as humans in need of assistance.

Alexis Taylor Litos
Executive director, The Barnaba Institute
Clinton, Conn.

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