Lawrence Taylor, the NFL Hall of Fame linebacker and recent Dancing With The Stars contestant, is now a high profile illustration of the buy side of the supply and demand equation that fuels child sex trafficking.
I’m no longer surprised when I read a story like the one accompanying Lawrence Taylor’s arrest. It’s a pretty typical American child sex trafficking story. A 15-year-old girl from the Bronx is reported missing to the police in March, only to be found beaten and bruised, physically and emotionally, imprisoned by fear and force, and serving her master by having sex with men of his choosing. No one appears to be denying the truth of this part of the story. It’s just another child sex slave. Except the press would rather call her a prostitute and her master a pimp. And many would argue that she wasn’t really “enslaved.” She chose to go with the man in the first place. That makes it all easier to swallow.
It’s also not surprising that such a prominent name is implicated. I’ve been writing about this issue for several years now. The sheer volume of children being held captive as sex slaves made the participation of prominent public figures a certainty. So the allegations against Lawrence Taylor only serve to further illustrate just how pervasive the problem of child sex trafficking is in the United States. If the allegations against him are false, it won’t change that fact.
What would surprise me?
I’ll be surprised if this story doesn’t quickly fade from the front pages. He may be innocent. If he is, it should. But if he’s not, I’ll be surprised if it actually serves as a lightning rod for changes in legislation that make it easier for authorities to prosecute those involved in the enslavement of children for sex.
Why? Because vast numbers of the American population view slavery as American history. It’s simply more comfortable to think of these girls as prostitutes and not slaves. And we’ve popularized the use of the word “pimp” to such a degree that it is more likely to be seen in the positive than the negative. There are already YouTube parodies that make light of the incident. We like it that way. It helps us sleep at night.
Will Lawrence Taylor become the poster boy for child sex slavery? I doubt it.