James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association and a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media.

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Archive for March 8th, 2009

Two booming businesses: Iraqi sex trade and pretty dead white woman porn

Posted by James McPherson on March 8, 2009

Though it may be hard to pick them out among the stories of economic devastation here, new kinds of bad news just keep coming from the  Iraq War. Now, also related to the economy, Time reports that the American occupation of Iraq apparently has benefited one kind of trade there: the buying and selling of girls for sex trafficking:

Nobody knows exactly how many Iraqi women and children have been sold into sexual slavery since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, and there are no official numbers because of the shadowy nature of the business. Baghdad-based activists …  and others put the number in the tens of thousands. Still, it remains a hidden crime; one that the 2008 US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report says the Iraqi government is not combating. Baghdad, the report says, “offers no protection services to victims of trafficking, reported no efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and does not acknowledge trafficking to be a problem in the country.”

The story also reminds us that a woman who is raped in that part of the world might well be killed for “dishonoring” their families. Those victims likely will receive no media attention there, let alone here. Yet in the U.S. the case of another pretty dead (or at least probably dead, since she has been missing for more than two years) American white woman has remained among the top stories for CNN for several days.

Meanwhile, some news media today have reported that the body of another woman was found in the trunk of her own car yesterday, several days after her uncle says she had been reported missing to “unhelpful” police. If only someone had thought to send an angelic prom photo of 22-year-old Denise Figueroa to crime porn whore Nancy Grace, Figueroa’s disappearance might have got some more attention, earlier. Though perhaps not, with that last name.

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics, Women | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »