New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was criminally charged for soliciting prostitution in connection with a month-long Florida investigation on Monday Feb. 25. Although much of the coverage of Kraft’s crime has focused on the sensational side of his celebrity, we must focus on the larger issue: human trafficking.
Kraft, like the others charged in the investigation, deliberately sought out oppressed and victimized women, instead of paying a consenting sex worker. This kind of behavior is what allows sex trafficking to continue.
The “spa” where these women were held did not put much effort into disguising itself as anything other than the sex warehouse it was. A ripped-up ledger, credit cards receipts and semen were found at the scene, according to CNN.
“The women didn’t have access to transportation and were moved from location to location, with some averaging as many as eight clients a day,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said, according to CNN. “They worked late into the night with no days off.”
These women were abused and essentially enslaved. Powerful men like Kraft allowed this to happen. Up to 200 other men were allegedly involved in the Florida case alongside Kraft, according to CNN. Snyder characterized Kraft’s arrest as just “the tip of the tip of the iceberg,” CNN reported.
In order to bring the horrors of human trafficking to an end, people need to specifically talk about it. This means people must look past issues like the legality of prostitution or Kraft’s celebrity to expose the larger institution at work.
Since Kraft is a public figure, this is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness about sex trafficking. As other names of the involved are released, we cannot get wrapped up in their stories and instead must concentrate on the victims.