So Silvio’s involved, eh?
Mr Berlusconi, 75, is accused of having sexual relations with belly dancer Karima El Mahroug at one of the evenings he hosted at his lavish villa and at the time she was just 17 years old.
Miss El Mahroug was one of 33 women who attended the parties and at which it is claimed – among other things – that they dressed as nuns and police officers to perform seductive pole dances and stripteases.
It has now emerged Mr Berlusconi was named in this year’s State Department’s Trafficking in Persons 2011 report which details the parties and describes how one of the guests was a minor.
“In February 2011, judges set a trial date for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for the alleged commercial sexual exploitation of a Moroccan child, media reports include indicate evidence of third party involvement in the case, indicating the girl was a victim of trafficking,” the report said.
Now, there may have been all sorts of things going on here. While we might not regard a 17 year old as a child, in terms of the (legal) sex trade in Italy she is and thus this is “child prostitution” (if true, of course).
Karima El Mahroug reportedly arrived in Italy with her family from Morocco in 2003, settling in the eastern Sicilian coastal town of Letojanni.
So, immigration, with family. She then goes on to become, umm, a dancer.
Now this just isn’t what we all think of as “trafficking” is it? We all have a mental image of some girl/boy/child kidnapped, spirited across a border and then forced into sexual slavery. To call Ms. Mahroug “trafficked” is an insult to those (very few) who really do suffer from being forced into sexual slavery.
But the term does get used in this expanded manner. By those who seem to want to show that trafficking is a much larger problem than it really is. By those who would ban consensual for money sex for example.
As with the modern equation of relative poverty with absolute poverty, we need to fight against this conflation, this demeaning of the language.