Monday, March 16, 2015

Open Borders Day

Happy Open Borders Day, everyone. Okay, maybe not "happy." "Melancholy" might be more apt. Strong anti-immigrant sentiment among GSS respondents has barely budged since the project began in 1972, and if anything, legal routes to migration in the US have become ever more baroque and difficult to navigate. On the bright side though, migration in the EU has never been easier, and residents of many former Soviet republics can now live and work in the West all easy-peasy, surpassing the wildest dreams of their parents. So that's good.

Not so good? Well, let's put it this way. Laura Agustin recently did an hour-long BBC panel on international sex trafficking. When I asked her on Twitter if anyone brought up border restrictions, she replied, "They all denied migration's involved."

Yikes, people.

Ignoring the actors in the audience, the British Broadcasting Corporation had assembled academic and policy heavyweights to this discussion, and if they're either too daft, too ignorant, or too myopic to understand that a lot of times "sex trafficking" is what happens when people are so desperate to flee the circumstances of their birth that they arrange to transact with the few endowments nature has provided them with the faint hope of escaping poverty and misery. Each of the well-intentioned rescuers sharing the stage with Dr. Agustin up there would commit those poor souls for whom prostitution is a preferable state of affairs to unending penury. By their insolent refusal to acknowledge the root causes of sex trafficking, they hand down mass sentences, condemning who knows how many millions to a fate literally worse than debt-compelled prostitution. This is a curious moral position.

At any rate, I count myself among the signatories of the Open Borders Manifesto. Because I don't want my daughter to grow up in a world where girls have to turn to prostitution just to put food on the table.

Not unless they want to, but that's a rant for another day.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?