First, Peter Landesman's story in the Sunday NYT mag about U.S. sex slavery:
Bales estimates that there are 30,000 to 50,000 sex slaves in captivity in the United States at any given time. Laura Lederer, a senior State Department adviser on trafficking, told me, ''We're not finding victims in the United States because we're not looking for them.''
It is a haunting piece and brutal.
But it collides nicely (for relative definitions of "nice") with this discussion on Making Light about the girls of Short Creek, a fundamentalist latter-day saints' (FLDS) town that squats on the Arizona/Utah border:
Teenage girls are assigned to much older and already-married husbands, essentially as chattel, in much the same spirit in which an Anglo-Saxon leader would hand out gold rings to his followers. This monopoly has made multiple wives an index of status and favor for men in the community.
Don’t imagine these households as cheery group or line marriages. Most of these women are leading bleak, impoverished, hopelessly dreary lives.
What's most striking to me, at least, is the similarity of these examples. It goes beyond the mechanics of how you break a young child's will to the vivid exploration of how little is being done about this. I suspect most Americans know more about Bennifer's break-up than what goes on in FLDS strongholds and suburban basements. And I'm not sure why that is, although I'd welcome any insight.
And for more on the FLDS and their pathological wackiness, check out Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven, which is nominally about a brutal murder of a woman who dared question the FLDS lifestyle but is also a great primer on all that is Mormon.