Back in February, our CEO wrote about R. Kelly’s human trafficking behavior for the Thomson Reuters Foundation News and challenged the criminal justice system to hold him accountable. 5 months later and he has been arrested for human trafficking. We are invigorated to see multiple powerful men being held accountable for sex trafficking and exploiting women. Behavior for both of them was over the span of decades and the brave survivors speaking out against them deserve justice.
“The new indictment by the Northern District of Illinois contains 13 charges, including sex crimes, child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice, per Chicago Sun-Times. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn also filed a separate indictment against Kelly with five additional charges, the New York Times reported, including one count of racketeering and four counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people over state lines for the purpose of prostitution.” Rolling Stone Magazine, July 12, 2019
Rochelle’s February op-ed: http://news.trust.org/item/20190212095749-xblm2/
We need to enforce the entirety of the anti-trafficking laws across the over 25 types that exist in our communities on a given day, and to do that we need to really understand the trafficking behaviors so we can identify them. Personal sexual servitude is a form of human trafficking, and R. Kelly is a human trafficker preying on vulnerable young black girls. He utilized sex and control as the currency they could repay for his support of their careers. That support quickly stopped once he had defrauded them until they were compliant, often after instituting physical and psychological force.Rochelle Keyhan for Thomson Reuters Foundation, February 12, 2019
The only difference between R. Kelly’s behavior and classic pimp controller trafficking into commercial sex is that R. Kelly kept the women and girls to himself – making this “personal sexual servitude”, and not “pimp-controlled sex trafficking”. Regardless of the type of trafficking, we need to be calling it what it is and holding perpetrators like R. Kelly accountable.