People in My Neighborhood

October 27, 2004

Not to make this blog too San Francisco-centric (San Francentric?), but I’ve been walking past the hotel workers picketing at the Holiday Inn two blocks from my house in SoMa each night for the past month, feeling pissed that they were still there, night after night, locked out of their jobs. But as Jennifer mentioned yesterday, SF mayor Gavin Newsom threatened to—and actually did—join the picket line today! Maybe mayoral pressure will mean that one day soon I’ll walk past the hotel and not see the strikers, because they will have been able to return to their jobs.

Hearing that neighborhood news was a lot sweeter than reading about the Asian sex slavery that occurred just another few blocks away. A recent raid on a downtown massage parlor found 17 young Asian women hidden in the basement who had been trafficked into the country for forced sex slavery. This topic hit pretty close to home in more ways than one, because I’ve been researching it all week for a documentary that the company I work at is funding, and the statistics are horrifying: of the more than one million women and girls who are sold, transported and forced into sexual slavery each year, 50,000 are in the United States. It makes me wonder about the “Oriental massage parlor” with the blackened windows up the street from my house that I walk past at least twice a day.