When will the world finally stand-up and say ‘Enough’? This is not the kind of world we want. The issue of ‘Human Trafficking’, ‘Modern Slavery’ and ‘Poverty’ are all issues that demand our attention, need action and are interrelated.
According to Dr. Melissa Farley, a psychologist and researcher with the non-profit Prostitution Research & Education based in San Francisco, “You cannot understand prostitution unless you understand how sex, class and race all come together and hurt a person at the same time. People are chosen in prostitution because of the extreme imbalance of power. The poorest, the most vulnerable women, are basically made available for constant sexual access.”
The #BringBackOurGirls campaign hopefully has raised this global problem to the forefront and finally people are speaking out. The kidnapping of 300 girls in Nigeria is horrific in any society but unfortunately is a far too common occurrence in Nigeria but also is a world-wide problem.
Many of us think because we live in North America or Europe we are immune to the atrocities that we often ignore or think occur only in what we describe as Third World Countries. In Canada the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) just published a report that focused on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women. The numbers are staggering for a country that prides itself on equality and issues relating to human rights. What is lost in the numbers is Aboriginal woman, Aboriginal people are also overrepresented when it comes to poverty. Examining the numbers in further detail one also quickly recognizes that violence and exploitation of woman, particularly those in poverty, in Canada and the world is a serious issue and requires immediate action by everyone. It must be noted the majority of missing and murdered Aboriginal woman according to the RCMP report were not involved in prostitution but were victims of poverty.
It would be premature to focus on research outcomes without first addressing the context of the research. Violence against women is a significant societal issue. According to the World Health Organization, it affects one-third of women around the globe and represents a health problem of “epidemic proportions.”1
On January 30th, 2014 Rachelle Browne wrote an article for the National Post about Inuit babies and children are being sold by their families, sometimes into prostitution, this according to a report funded by the Department of Justice exploring the wider issue of human trafficking in Canada. The article implores us to ‘Start Waking-Up’ in particular when it comes to issues regarding the protection and well-being of children.
For those of you who think this couldn’t happen in your country, think again. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services ““After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world.” The ‘Not for Sale’ campaign indicates that there are over 30 million people enslaved world-wide and is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Issues related to child pornography, prostitution and free or cheap labour as the world seems to be adopting a money no matter what the cost attitude. Countries seem reluctant to deal with criminal activity of this magnitude, even at times seeming to portray the exploitation of woman as their choice rather than seeing them as victims.
In Germany what was hailed by many to be a victory for sex trade workers when ‘Prostitution’ was legalized has according to Spiegel International on-line in an article written in 2013 called Unprotected: How Legalizing Prostitution Has Failed has increased the number of prostitutes as well as human trafficking.
There is evidence that a higher-than-average number of prostitutes were abused or neglected as children. Surveys have shown that many can be considered traumatized. Prostitutes suffer from depression, anxiety disorders and addiction at a much higher rate than the general population. Most prostitutes have been raped, many of them repeatedly. In surveys, most women say that they would get out of prostitution immediately if they could.
Be prepared if you decide to read the article as some of the information is disturbing and is occurring in one of the world’s so-called civilized societies. Germany is now often being referred to as the world’s largest Brothel as bus loads of so-called tourists visit marginalized prostitutes in deplorable and unhealthy situations. In North America some states have already decriminalized prostitution and in Canada similar discussions are being made. If we look at Germany and even the Netherlands we would recognize this increases victimization and crime against women.
Some U.S. states have already decriminalized prostitution for minors. Will they see more minors exploited? If the Dutch experiment is a guide, the answer is “yes.” Lawmakers in the Netherlands got it wrong by legalizing prostitution. Legalizing or decriminalizing it only leads to criminals taking advantage of a much more lenient environment and exploiting it
The situation may not be as bleak as it may at first appear. Countries like Sweden have seen a reduction in prostitution since it decided to view prostitutes as victims. This has resulted in the people buying sex as the criminals. Iceland is considering trying to tackle the problem of on-line pornography. Without a question that is a monumental task as on-line pornography has exploded and become a blight to the Internet. We must not only look at prosecuting those that view and distribute on-line pornography in particular child pornography but we must get at the big business of human trafficking and human slavery. There are many individuals making huge money off of the ‘backs’ of woman.
This requires more than laws and the enforcement of those laws but we need to change our beliefs about what is acceptable. We are all born equal and we must find a way that we remain equal no matter what race, culture or circumstance we find ourselves in. We must change our attitude to buying sex and viewing sex on-line. Money or wealth cannot be the measure of success as no one is successful who is becoming rich as a result of the enslavement of others.
It is time for all of us to find our voices.
A Must Read:
Inuit Women Are Being Trafficked Through Dating Sites, Rachel Browne
Staggering report exposes US sex trafficking, by Trymaine Lee