Sex Trafficking and Prostitution are NOT the same thing.
Prostitution is a business between adults and in our society adults are responsible for themselves. Sex slavery is just that, slavery and it’s non-consensual.
“To equate the two is to say grown women aren’t capable of being responsible and making decisions for themselves. That is pretty insulting to women don’t you think?”
Adult women are not children.
There needs to be a distinct separation of
1. Forced Child sex trafficking
2. Adult consensual
They are not the same.
Woman in the sex industry, have made a clear decision to work in that field. They are not “passive victims” in need of “saving” or sending back by western campaigners. So called “victims” of Sex Trafficking never identify themselves as victims. Because they are not victims to begin with.
Sex Trafficking Sex Slavery is used by many groups as a attempt to outlaw all adult consensual prostitution around the world by saying that all women that have sex are victims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims. This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists, politicians, and religious organizations that receive funds from the government. There are very strong groups who promote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing, enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the public to believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sex business unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They say that 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims. They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders and wipe out all consensual prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. There is almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs. Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groups want to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adult woman. No one stands up to say this is foolish, the passive public says nothing. These groups even say that all men who marry foreign women are terrible sex predators who take advantage of these “helpless foreign women wives”.
These groups believe that two adults having consensual sex in private should be outlawed. Since they believe that it is impossible for a man to have sex with a woman without abusing the woman in the process.
Adult Women are NOT children.
A key point is that on the sidelines the prostitutes themselves are not being listened to. They oppose laws against prostitution. But no one wants to listen to the prostitutes themselves. Only to the self appointed experts that make up numbers and stories many of which have never met a real forced sex slave. The media and government never ask the prostitutes themselves what would help them in terms of laws.
Media coverage of trafficking and adult women’s migration and sex work is confused and inaccurate. The media wrongly uses the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘trafficking’ and adult sex work and child sex trafficking synonymously, as if they were the same. perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatization, and contributing to the violation of women’s right to free movement and livelihood options. They assume that if any woman moves from place to place for sex work that they are being trafficking. The media, politicians, aid groups, feminist, and religious organizations does not take into account that she may do this of her own free will. Too often women are treated like children. Prostitution is a business between adults and in our society adults are responsible for themselves. Sex slavery/trafficking on the other hand is non-consensual. To equate that the two are the same is to say grown adult women are not capable of being responsible or thinking for themselves.
Many anti-prostitution groups use false exaggerated made up stories of underage girls being forced. While we all agree that minors should not be having sex, the truth about the statistics and if the minor was forced or not should be known.
If a prostitute is 17 and under the age of 18, she can not give legal consent to sex. So, she could have wanted to be a prostitute, and given consent for sex, but since she is underage, she can not give legal consent, so legally she was “forced” even if she gives total consent to sex and it was consensual – she was “forced” according to the court and justice system. There is a BIG difference between being legally “forced” and truly being physically forced against someone’s will. So, the media will always report that she was “forced” for no other reason then being under the age of 18.
This gives the impression that all prostitutes under the age of 18 are “forced” when they have not been. They never identify themselves as victims, because they were never forced If fact, if two people who are both 17 years old have sex, they both are legally considered to be victims and sex predators at the same time. It is strange how the justice system works.
The Denver, Colorado Police are forcing prostitutes to lie about being forced.
The Denver Colorado Police (and other Police departments around the country) receive grants from the Federal government for fighting Sex Trafficking. When they don’t find any forced against their will prostitute victims – They make them up, so that they won’t lose funding.
Denver Colorado vice Lieutenant Aaron Sanchez: “Prostitutes are not friendly. It’s not like you’re talking to a child-abuse victim or a fifteen-year-old sex assault victim who wants to cry out and wants to explain what happened or is just scared. These girls just flat out say, ‘Nope, that’s not what’s happening.’
“We have to help them realize they are victims,” Denver vice Lieutenant Aaron Sanchez says.
So… the police are trying to invent victims? Where no victim exist?
The prostitutes say that no one is forcing them and the police don’t believe them?
So the police want the prostitutes to lie? and the police are forcing the prostitutes to lie about being forced?
This Denver Post article link below says: “Defense attorney Maureen O’Brien said that in cases where a prostitute is willingly engaging in the business, she has an incentive to allege force or coercion against a pimp to avoid charges herself. O’Brien thinks calling pimping “human trafficking” could change judges’ perception and has the potential to boost prison sentences.” http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19225280
This doesn’t make sense, Police and lawyers trying to get prostitutes to lie about being forced. Lying is bad, telling the truth is good. – I also thought lying was against the law.
Where Are All The Sex Slaves?- By Angry Harry:Where Are All The Sex Slaves? The Metropolitan Police launched dawn raids on various ‘slavery dens’ in Slough last Friday; some of the police reportedly wore balaclavas and riot gear and were closely followed by film crews invited along to witness the moment the ‘child slaves’ were liberated. Brendan O’NeillThere was only one problem with this story: it was as fictional as the original Dickensian tale of artful dodgers. … In recent years, a motley crew of government and police forces in America and Europe, feminist activists, fundamentalist Christian outfits and celebrity campaigners has turned human trafficking into one of the biggest issues of our time. They claim there is a new ‘slave trade’, that tens of thousands of people – especially women and children – are being sold across borders and into bondage every year.
But, as is usually found to be the case, these are just the typical lies that regularly emanate from those who seek to grow their ‘abuse’ empires.
… In late 2005, police in Birmingham carried out a media splash of a raid against a brothel and claimed to have ‘rescued’ 19 women who had been trafficked to the UK and enslaved as prostitutes (8). A few days later, 13 of the women were released when it turned out that they were ‘voluntarily working in the sex industry’; the remaining six, who also denied having been trafficked, were imprisoned at Yarlswood detention centre in Bedfordshire and threatened with deportation back to their countries of origin.
These women were threatened with deportation because they refused to claim that they had been sex-trafficked.
Indeed, such women can avoid being deported or going to jail if they do claim to have been sex-trafficked.
In other words, women in these circumstances are told by the police that they can gain a great deal if they would only lie about their situations and pretend to be the victims of sex-traffickers.
Indeed, they will soon also be offered money to lie about their situations. …
… Trafficked Sex Slaves To Receive Millions In Compensation Sex slaves smuggled illegally into Britain are to share millions of pounds in compensation for their ‘pain and trauma’, it has emerged.
… and so, of course, the number of women who claim to have been sex-trafficked will grow and grow and grow!
This is just one example of how those in the abuse industry work.
They actually reward people very handsomely if they will claim to have been abused.
Even sex-trafficked brothel workers reject raids and rescues
Teen prostitutes don’t want to be saved so they must be brainwashed, right?
Alison Bowen, Metro, 19 October 2011
New York City police say they are trying to rescue teens forced into prostitution, only to find that the girls often don’t want their help. A state law enacted last year considers prostitutes under the age of 18 victims, not criminals, and police are encouraged not to charge them with a crime.
But according to Inspector James Capaldo, head of the NYPD’s new anti-sex trafficking division, their efforts to help girls forced into prostitution are often spurned, he told the City Council at a hearing on sex trafficking yesterday.
So far so good, we know this happens all the time. But where do they go with this? To the cheap psychology department.
The teens are often terrified of being punished by their pimp, or they’re brainwashed into thinking he is a boyfriend, said Capaldo. They also often lie and say they are 19. “Sometimes they refuse to talk,” he said. “If it takes a man six weeks to put this woman in a situation, how do we undo that in 46 hours?”
Lots of people refuse to talk to the police all the time, but here we see how Rescuers use that fact to explain their failures. Brainwashing was the explanation heard at the BBC debate in Luxor , and terror-by-pimp is the idea proposed by social workers on an NPR show on child sex trafficking in Nevada . Not to say it never happens but you need to be suspicious when Rescuers need to justify their own jobs. See, this is a new unit on sex trafficking. They even imply that slowness is not their faults because they are undoing brainwashing. And in an age of cuts and Occupy Wall Street – shameful.
The teen prostitutes often advertise their illegal services on Backpage.com, according to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Earlier this year, in Brooklyn, a tip led police to “Jennifer,” 18, who refused to testifyagainst her pimp. Instead, prosecutors found him through a prostitution website. He was charged with sex trafficking.
Is the assumption that a female under 18 is not capable of placing an online ad? Pure infantilisation of women, inexcusable. Check out recent comments from a lot of men assuming that women would be incapable of flying budget airlinesto Amsterdam to sell sex and go home again. Excuse me?
Anyway ‘Jennifer’ was 18, so what is this detail doing here? Did Backpage.com force her to place the ad? Gah!
–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist
Article printed from The Naked Anthropologist: http://www.lauraagustin.com
URLs in this post:
By laura agustin On 21 August 2011 @ 10:15 In migration,sex work,trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Prostituton, Sex Slavery.
For campaigners like Ashton Kutcher , sex slavery is an easy-to-recognise phenomenon with a single obvious cure, rescue: first by police and then by social workers. And despite rescuers’ avowed respect for personal stories, they never listen to voices that criticise this cure. The poster below was made by migrant sex workers (they call themselves that) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at the EMPOWER  centre. I have posted it before but so many people are still unaware of the problems associated with Rescue that I like to re-run it. See for yourself the reasons workers at Barn Su Funn Brothel gave for denouncing raids and rescue operations intended to liberate them, whether rescuers are police officers, ngo employees or even celebrities and then think twice about how you will Fix Their Lives so easily.
These sex workers complain that when the Police and anti-prostitution groups “rescue” them, they do more harm then good. Rescued sex workers complain that being “rescued” creates the problems below:
• We lose our savings and our belongings.
• We are locked up.
• We are interrogated by many people.
• They force us to be witnesses.
• We are held until the court case.
• We are held till deportation.
• We are forced re-training.
• We are not given compensation by anybody.
• Our family must borrow money to survive while we wait.
• Our family is in a panic.
• We are anxious for our family.
• Strangers visit our village telling people about us.
• The village and the soldiers cause our family problems.
• Our family has to pay ‘fines’ or bribes to the soldiers.
• We are sent home.
• Military abuses and no work continues at home.
• My family has a debt.
• We must find a way back to Thailand to start again.
The poster brings us close to a situation many people doubt: that poorer migrants selling sex often prefer to continue what they’re doing to being forcibly rescued by people on anti-trafficking crusades. This is not to cast doubt on many helpers’ good intentions or the genuine rescue of some individuals. But it shows how rescue agents haven’t consulted the prostitutes they want to save first, to find out whether they want to be helped and, if they do, what kind of help would actually be helpful. The poster makes it clear that cutting migrant women off from their source of income has drastic consequences for themselves and their families.
This does not mean that they or I deny the existence of abusive practices inflicted during smuggling and trafficking operations. It means that an ideological stance that claims all migrants doing sex work have been victims of such practices is wrong. Check the rescue tag to read more , including stories of sex workers resisting arrest and fleeing from rescuers.
During my years of researching this subject, I have met migrants of myriad nationalities, in many countries, in bars, brothels, shelters, ngo offices, streets, clubs and houses. Some had had bad experiences, some had not recovered from them yet, some were getting on with the next stage of their lives, some enjoyed doing sex work, many had adapted to it as the best option of the moment. For those who want to read more about it, my book Sex at the Margins has lots of details.
Article printed from The Naked Anthropologist: http://www.lauraagustin.com
Women resist rescue by anti-trafficking police, who admit it:
By laura agustin On 12 July 2011
Headlines read Hookers rescued against their will and Rescued cybersex girls bolt DSWD office. The stories are from the Philippines, but they are not the first of their kind to reach mainstream news outlets. And they are not amazing exceptions to the rule, as everyone who works in helping projects knows.
The argument against raiding sex venues is not that all the workers are happy because sex work and free markets are just grand. The argument is that US policy, which threatens countries with losing aid if they don’t do enough to stop trafficking, promotes ham-fisted policing – cowboy raids that rush to pick up women selling sex and arrest their exploiters. Threatened countries use well-publicised raids to say to the US, See? We are doing what you want. We are stopping human trafficking and rescuing victims, so don’t cut off our aid. Which works, if you look at how the Philippines’ ranking improved in this year’s lame TIP Report .
So why aren’t more campaigners against prostitution and slavery concerned when women resist rescue? Is it so hard to understand that resistance doesn’t mean they love their jobs or are not being exploited by anyone or were not treated badly by their parents? All we really know it means is that they don’t want to be rescued like this. Over and over, researchers have documented how such women simply prefer their present situations in these brothels to other options – forceable internment in rescue homes being at the top of the list. Similar stories have come from other countries: Chinese women in the Congo , Bangladeshis in India .
Details of the cybersex-girls’ escape include:
Fifteen girls, rescued by police and National Bureau of Agency men from a cybersex den operated by two Swedish nationals have escaped from the Department of Social Welfare Development office in Cagayan de Oro City. . . after mauling the duty security guard. The girls then flagged down a passenger jeepney and forced its driver to bring them away from the DSWD office. . . –ABS.CBNnews.com , the Philippines, 5 July 2011
Details from hookers rescued against their will include:
A hundred female sex workers . . . and five foreigners were arrested in raids on three night clubs in Angeles City Tuesday night. . . “The women don’t really consider it a rescue,” said CIDG Women and Children’s Protection Desk head . . . “They kept cursing us, and tried their best to escape.” . . . Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr., said the successive raids in Angeles City’s red light district bolstered the US government’s recognition of the Philippines’ commitment to combating human trafficking. The Philippines has been taken off a watch list of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report and elevated to Tier 2, a category of countries that do not fully comply with anti-trafficking standards but are making efforts to do so. Philippine Daily Inquirer, 29 June 2011 
That should be a clear enough cause-and-effect relationship for anyone to understand!
–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist
Article printed from The Naked Anthropologist: http://www.lauraagustin.com
Sex Workers do not want to be rescued: http://www.lauraagustin.com/tag/rescue
What do sex offenders and clients of sex workers have in common? To understand why my answer is a great deal, you need to look at how outsider sexuality are constructed so that some sex is deemed to be Good, everything else to be Bad and transgressors become monsters.
I read Roger Lancaster’s 1994 book Life is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua ten years ago when I was looking for ethnographic accounts of non-mainstream sexualities and gender identities. Lancaster has a new book, Sex Panic and the Punitive State, which I have not read, but I was struck by his ideas in the following essay about sex offenders. Men who buy sex occupy an increasingly similar social position nowadays: considered either monsters or perverts. This year’s TIP report and the End Demand campaign insist that these men’s desires and bodies are simply wrong. Clients are not yet placed on Sex Offender Registers, but schemes to name and shame them in the media approach that idea and I will not be surprised if calling them sex offenders is proposed.
Note in an example from the other day’s Vancouver Sun: Make human traffickers’ names public: law professor. Perrin opposes Judge Susan Himel’s decision last year to remove from Ontario Law significant barriers to safe sex work (he was on Melissa Farley’s side). Perrin is a law academic who loves the police.
And don’t imagine that men called sex offenders are really bad in a way that men who buy sex are not: it’s the process of demonisation you want to keep your eye on, and how society handles those demonised.
The essay is long, so I have cut it. About halfway through I highlight with boldtechniques being used and suggestions being made for further stigmatisation of a wide range of people.
Sex Offenders: The Last Pariahs
Roger N. Lancaster, New York Times, 21 August 2011
. . . most criminal justice advocates have been reluctant to talk about sex offender laws, much less reform them. The reluctance has deep roots. Sex crimes are seen as uniquely horrific. During the Colonial, antebellum and Jim Crow eras, white Americans were preoccupied with tales of sexual dangers to white women and children McCarthy-era paranoia, stories of Satanic ritual abuse and other sex panics stirred pervasive anxieties about lurking strangers. Sexual predators play a lead role in the production of a modern culture of fear.
. . . The most intense dread, fueled by shows like “America’s Most Wanted” and “To Catch a Predator,” is directed at the lurking stranger, the anonymous repeat offender. But most perpetrators of sexual abuse are family members, close relatives, or friends or acquaintances of the victim’s family. . .
. . .Advocates for laws to register, publicize and monitor sex offenders after their release from custody typically assert that those convicted of sex crimes pose a high risk of sex crime recidivism. But studies by the Justice Department and other organizations show that recidivism rates are significantly lower for convicted sex offenders than for burglars, robbers, thieves, drug offenders and other convicts. Only a tiny proportion of sex crimes are committed by repeat offenders, which suggests that current laws are misdirected and ineffective. . .
Contrary to the common belief that burgeoning registries provide lists of child molesters, the victim need not have been a child and the perpetrator need not have been an adult. Child abusers may be minors themselves. Statutory rapists – a loose category that includessome offenses involving neither coercion nor violence – are covered in some states. Some states require exhibitionists and “peeping Toms” to register; Louisiana compelled some prostitutesto do so. Two-thirds of the North Carolina registrants sampled in a 2007 study by Human Rights Watch had been convicted of the nonviolent crime of “indecent liberties with a minor,” which does not necessarily involve physical contact.
. . . Newer laws go even further. At last count, 44 states have passed or are considering laws that would require some sex offenders to be monitored for life with electronic bracelets and global positioning devices. A 2006 federal law, the Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy who was abducted and killed, allows prosecutors toapply tougher registration rules retroactively. New civil commitment procedures allow for the indefinite detention of sex offenders after the completion of their sentences. Such procedures suggest a catch-22: the accused is deemed mentally fit for trial and sentencing, but mentally unfit for release. Laws in more than 20 states and hundreds of municipalities restrict where a sex offender can live, work or walk. California’s Proposition 83 prohibits all registered sex offenders (felony and misdemeanor alike) from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, effectively evicting them from the state’s cities and scattering them to isolated rural areas.
Digital scarlet letters, electronic tethering and practices of banishment have relegated a growing number of people to the logic of “social death,” a term introduced by the sociologist Orlando Patterson, in the context of slavery, to describe permanent dishonor and exclusion from the wider moral community. The creation of apariah class of unemployable, uprooted criminal outcasts has drawn attention from human rights activists . . . Several states currently publish online listings of methamphetamine offenders, and other states are considering public registries for assorted crimes. Mimicking Megan’s Law, Florida maintains a website that gives the personal details (including photo, name, age, address, offenses and periods of incarceration) of all prisoners released from custody. Some other states post similar public listings of paroled or recently released ex-convicts. It goes without saying that such procedures cut against rehabilitation and reintegration.
Our sex offender laws are expansive, costly and ineffective – guided by panic, not reason. It is time to change the conversation: to promote child welfare based on sound data rather than statistically anomalous horror stories, and in some cases to revisit outdated laws that do little to protect children. Little will have been gained if we trade a bloated prison system for sprawling forms of electronic surveillance that offload the costs of imprisonment onto offenders, their families and their communities.
This is the context in which End Demand campaigns are occurring. Writing on the wall.
On the panic point, I will be talking on a panel about sex scandals at the AAA in Montreal next month. Offenders, clients, scandals, panics: all related in ways I am trying to figure out.
–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist http://networkedblogs.com/oWQCA
Great Link on Prostitutes forced by Police to lie and say they are victims, when it is the police who are victimizing them:
Guest columnist, veteran prostitution rights activist Norma Jean Almodovar, author of Cop To Call Girl, founder and president of the International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education and executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of COYOTE . Now without further ado, I turn this space over to Norma Jean.
Just as they did a year ago with Craigslist, a bunch of politically grandstanding States Attorneys General- cheered on by an overbearing, vociferous gaggle of anti- prostitution zealots and their sycophants from the far left and the far right- got together andwrote a letter to the ownersof Backpage.com, demanding that the adult ads on their classified website be shut down “to stop sex trafficking.” Despite the fact that they don’t have a constitutional leg to stand on, these blowhards decided they must force the closure of the adult ads section in this and any other online adult ad classified advertising site.
Although there are numerous other sites which cater solely to the adult crowd seeking other adults for adult activity, such as RentBoy- where virulently anti- gay Christian Psychologist Reverend George Rekers found his young stud travel companion on a trip to Italy- and countless other similar sites, it does not appear that these Attorneys General have much interest in pursuing those sites because many are for gay commercial sex and it is not politically correct to prosecute gays for the same ‘crimes’ they prosecute heterosexual adults. Governments and religious institutions throughout history have attempted to eradicate what many call a scourge (but many others like me feel it is the best job we ever had), but none have been successful even when the punishment faced by those who violate the law is death. So what motivates these particular politicians to attempt to “eliminate” all prostitution at whatever cost?
There are a number of studies which support the premise that the more vocal one is in denouncing another’s ‘immoral’ activities and demanding that they cease, the more likely it is that such a loudmouth is engaged in the very activity that he/she condemns. It is a cliché that sanctimonious politicians pontificate on the importance of family values while having extra-marital affairs, buying the services of a prostitute (underage and adult) or sending text messages to persons who are not their spouses; the vehemently anti-gay politicians and preachers who secretly engage in homosexual relationships. When it is a female politician, look for her husband to be a client of prostitutes, like U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D. Michigan).
Considering the enormous pressure being exerted on Backpage -and Craigslist a year ago- if one were cynical, one might think that those who are the most vocal in their demands to shut down adult ads because of the possibility that those ads are for prostitution- are being blackmailed or extorted by those abolitionists. Consider that Eliot Spitzer, who, as New York’s State Attorney General, passionately denounced the evils of prostitution as he vigorously enforced laws against prostitution by day and paid for his ‘sex slaves’ by night… in some cases going out of state and violating the Mann Act, a federal crime called ‘sex trafficking’. Spitzer rose to governorship on the back of political reform and cleaning up corruption. According to many sources, his was a ‘scorched earth’ policy when it came to prosecuting white collar crimes. One target of his wrath were ‘prostitution rings’ against which he had publicly vented with “revulsion and anger announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a select prostitution ring” in 2004. He dispatched his brand of justice in short order and sent them to prison. In hindsight one could speculate that his show of revulsion and anger came not from a sense of moral repugnance at the thought of paid sex professionals but that the ‘select prostitution ring’ he targeted had perhaps been too selective and refused his business in the past? Or did he feel a sense of pride at being able to prosecute the competition of those who did provide him with their sexual services?
Or perhaps the abolitionists knew of Spitzer’s indiscretions and used that information to extort him to be aggressive in prosecuting others who engaged in buying or selling sex? There is no doubt in my mind that if he had not been caught with his pants down, he would be joining the other politicians in their strident crusade to shut down adult ads. So it is not unreasonable to suggest that perhaps some or many of the signers of this letter are in a similar position. History – both distant and recent- suggests that this may be the case…
In July 2011, a high ranking Albuquerque Criminal Judge, Pat Murdoch, was arrested for raping a prostitute. It was not the first time he had hired a sex worker, because the prostitute he hired admitted to previous engagements with the judge. And surely the police were aware of his activities with prostitutes, which may explain why, in 2009, he was so lenient toward an Albuquerque Police Officer -David Maes– who was also charged with raping a prostitute. Thoughtfully, after Maes plead ‘no contest’ to the charges, District Court Judge Pat Murdoch said “sending him to prison would be a harsh sentence for an ex-cop” and gave him 5 years probation. After Judge Murdoch was charged with raping a prostitute, he resigned, and most likely none of his colleague judges will impose a prison sentence on him, knowing that when and if they ever get caught doing the same thing, they will want leniency from the judges who oversee their cases.
Judges like Federal Judge Jack Camp… or Judge Michael Hecht... or Edward Nottingham, the chief federal judge in Denver, Colorado. Despite the fact that an ordinary citizen charged with violating the same laws that Reagan appointee Judge Jack Camp did would have been sentenced to multiple years- perhaps decades- in prison, Judge Camp was allowed to retire at full pension, sentenced to 30 days in prison and 400 hours of community service. He served 15 days.
Back to the States Attorneys General- are they pursuing this because they are being extorted by the prohibitionists or because they really believe that shutting down adult ads is going to somehow stop human trafficking? Surely they are not that naïve, are they? Having been lawyers before they became prosecutors, they know exactly how things work and that prostitution was around long before the internet and will be around long after the internet shuts the sex workers out (or moves them to other websites).
They feign concern for the sexual exploitation of underage persons through the use of adult ads, commenting that “More than 50 cases of trafficking or attempted trafficking of minors on Backpage.com have been filed in 22 states in the past three years…” But none of them mention that in 2011 alone, more than 100 cases of pedophile and child porn possessing police/ district attorneys/ judges were brought to court... NONE of those cases involved Backpage or Craigslist or any other classified website offering adult ads – just a bunch of perverted cops, judges, FBI agents etc. who had access to these young people because they are persons in authority whom no one suspects of diddling their children. These numbers do not include the teachers, preachers, priests, boy scout leaders, Hollywood producers and other persons who are trusted by the community and who do not find their victims on Backpage. The US Government reports that 90% of the cases of child sexual exploitation are at the hands of someone the child knows, like the above cops, teachers, etc. and 68% of the cases of child sexual abuse are at the hands of a family member. So if, as the prohibitionists and their misinformed spokespeople suggest, there are between ‘100,000 to 300,000’ children trafficked into the sex trade every year, and if that represents only ten percent of the victims of child sexual exploitation from strangers, then the number of those sexually exploited by an acquaintance or family member must be in the millions per year. As I mentioned earlier, however, the US Government’s own report says that these hundreds of thousands of human trafficking (which includes adults and those trafficked into many other areas of labor) can’t be found, with all the millions of dollars that they spend and all the government funded agencies looking for them.
Tragically, as many cases as there are of the victims mentioned above, there is an even greater number of underage persons who are subjected to rape and sexual exploitation by persons in authority, and the government is quite aware of it and yet does little to prevent it. In fact, those juveniles are deliberately put in harms’ way at the insistence of the rabid prohibitions who claim they are ‘saving their lives.’ No doubt when the media reports that the FBI or other government agencies have ‘rescued’ dozens of ‘victims of child sexual trafficking’ during a sting operation (and arrest hundreds of adult prostitutes in the process), the general public envisions a militaristic style raid much like our armed forces conduct when they storm into an occupied country and free the enslaved citizens, who then jubilantly rally around our heroic soldiers with cries of gratitude. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth for the underage victims of sex trafficking. What the media and the government do not tell you is that ‘rescued’ means ‘arrested.’
When the cops and the feds – and for that matter, government agents anywhere in the world- conduct a ‘rescue’ raid, all persons of any age who are suspected of being prostitutes or of being ‘victims of sex trafficking’ are rounded up and herded into custody. Handcuffed. Chained to each other. Put into jail cells. Strip-searched. Treated like vicious criminals. And that is as it should be, according to some wonderfulChristian ladies of the Georgia Eagle Forum, or as I like to call their national group- the “Spread Eagle Forum.” Women like Sue Ella Deadwyler, publisher of Georgia Insight, who stated – in opposition to the Republican Georgia state senator Renee Unterman who introduced a bill that would steer girls under the age of 16 into diversionary programs instead of arresting them as prostitutes – “Arrest is a valuable life-saving tool that must be used. We need to hire more cops to arrest the prostitutes.” She said that she believes that arrestis a better deterrent than a proposal for rehabilitation — no matter the age. “Sure there are those who are forced into prostitution, but I think most of them volunteer,” Deadwyler said of under 16-year-old prostitutes. “Many, many children have been scared straight because of arrest.” Of course.
One of her colleagues argues, “We cannot repeal the prostitution law for children, because that law acts as a very real barrier that protects children from sexual predators that would, otherwise, feel free to lure them into prostitution….Have we forgotten that correction oftentimes turns a life around?”
They aren’t the only ones who believe that arresting victims is actually good for them. Newser Staff writer Evann Gastaldo, wrote in her March 4th, 2011 article: “Why We Must Arrest Child Prostitutes: IT MAY SOUND CRUEL, BUT IT COULD BE THE ONLY THING THAT SAVES THEM. Says she “Decriminalizing child prostitution (and not arresting them) means effectively ‘removing the only safe and secure protection these vulnerable children have from the pimps—being arrested and placed under the protective custody of law enforcement.’” And after one major ‘rescue’ of such victims, the Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, stated“We may not be able to return their innocence but we can remove them from this cycle of abuse and violence.”
Umm, I wonder if either he or those nice Christian ladies or the States Attorneys General who are demanding the shutdown of adult ads on Backpage.com have read the US Government Justice Department’s own report on what happens to those children (and adult prostitutes) who are ‘placed under the protective custody of law enforcement…’- the report entitled “Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09”?
As the May 5th, 2011 issue of the Economist states, “Sexual abuse in prison is distressingly common: the Justice Department estimated that more than 217,000 prisoners, including at least 17,000 juveniles, were raped or sexually abused in America in 2008. A total of 12% of juvenile detainees… surveyed between 2008 and 2009 reported being forced into sex. And that is the number of people, not incidents; most victims are abused more than once. More inmates reported being abused by staff than by other inmates.” So we arrest the victims and put them in jail where they are raped by those who are supposedly protecting them from sexual predators... like themselves. And this of course will ‘turn their lives around’… actually it probably will; if this doesn’t mess up their heads and screw up their lives forever. After the well-meaning Christian ladies and legislators tell them that it is for their own good to experience the trauma of being arrested and going to jail where they are raped by government agents in whose custody they are supposed to be safe, well, they would have to have an extremely strong character to survive the ‘rescue’ envisioned by these moral zealots.
Here is a good website about the Police, prostitution, sex trafficking and politics:
Tuesday 2 November 2010
How NGOs are adopting a missionary position in Asia
A sex-worker rights activist in Thailand tells Nathalie Rothschild about the reality of the prudish, neo-colonial anti-trafficking industry.
We all know that there is a big sex industry in south-east Asia. In fact, it often seems that sex is the only thing we hear about in reports from this part of the world as the media peddles salacious stories about ‘sex tourism’, ‘ladyboys’, virgins for sale and girls tricked into prostitution. But in recent years another kind of trade has boomed there: the anti-trafficking industry. And local sex worker rights activists tell me that this industry is a far bigger problem for them than punters looking for sex or company.
Today, there are hundreds of non-governmental organisations in Cambodia alone working to ‘rescue and rehabilitate’ sex workers. Local sex-worker representatives even claim that there are more anti-trafficking activists than there are genuine trafficking victims.
Indeed, last year an audit of the USAID Counter Trafficking in Persons project reported that in 2009 the Cambodian government convicted just 12 people of trafficking offences. As for trafficking victims, the audit concluded that it was beyond the scope of the five-year project – initiated in 2006 with a budget of $7.3million – to establish ‘baseline data’ on the numbers of victims.
Andrew Hunter from the Asia-Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) tells me that there are NGO-run women’s shelters across Cambodia that rely on funding from donors like USAID and that they use ‘lurid stories of sexual abuse to raise money. It’s kind of pornographic in a way – but it seems making up stories of the enslavement and sexual degradation of women raises more funds.’
The USAID report explained that other organisations and researchers had also failed to establish just how many trafficking victims there are in Cambodia. One of the obstacles identified was that ‘Human trafficking victims may be unaware, unwilling, or unable to acknowledge that they are trafficking victims, so it is difficult to reach them…’
For Andrew, saying that women are unwitting victims – even if they vehemently deny it – is tantamount to denying ‘the idea that women have agency’. (Ironically, the anti-trafficking industry is to a large extent made up of self-described feminists. But feminists have traditionally fought for women to be regarded as autonomous, free-thinking individuals, not as clueless victims.)
As for enforced prostitution, Andrew says that ‘women (and men) generally take up jobs because they need to earn money’ and the same is true for sex work. ‘The fewer skills you have, the less choice you have, but many women do choose sex work.’
‘Large numbers of sex workers in Cambodia are former garment workers’, Andrew continues. ‘They find conditions in the sex industry better than in the garment factories. In fact, a few weeks ago, Cambodian garment workers organised massive strikes demanding higher wages– and sex workers were on the picket lines supporting them.’
Yet a recent BBC documentary claimed that thousands of young girls are being sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia and that prostitution is not something women take up voluntarily.
The documentary was presented by Stacey Dooley, who made her television debut in the 2008 BBC series Blood, Sweat and T-shirts, in which six young British ‘fashion addicts’ toured factories and slums in India. Up until then, Dooley had been interested in little more than clothes and makeup, but now she goes around the world investigating topics such as the use of child soldiers and child labourers in the developing world.
In her report from Cambodia, Dooley hardly has a dry-eyed moment. As Alang, an 18-year-old prostitute, tells Dooley her story (she was sold to pimps by her aunt at the age of 12) the young Brit weeps uncontrollably. After waiting nine hours to accompany police on a raid to ‘bust some brothels’, Dooley starts crying because the cops fail to catch any pimps. And so on. She also visits an impoverished widow whose youngest daughter attends activities organised by the Sao Sary Foundation. This is an NGO which runs lessons for rural children whom they’ve identified as being at risk of falling prey to traffickers.
Andrew has heard it all before. ‘The idea that large numbers of women are sold into the sex industry by their families is based on a premise that poor people are stupid, ignorant and naive – not to mention cruel.’
‘Yes, this kind of thing used to happen’, Andrew tells me, ‘in the period after the civil war when Cambodia started “opening up”’. During the time of the UN peacekeeping operation in 1992-93, women from rural areas started going to cities to find work, but were often forced into degrading situations. But as women went back to their villages and told their relatives of their experiences, people started to learn, explains Andrew. ‘The same is true all over south-east Asia. Ten years ago, when sex workers in Cambodia were crying out for assistance on this issue no one was interested. So they formed their own unions to fight for their rights as workers. Since anti-trafficking money became available, however, suddenly every NGO is worried about “rescuing sex workers”.’
The anti-trafficking industry boomed in the early Noughties, when then US president George W Bush launched the ‘war on trafficking’ as a ‘soft power strategy’ to accompany the global war on terror. However, the thinly veiled agenda was to abolish any form of sex work. Funding to organisations that ‘promote, support, or advocate the legalisation or practice of prostitution’ was suspended.
In addition, two years ago, the Cambodian government passed the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, drafted with the support of UNICEF. As researcher Cheryl Overs has shown, it criminalises ‘almost all social and financial transactions connected to sex work, whether they are abusive or consensual, fair or unfair’. According to Andrew, this has had devastating effects, driving sex workers onto the streets where they are more vulnerable and into karaoke bars where they are not allowed to carry condoms.
In her documentary, Dooley also meets a young girl who was tricked into prostitution at the age of 13 and has suffered horrific abuse, including being forced to drink alcohol mixed with crushed glass. Andrew says this kind of abuse becomes more likely when the sex industry is driven underground and sex workers cannot organise to protect their rights.
Moreover, ‘many of the agencies working with “trafficking victims” in fact illegally detain sex workers after they have been rounded up in police raids. I have met sex workers who have been held against their will for up to three months in so-called shelters.’ Andrew tells me that many shelters are set up specifically for ‘protection cases’ – ‘young girls taken by NGOs from villages in order to hide them from traffickers’. So, in order to prevent young girls from being taken away from their families, NGOs take them away from their families… ‘Usually, they teach them things like sewing and in that way offer ready-trained workers for the garment industry, where women are indeed exploited and paid paltry wages.’ Also, ‘there are plenty of US-backed DIY-NGOs in Cambodia who want to save young girls, offering them bible study dressed up as literacy classes.’ This is a missionary position indeed.
Over at Dooley’s blog, there is now a lively discussion going on, with Cambodian activists and researchers refuting some of the claims made in her documentary. Others are appalled at Dooley’s patronising tone. Indeed, she speaks to the Cambodians she meets as if they are children, looking at them with puppy eyes as they tell her of their hardships and explaining, in simple, clearly enunciated English (even though there were translators in the film crew) how she would do her best to help them and how she feels their pain.
For Dooley, who confesses she is a bit of a prude and has never met a prostitute before, the red light districts of Cambodia are understandably overwhelming. It’s hard for her to imagine that anything other than ‘brothel busting’ could be the answer to the exploitation some girls experience. But good intentions and sympathy can do a lot of harm. Dooley may want to show that she understands poor people’s desperation, but, in the end, she comes across as a wide-eyed, ignorant, well-heeled westerner wanting desperately to Do Something. She lectures and hectors everyone from western men to Cambodian police for failing to help girls in need.
Yes, Dooley is a ditzy young woman who got a gig with the BBC by fluke, but she perfectly epitomises the neo-colonialist streak to anti-trafficking. Documentaries such as hers only help portray developing world countries like Cambodia as places of vice and beastliness on the one hand, and ignorance and innocence on the other; as places filled with people who need to be rescued and civilised.
My guess is that Cambodians could do without such ‘help’ and that British television viewers could do with some programmes exposing the dubious interests and machinations of the anti-trafficking industry in south-east Asia and beyond.
Nathalie Rothschild is commissioning editor of spiked.
reprinted from: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9843/
When the Obama administration took office on Jan. 1, 2009, many scientists and scholars were hopeful that empirical evidence would play a greater role in defining a range of domestic and international policies, ranging from justifications for war, to global warming, to sex education, to policies about human trafficking. The hope was that the administration would turn away from making decisions that were rooted in ideological agendas and make decisions that were informed more directly by reliable empirical data. To some extent, this has been the case. [E.G.: see the State Department’s (remarkable) response to evidence of human rights violations against people in the sex trade].
However, when it comes to directly criticizing the State Department about its international policies — even using solid empirical data — it is probably inevitable that the State Department machine will kick into defense mode. And this is what is happening now in response to Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, for her book Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo which is based on her ethnographic research with bar hostesses in Tokyo. The State Department argues that women who are similar to those Parreñas included in her study need to be “rescued.” Parreñas’ research suggests otherwise, and adds to the mounting evidence which indicates that calls for “rescuing” adult women are simplistic, not based in reliable evidence, and are ultimately harmful to the women who allegedly “need” to be “rescued.”
Parreñas’ more complicated and empirically-grounded analysis puts a wet blanket on widespread popular discourse about “sex trafficking” — a “victim/rescue” narrative that many critical feminist, human rights, and labor scholars critique as a colonialist, patronizing, (ironically) sexualizing fantasy of White Knights swooping in to rescue helpless women. Parreñas’ work also provides yet another push to the State Department — and other all parties interested in alleviating human trafficking — to ground their approaches in rigorous data collection, as well as analysis that addresses labor and migrant rights in the context of global economic inequalities.
See below for Nina Ayoub’s story which briefly summarizes Parreñas’ findings and the State Department’s response:
Scholar’s Views Rile State Department
November 10, 2011, 9:00 pm
By Nina Ayoub
The author of a new scholarly book from Stanford University Press has become the target of criticism from an unusual source: the U.S. Department of State.
In recent weeks, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, has received media attention for Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo, a book about Filipina women working as bar hostesses in the Japanese capital. Bloomberg News ran excerpts of her work. She was called the “literary lovechild of Barbara Ehrenreich and Naomi Wolf” by Zócalo Public Square, which said the book will “inspire indignation for reasons you didn’t expect.” Parreñas also was interviewed onThe World, a program of Public Radio International. Following that broadcast, the State Department asked—essentially—for equal time.
The issue? Parreñas was highly critical of the ways in which State Department policies on international sex trafficking characterize the women who are the focus of her book, minimizing, she says, their individual agency as migrant laborers, and seeking to “rescue” them and regulate their lives in ways that Parreñas argues may leave them worse off.
On November 4, Alison Kiehl Friedman, deputy director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was interviewed on The World to “clarify U.S. policy on sex trafficking.” She told the host that “we agree with Dr. Parreñas that there is exploitation inherent in what is going on, and we agree that not all the people there are trafficking victims. And we agree that there needs to be more done to get unscrupulous labor recruiters out of the system and better protect migration flows. Where we disagree is that somebody can go in, have a personal experience for a couple of months, and categorically say these people weren’t sex-trafficking victims, and somehow calling some of them sex-trafficking victims is worse than ignoring their exploitation and trying to address it.”
In an e-mail interview, The Chronicle asked Parreñas for her response. Is she surprised at the public attention her research is getting from the State Department?
“As a scholar who is committed to ‘public sociology,’ that is, sociology that aims to transcend the academy and reach a wider audience, I couldn’t be anything but pleased that policy implementers have given attention to my work,” she writes. “Unfortunately, they seemed to have also misinterpreted the work.”
Parreñas adds: “I do wish that the U.S. State Department gave greater attention to the evidence-based research on human trafficking by scholars such as myself, and others including the anthropologist Denise Brennan, the legal scholar Dina Haynes, and the anthropologist Tiantian Zheng.” The department does not, she charges. Instead, they “insist on making unsubstantiated claims on human trafficking.”
What the sociologist is chiefly calling “unsubstantiated” is the Trafficking in Persons Report, which the State Department describes as its “principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments” on the subject. She is critical of the State Department, she says, for not fully accounting for its methods, as well as for its informants and sources. “The TIP Report would get an F if it were a social-science-research project.”
Parreñas says she is fairly sure that her critics at the agency have not yet read her book. “Otherwise, they would not be able to dismiss my methodology as ‘having a personal experience for a couple of months.’” she writes. As a qualitative sociologist, she used a varied set of methods, including “in-depth interviews with hostesses, brokers, club owners; participant-observation both as a customer (in nine clubs) and as a hostess (in one club primarily); archival research; and interviews with government representatives in both Japan and the Philippines. I spent not just ‘a couple of months’ but a total of 11 non-continuous months in Tokyo to conduct my project.”
Unlike Friedman and the TIP Report, she says, “all the claims that I have made about the situation of hostesses—a group they say are ‘forced into prostitution’—are based on evidence, i.e., concrete interviews with migrant Filipina hostesses who I made sure represented a diverse group.” The women included “those who are college educated and those who are high-school dropouts; some work in high-end bars and others in low-end bars; some undress in the club where they work and others never sit next to a customer at a club when at work.”
Speaking on the radio of the Filipina hostesses, Friedman, the State Department official, used an analogy she said her boss was fond of. “I think that focusing on how they got there and whether there was any initial consent to travel is really beside the point,” she told The World. “It’s almost like criminalizing driving to the bank robbery, but not the bank robbery itself.”
In her e-mail to The Chronicle, Parreñas counters: “As I explicitly described in the interview, the work of hostesses is not prostitution. Instead, the work is to flirt professionally with customers.”
Friedman, notes Parreñas, “said we should not focus on how one gets to commit a robbery, but to focus on the robbery. This statement just goes to show that she chooses not to consider the circumstances of people’s lives and the particular needs that arise out of those circumstances.
In the case of hostesses, she says, “these women are often from the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. We cannot understand why they do hostess work unless we consider the structural contexts that have shaped their lives.” Those who prefer they not become hostesses, she says, should work on easing the structural inequalities that limited their choices and made hostess work the best of bad options.
“But let us say I agree with Friedman’s boss,” she adds. “Let us look at the act of bank robbery. Let us disregard how they got there. In this case, we would look at the act of hostess work. We would actually see that the work is not prostitution but professional flirtation. Professional flirting could be performed in a variety of ways—via showing acts of care such as spoon feeding sensually, dancing on stage (clothed or unclothed), singing, verbal teasing. I would ask Friedman—what is wrong with professional flirting? What is so different between professional flirting and working as a waitress in Hooters?”
“Yes, I would say let us look at the act of ‘bank robbery’ or the act of ‘hostess work.’ If we were going to do it accurately, we would actually rely on evidence to know the specifics of that ‘bank robbery.’ We would perhaps realize that the robber walked away with three pieces of mint candy from the bank and not wads of cash. If one looks at the TIP Report,one sees that the U.S. Department of State provides no evidence related to working conditions. So it is questionable if they know anything about the ‘bank robber.’”
Commenting on Friedman’s statement that “compelled service is frequently misidentified as consent,” Parreñas says that the official is “cloaking the problem of human trafficking. She is looking at the surface and not the structure.” Most migrant workers, she says, are not free laborers. They are often guest workers whose legal residency binds them to a sponsoring employer. This leaves them in a highly unequal relationship of dependency. This, she writes, would apply to farm workers in North Carolina, non-immigrant-visa domestic workers in Washington, D.C.; likewise, domestic workers in Singapore, or the kafala system in the United Arab Emirates, or au pairs in Denmark, or migrant teachers in Baltimore.
“Eminent scholars such as Carole Vance and Ann Jordan have expressed their puzzlement over the obsession of the U.S. State Department on sex workers as well as their conflation of sex trafficking and prostitution,” says Parreñas. She says that the department’s “over-obsession with finding ‘prostitutes’ who are ‘sex trafficked’” has led them to misidentify migrant Filipina hostesses. “Hostess work is not a euphemism for prostitution,” says Parreñas. Yet, she claims, the U.S. Department of State, “without evidence,” misidentifies the hostesses as not just prostitutes but women “forced into prostitution.”
This misidentification is a “setback,” she argues, “because it has eliminated the jobs of tens of thousands of women, many of whom are now living in poverty in the Philippines.” This shift, the book indicates, occurred when Japan changed its visa policies on “Filipina entertainers” in a way that conformed with U.S. preferences. The scholar also cites the research of her Ph.D. student Maria Hwang at Brown University, where Parreñas taught before going to the University of Southern California. Hwang has found a sizeable number of Filipina hostesses displaced from Tokyo working as migrant sex workers in Hong Kong. Hwang’s research, says Parreñas, shows us that “falsely rescuing them from prostitution has actually forced them into prostitution.”
Her student’s finding “tells us that it is very important that the U.S. Department of State only provide evidence-based research in their reports. Not having evidence-based research could backfire on them in more ways than one.”
Parreñas will continue her research on migrant labor. She says she is preparing a second edition of her 2001 book, Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration and Domestic Work (Stanford), which compared Filipina migrant domestic workers in Rome and Los Angeles. She is conducting new research in both cities to update their situations. She also has a new project that will compare the experiences of domestic workers whose legal residency in a country binds them to a citizen sponsor employer, meaning “that they cannot quit their job unless they are willing to be deported.” She will compare domestic workers in that situation in Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
See also human rights law professor Ann Jordan’s prolific scholarship on this issue, including her article here: http://www.fpif.org/articles/sex_trafficking_the_abolitionist_fallacy
Other related Sexuality & Society stories: