Empowerment

Greetings from The Slave Detective,

Sex Trafficking is never far away it seems. It is undoubtedly the most written topic in the Trafficking arena.

I got slightly annoyed recently at a blog I read in The Huffington Post that seemed to somehow draw a line between child trafficking/prostitution (as being totally unacceptable) and adult prostitution as being acceptable. Suddenly at 18yrs it isn’t so bad to go into prostitution?

In Vanessa Pinto’s article ‘Human Trafficking Happens More Than We Know’ she appears to advocate this stance. Maybe I’m reading her wrong?

She writes:-

“Sex work and human trafficking are not the same and should not be viewed in the same manner. A sex worker is someone with agency, who is over the age of 18 and wilfully choosing to do sex work. Trafficking victims and survivors are people who are trapped, coerced and threatened on a daily basis. It is crucial that we find a way to separate these topics; we need to help these people, not add to their trauma. A child or adult trapped in this social injustice is not a ‘child prostitute’ – they are anything but empowered, they are victimized again and again.”

At the risk of repeating myself I find it hard to imagine some young lady who ‘wilfully choose to do sex work’. I’m not saying there isn’t a single person in the world that chooses this profession over all others but I believe that if a sex worker chooses out of free will why do the ‘have to’ give up half of their earnings on each client? Why do they have to be controlled? Legalisation of prostitution hasn’t prevented this exploitation in Holland! Sex workers are still expected to give up their cash to their exploiters.

The article, Child Prostitution, Adult Prostitution, and the Obscure In-Between gives a better insight…. it is written by a survivor!

I love the paragraph:-

“As a fourteen-year-old girl, a full year before I ever started prostituting, I first realised that some men felt an actual entitlement to my body.  This was perfectly expressed by the extreme belligerence they’d display when I rejected their advances.  They would be so angry.  ‘How dare you?’ said their actions.  I couldn’t make any sense of that attitude.  It was literally like someone was speaking in a foreign language to me, and it was a foreign language in a sense; it was the language of sexual entitlement.”

I think the sex worker perceived in the first article would be one who chooses their career path and then happily works as a sex worker keeping all of her funds.

In reality this is likely to be a choice brought on due to poverty and then exploited.

On the other hand there are some persons who will happily engage in a relationship with another purely for the lifestyle that they can give them. I say good luck to such persons, this is a lifestyle choice but they are Not being exploited. This is a whole subject with many permutations.

Maybe what I’m actually saying is that trying to pigeon hole for the sake of an article is difficult. The reality is that there are persons being exploited. Sexually, in forced labour, domestic servitude and sadly for their organs and we need to be doing everything we can as a human race to make this unacceptable.

There are grey area’s in all of these aspects. What should be stamped out is the exploitation of another, unfairly.

 Even that ‘unfairly’ has all kinds of interpretation. 

I know that I am fortunate that I am able to engage in an open discussion about anything I feel I’m being exploited over.

The article concludes with this excellent point (which I have been supporting in previous posts)

“By drawing distinction between trafficking and prostitution, between under and over 18, some well-intentioned anti-trafficking organisations acquiesce to the perpetuation of a system known to be extremely violent and damaging while continuing to stigmatised and blame most of its victims. This stigmatisation maintains the disempowerment and marginalisation of the population these groups want to help. It also empowers the who prey on our most vulnerable, whether under or over 18yrs.”

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