Wednesday, June 20, 2007

When good men do nothing ...

I was aghast to see this post by a blogging guru, one I had deep respect for.

Old Media Versus New Media Spills Into Adult Biz

From the recent industry conference:

Power is shifting away from the old guard — video producers — and toward the online sector ... but the old guard will not cede the field. ...

"The problem in this industry is that anyone can make porn ... " [says an "old guard" video producer]

Hmmm. Anyone can make content - doesn’t that sound familiar?

This "biz" is one that justifies calling lucre "filthy" and this post justifies those who vilify capitalism and commerce.

Yes, the guru is making a point about how the internet is changing business models across the board.

However, being so nonchalent about the commercial exploitation of women, and even worse, giving the exploiters free publicity (and thereby legitimacy), is actually being complicit in it.

It's a variation on the theme of "evil happens when good men do nothing." Men can do so much more than women can to stop the exploitation, and prevent the mistreatment that results from it. Unfortunately, few men do. And so, many women, and increasingly children, suffer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Why prostitution is evil

Here is an interesting article that explains, far better than I ever could, why prostitution should be banished from this planet.

... Most of the responses to prostitution of world, city and state governments, of media, of ‘right thinking’ citizens, of UN agencies, of the Financial Pages of newspapers for whom it is a nice little earner, are based upon the idea that prostitution is inevitable. ... The burgeoning sex industry has greatly affected the world that we all inhabit and makes it very hard to imagine a world beyond prostitution. Despite the recognised harms of prostitution, the massive multibillion dollar industry of trafficking women and girls into prostitution and pornography, the psychological and physical harms to the women in the industry, the degradation of neighbourhoods by men’s prostitution behaviour and the ill effects of training new generations of men that it is OK to pornographise and prostitute women, there is still an overwhelming sense that prostitution is ‘natural’ and nothing can be done about it. ...

In a world beyond prostitution there would not be the great gulf between women that has traditionally been created by men’s prostitution behaviour. Men have separated women into madonnas and whores, good and bad women, for their own purposes. ... ‘Respectable’ working women have been separated from their prostituted sisters. The gap between the young female executive and her prostituted sister is apparently huge, but it can collapse if she acquires gambling debts. ... Women outside prostitution are encouraged to think that prostituted women are somehow different, women who actually like to take the smelly penises of many different men into their bodies every day. But they are not different, only made so for men’s purposes. ...

This article is written by a very thoughtful woman in Australia for CATWA ... the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Australia. Read it here. Highly recommended.

There's also one about the dismal failure of legalization of prostitution in Australia. It bears out my claims that legalization just makes things worse for women. Read it here. Also highly recommended.

Alarming growth of human trafficking in Middle East

Here is another eye-opener for those who tend to romanticize prostitution:

... sex trafficking is a huge issue in the Middle East, especially the Gulf. My concern is not women who choose to do this for their own personal reasons. My concern is women and young girls who are forced to do this on a daily basis with no form of support or help whatsoever.

This kind of corruption is almost always dismissed as “something that exists in every society,” so fighting it is apparently “useless.” This is not an excuse. This is a poor reaction to a major crisis that shouldn’t exist today. The fact remains that it does exist, and it’s happening right here in front of our eyes while we dismiss it, justify it, and ignore it in silence or ignorance.

The link for this blog came to me in a heart-breaking email plea from a reader of this blog who took the time to track me down and email me personally.

She is desperate for help, as the misery is increasing for the trafficking victims she is trying to help. And I feel so sick that all I can do is put up a link to this blog and hope that maybe it will melt the cold heart of someone who dismisses the whole affair as just part of "the oldest profession."

As Victor Malarek said at his book launch here in Vancouver, the fact that "men are pigs" is just as old.

Obviously, not all men are pigs. But someone else said that true evil happens when good men do nothing. And unfortunately, too many good men (and women) do just that.

I wish I could do more. Maybe I can, and just don't see the forest for the trees. I'm always open to suggestions (and help). I hope at least that putting up this link helps, somehow. Maybe just being aware and making other people aware helps. One can only hope.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Catholic nuns warns of trafficking danger at 2010 Olympics

This story in The B.C. Catholic illustrates how difficult it is to speak frankly about human trafficking, much less to actually do something about it.

As athletes around the world train with all their hearts for the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, a darker element will likely tag along to the Winter Games, warns Sister Joan Dawber.

[Criminals] are preparing to operate the euphemistically-termed "comfort houses" which involve trafficking in humans, most often women and children, while the games play on.

At a day of reflection, entitled “With Open Eyes, With Open Ears, With Open Hearts,” Sister Dawber and Sister Marie Elena Dio examined the root causes of world poverty and trafficking in humans ... The reason a subculture which traffics in humans can exist in our midst, reflected Sister Dawber, is simple: profits from such activities are as large as the plight of its victims ...

Certainly that's true, as trafficking in humans is the third most lucrative illicit trade globally, after drugs and arms. But with all due respect, Sister Dawber glosses over the ugly reality that human trafficking is a black market dealing primarily in sexual exploitation.

Some trafficking victims are industrial slaves, but most are enslaved in the horrifying, soul-destroying "sex trade" that caters to the voracious appetites of men in affluent countries for no-strings sex.

Buying fair trade products and lobbying govt and corporations, as she suggests, might make us feel like we're doing something about human trafficking. However, I doubt it will do much to stop the ruthless mafioso that trafficks in human beings.

With all due respect, I think it's time for everyone, the Sisters included, to face the harsh reality of what exactly drives the market that this mafioso caters to.

I hate to sound like a stuck record, but Victor Malarek's book, The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade, lays it all out pretty clearly.

The Sisters (and the writer) might also want to talk to anti-pedophilia crusader Doug Stead of Port Coquitlam. They might be surprised to learn that many of the patrons (and profiteers) of this lucrative market are otherwise fine, upstanding citizens working in law enforcement, the judiciary, education, business and just about every public institution in existence.

It's all very well and good to create good optics by drinking fair trade coffee and the like. But I think it would be far more effective to take personal responsibility for our own part in the problem. If nothing else, we could educate ourselves and face the ugly reality. Maybe a good next step would be to start demanding accountability on the part of the patrons and profiteers of this disgusting and dehumanizing "trade" instead of calling on the government to do it for us.

I do appreciate, however, that drinking coffee is much easier ... and safer.