Thursday, November 13, 2008

Crashing western economy good news for "Natashas"?

I know some disagree with me about the connection I see between economic excess and sexual exploitation.

My reasoning has been that the drive behind the odious flesh trade can be attributed as much to the cavalier attitude of affluent pervs driving the demand as to the greedy thugs supplying that demand and reaping obscene (literal and figurative) profits.

Well, I guess time will tell if there is anything to my theory. But, coincidentally, it seems that suddenly the banking industry has a little economic incentive to ditch its cavalier attitude, according to this article in MacLeans magazine on the "new frugality."

... Deutsche Bank recently informed managers it would no longer pay for visits to strip clubs.

“Deutsche Bank does not approve of any adult entertainments, and such expenditures will not be reimbursed,” said a memo obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel. “The mood of the super rich is going to change during the next year from ‘How To Spend It’ to ‘How Not To Flaunt It,’ ” wrote Christopher Wood, an analyst with CLSA, in his newsletter Greed & Fear.

“Certain people, particularly the Russians, have not got the point yet. But the backlash is undoubtedly coming.”

Full article here. here.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

18,000 women and children trafficked into UK sex trade

Articles like this are, sadly, hardly a surprise anymore. But they still make my blood boil.

Up to 18,000 females, including girls as young as 14, are working in brothels across Britain after being smuggled into the country to meet the booming demand for prostitutes.

Not that Canadians have the right to point fingers. It's going on right in my own fair city. In Vancouver, money-grubbing sexual exploiters have been trying to drum up public support for legalized brothels. A whack of Olympics sex maniacs will be needing to get their rocks off, and would have us believe we are obliged to provide prostitutes for their pleasure (and the exploiters' profit). But, I digress.

Mr Brain also revealed that a large number of residential properties were being used to sell sex (of the 822 premises raided, nearly 600 were private homes). "In some of the cases, neighbours have not suspected any kind of unusual activity," he said.

How's that?? My next-door neighbour knows when I sneeze. So if I were ever inclined to have an affair (I'm not, btw) I wouldn't dare. At least if I wanted it kept a secret. So what kind of neighbours living near a residential property being used to sell sex wouldn't "suspect any kind of unusual activity"? (Customers, maybe?)

Prostitution and people-trafficking is now the third most lucrative black-market trade in the world after gun-running and drugs-smuggling. It is being driven by growing demand for prostitutes in the UK, with websites promoting sex flourishing and local newspapers carrying advertisements for prostitutes. ...

And those newspapers accepting those ads use what excuse? Or does anyone bother to ask for one? If not, um, why on earth not?

Full article here.

My only question is, where are the feminist lobbyists? You'd think they might band together to fight the rampant sexual exploitation of these women and children. But, nary a peep out of them.

That's another thing that makes my blood boil. To paraphrase a saying: True evil is when good women do nothing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hitting a nerve?

Recently I've had to remove a few comments from some of the posts on this site.

Just as a reminder, that will always be the case for posts with profanity, flaming or any type of abusive comments. That, btw, includes lengthy posts that are irrelevant and/or incomprehensible.

If posts on this site are moving someone to go to the trouble of posting abusive comments here, then clearly the information on this blog and how it's presented is making someone uncomfortable.

As it is intended to.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The pride of the western world

This sure makes a person proud to be part of a "developed democracy" whose "tourists" are the driving force of this "industry."

It's not so much the scumbags that pay money to violate these children that are the most disgusting, or even the slimeballs that prey on the vulnerable and provide them.

It is the apathy and total indifference of the majority in the "developed world" who allow this travesty to continue.

Watch this and weep.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Canadian government not so progressive ...

It's a good thing the Conservative Party took the word "progressive" out of its name because its policies are anything but progressive when it comes to attitudes towards human sexuality and violence against women.

Granted, the Conservative-run government is to be commended for rejecting a ludicrous proposal to have legal brothels for "sports fans" visiting Vancouver during the 2010 Olympics, as this article reports:

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has flatly rejected calls to decriminalize prostitution and dismissed as a non-starter a Vancouver group's hopes of opening a "co-op" brothel in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics ...

That's sensible, but the basis for that decision is reactionary rather than progressive as it simply maintains an old status-quo. As such, it merely politicizes the issue and leaves it unresolved.

Nicholson was responding directly for the first time to a majority recommendation from the committee that federal prostitution laws be amended to stop charging prostitutes and start prosecuting only those procuring sex, or exploiting the prostitutes, such as pimps and bawdy house owners.

Pressed to weigh in on a B.C. coalition's idea of creating a legal brothel in time for the Olympics, Nicholson told the committee the government's opposition is total, and that it is currently demonstrating its commitment to enforcing federal prostitution laws by defending them against constitutional challenges now before the courts in B.C. and Ontario.

This stodgy stance is very disappointing, as a strong lobby can just as easily pressure government to legalize brothels. With the possibility of an election soon, that could actually happen. The problem is that so few seem to comprehend (or care) that by far prostitutes are victims of violence and desperation rather than uncontrolled nymphomaniacs willingly participating in illicit sex acts. Fewer still are willing to follow Sweden's lead in changing the laws to protect and rehabilitate prostitutes who are trapped in the "lifestyle." I agree entirely with Liberal MP Maria Minna who said:

"He doesn't get it ... The men don't get charged. Who gets the record and gets thrown in the clink, it's the woman. She's the victim."

Nicholson is not the only one that doesn't "get it."

Nicholson was joined at the committee by Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Immigration Minister Diane Finley. They described the government's three-pronged approach to tackling human trafficking as prevention, protection of victims, and prosecution of those who coerce others into what has been described a modern day form of slavery.

Day acknowledged that prostitution tends to increase around such major sporting events as the Olympics, but the minister said he does not anticipate a significant increase in the cases of women, children and others being trafficked into Canada during that period. He argued traffickers will be deterred by the tight security, plus strict passport and visa requirements, that go with the Olympics.

Right. Those security measures have really been effective in other countries where the Olympics have been held, haven't they? How bloody lame is that.

Of course, when you live in an ivory tower and refuse to come out into the real world, you wouldn't know that traffickers, um, have ways to get around security measures. That they easily issue fake passports and/or confiscate bona fide ones and drop the facade once they're past security.

And especially you wouldn't (want to) know that trafficking happens routinely on our own continent, in the U.S. and in Canada, as these articles (here and here) illustrate. And in cases like the one of a Montreal-based prostitution ring trafficking 12-year old children (yes, right here in the true north strong and free), border security is beside the point.

There are those out in the real world who know that Vancouver already is a major hub for organized crime gangs ... and are trying to educate an indifferent public and political elite that human trafficking is the world's 3rd most lucrative criminal activity and that the link between organized crime and prostitution is undeniable.

It's a tough row to hoe, and progress is slow.

UK newspaper initiative progressive and pro-active

This is very encouraging ... and about time.

The Newspaper Society is updating its guidelines on those adverts which should be accepted on classified pages.

It wants its members to be especially aware of the link between organised prostitution and human trafficking.

The society has already advised its members on how to spot adverts which might be promoting sexual services. ... The society, which represents most local and regional papers, is suggesting they simply refuse such ads.

It also suggests that payment be made by card or cheque so accounts can be traced, and that papers consult with police.

Bravo to Britain's Newspaper Society for this initiative. This common-sense approach should be standard in every civilized country.

Full article here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tell advertisers not to help human traffickers

I just was at a website and saw one too many ads for "Ukrainian girls."

So I decided to send Google a piece of my mind. I clicked on "Ads by Google" at the bottom of the page and then on "Send Google your thoughts on the site or the ads you just saw." A feedback form popped up, with a link to "Also Report a Violation" which allows you to comment on the ads.

Here is the comment I left:

Displaying ads for "girls" is tantamount to aiding the slave trade. The vast majority of these girls are trafficked and the criminals trafficking them are using you to legitimize their activities. These ads are highly offensive to those who understand this fact of life.

I plan to do that as often as I can whenever I come across such ads. Please join me. It only takes a minute and sends a very strong message.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who's behind the push for legal brothels in Vancouver?

Interesting point raised in this article in the Montreal Gazette:

This bizarre notion that laws on prostitution should be altered, even temporarily, to accommodate the sexual desires of fans at large sporting events is not unique to British Columbia. ...

Germany, host of the 2006 World Cup, campaigned against "forced" prostitution, based on trafficked women and children, and the head of FIFA, soccer's world body, urged soccer fans to use only prostitutes who were "voluntarily" in the business. But voluntary was hardly the order of the day, with reports that as many as 40,000 women and children were trafficked into Germany to service the [sex-obsessed soccer fans].

In an essay this year, [University of Ottawa sociologist Richard] Poulin criticized proposals to relax prostitution laws for sports events ... [He] argued that simply removing prostitution from the streets, as Vancouver's Susan Davis suggests, does not turn prostitution, the business of selling one's body to strangers, into a safe activity. ...

With an estimated 90 per cent of prostitutes having been forced into the sex trade, increasing the number of prostitutes is not a good idea. ...

No kidding. Makes one wonder who exactly Susan Davis is working for. Because very few prostitutes are allowed to work for themselves, especially if there is big money involved.

Which raises the question of whether Vancouver's mayor can't grasp that concept or just doesn't want to. Or, worse, is being influenced by well-placed vested interests to legitimize the very profitable criminal activity of pimping and trafficking.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Anti porn site has excellent resources

It was gratifying to come across this website and have my instinctive take on pornography validated by some very highly credentialled people.

It's called simply Against Pornography and among the many excellent educational resources are autobiographies of porn "stars" Linda Lovelace and Traci Lords. They throw ice water on the notion that these women exercised any "freedom of choice" in their careers in the so-called "sex industry."

There are many thought-provoking articles and summaries of books on the subjects of pornography and prostitution, especially in the context of the feminist movement's failure to grasp, much less address, the inherent harm (to men as well as women) of the "sex industry."

Highly recommended. It can be found here.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Public system fails to adequately inform

My step-daughter, who is recovering from over a decade of heroin addiction (and yes, all it entails), made a very good point in a recent conversation we had. She was explaining a huge gap in the public discourse regarding recovery from addiction.

Incidentally, she is putting her life back together quite admirably. It hasn't been easy, but she's doing what has to be done. That includes learning about the harm of addiction .... over and above what she learned from harsh personal experience.

The government ministry in place to help recovering addicts is great with providing info on the former. However, she is rather troubled that there is nothing either on TV programs or in the education system dealing with the realities of the latter.

One of those realities is withdrawal symptoms. Knowledge about that, she feels, is something that could deter young people from even trying drugs. If they only knew what awaited them, and that absolutely no one can recover from addiction without going through the agonies of withdrawal, it would turn them completely off.

So that begs the question. Why aren't the consequences of addiction, presented accurately and realistically, mandatory in public and private schools? Surely this should be part of the curriculum for health and wellness studies on an ongoing (and obviously graduated) basis from K-12.

The same goes for the dangers of human trafficking. Sadly, there are some powerful vested interests that would rather these social problems remain unresolved. And unfortunately, some of those "interests" can be found in government ministries across the board, including public safety and public education.

That's why, I believe, it is up to individuals to take a deeper interest in these issues and hold accountable those elected, as well as appointed, to office. Remember, they're inclined to give us what we as voters demand.

So the first step is simply to let your MLA and MP know what issues matter to you, and why. (If you can offer a solution, all the better.) And they are just a mouse click away.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sexual Terrorism site blocked by Sudan government

It's deja-vu all over again. Corrupt officials keep trying to stifle the screams of women subjected to commercial rape. Now they're doing it in cyberspace by blocking access to sites like this that expose injustice and corruption.

A couple of months ago access was blocked to citizens of the United Arab Emirates, as I reported here. Hardly an isolated case, tho. I just got this email from a cyberfriend in the Middle East ...

"A Sudanese contributor just alerted us that our Sexual Terrorism website is now blocked in Sudan (in addition to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.)

As usual, it is NOT because of the "sex" in the domain. It is due to its controversial content.

'Sorry, this page has been blocked by National Telecommunication Corporation.'

We'll see which country comes next. My bet is on Kuwait."

These gals are working so hard and often, not surprisingly, get discouraged. Please take a moment to go to their website and leave an encouraging comment. And while you're there, educate yourself a bit more on the issue. They'd appreciate it.

How victims are trapped

A video clip on the UN.GIFT website (United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) shows how easy it is for traffickers to ensnare women, especially those who are young and destitute.

The video is very short, about a minute or so long. It's basically a crash course in the routine operations of this odious "trade."

It can be viewed here.

(H/T to Sexual Terrorism.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More blogs springing up to help raise awareness

More "good" news ... at least on the consciousness-raising front.

There are increasingly more blogs springing up highlighting the scourge of human trafficking.

In addition to the one linked to in the previous post, I would recommend a visit to Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.

It's based in San Diego, California ... but trafficking is a universal, global problem so chances are the information there would be very useful wherever you may be located. Lots of good links as well.

US declares January 11 Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Good news (here) for those of us trying to raise awareness of human trafficking. What it will do to help eradicate the odious flesh trade remains to be seen, but it's a start.

A resolution passed by the US Senate on June 22, 2007 has forever marked January 11th as a day of awareness and vigilance for the countless victims of Human Trafficking across the globe.

Shared Hope International (SHI) - a leader in the worldwide effort to eliminate sexual slavery – and founder Congresswoman (1994-1999) Linda Smith has launched assessments in 10 U.S. cities that examine the condition of America's trafficked youth. These assessments analyze the identification and treatment of victims of "domestic minor sex trafficking" (DMST) and will empower communities to take action. SHI will also launch a nationwide awareness campaign -featuring amazing undercover footage and emotional survivor interviews - about the epidemic of American youth being trafficked in cities across the United States.

Full article here.

Let's hope other countries quickly jump on this very worthy bandwagon.

Canadians, please write to your MPs and demand that our government be among the first.

You can find your MP here. Emails are quick and snail mail is even more effective ... postage free if you send it to your MP at the House of Commons in Ottawa. If you need ideas for what to write, check out the excellent Human Trafficking Watch blog (here).

Ukrainians and other Slavs (and their diaspora communities) need to do the same in (and for) their respective countries. Ditto the Middle East. There isn't even one Middle East country on Shared Hope's list, and the only one East European one is the Czech Republic ...