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 ...