The Solutions

Posted by seastarukm in Nov 03, 2009, under | Solutions |



There is a solution to the problem of prostitution : Confronting the demand for prostitution.  Instead of only warning women against recruiters, stop the recruiters.  Instead of accommodating the demand, stop it.

There are four components that make-up the demand :

1) The men who buy commercial sex acts,

2) The exploiters who make up the sex industry,

3) The states that are destination countries,

4) The culture that tolerates or promotes sexual exploitation.

1) The Men

The men, the buyers of commercial sex acts, are the ultimate consumers of trafficked and prostituted women and children.  They use them for entertainment, sexual gratification, and acts of violence.  It is men who create the demand, and women and children who are the supply.  Typically, when prostitution is discussed, the focus is on the women.  The men who purchase the sex acts are faceless and nameless.  We need to shine more light on these men, their behavior, and their choice and decision making to purchase sex acts.

A significant number of men say that the sex and interaction with the prostitute were unrewarding and they did not get what they were seeking; yet they compulsively repeat the act of buying sex.  Researchers conclude that men are purchasing sex acts to meet emotional needs, not physical needs.  Men who purchase sex acts do not respect women, nor do they want to respect women. They are seeking control and sex in contexts in which they are not required to be polite or nice, and where they can humiliate, degrade, and hurt the woman or child, if they want.

2) The Exploiters

The exploiters, including traffickers, pimps, brothel owners, organized crime members, and corrupt official’s make-up what is known as the sex industry.  They make money from the sale of sex as a commodity.  Traffickers and organized crime groups are the perpetrators that have received most of the attention in discussions about the sex trafficking.  Corruption of government officials and police is necessary and exploitation of large numbers of women and children.  In transnational sex trafficking operations, the collaboration of officials is needed to obtain travel documents and facilitate the exit of women from the country.

Corruption is an enable for prostitution and trafficking.  Where prostitution is illegal, the operation of brothels requires the collaboration of officials and police, who must be willing to ignore or work with pimps and traffickers.  Prostitution operations depend on attracting men.  Pimps and brothel owners have to advertise to men that women and children are available for commercial sex acts.  Officials have to ignore this blatant advertising.

3) The State

By tolerating or legalizing prostitution, the state, at least passively, is contributing to the demand for victims.  The more states regulate prostitution and derive tax revenue from it, the more actively they become part of the demand for victims.  If we consider that the demand is the driving force of trafficking, then it is important to analyze the destination countries’ or cities’ laws and policies.  Officials in destination countries or cities do not want to admit responsibility for the problem of prostitution and sex trafficking or be held accountable for creating the demand.

At this point to a great extent, the wealthier destination countries control the debate on how trafficking and prostitution will be addressed.  Sending countries or regions are usually poorer, less powerful, and more likely to be influenced by corrupt officials and/or organized crime groups.  They lack the power and the political will to insist that destination countries and cities stop their demand for women for prostitution.

In destination places, strategies are devised to protect the sex industries that generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year for the state where prostitution is legal, or for organized crime groups and corrupt officials where the sex industry is illegal.  Exploiters exert pressure on the lawmakers and officials to create conditions that allow them to operate.  They use power and influence to shape laws and polices that maintain the flow of women to their sex industries.  They do this through the normalization of prostitution and the corruption of civil society.

There has been a global movement to normalize and legalize the flow of women into sex industries.  It involves a shift from opposing the exploitation of women in prostitution to only opposing the worst violence and criminality.  It involves redefining prostitution as “sex work,” a form of labor for poor and psychologically damaged women.  It involves redefining the movement of women for prostitution as labor migration, called “migrant sex work.”  It involves legalizing prostitution, and changing the migration laws to allow a flow of women for prostitution from sending regions to sex industry centers.  The normalization of prostitution is often recommended as a way to solve the problem of trafficking.

States protect their sex industries by preventing resistance to the flow of women to their sex industry centers.  They do this by silencing the voice of civil society. In many sending countries, civil society is weak and undeveloped.  Governments of states with powerful sex industries fund non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote the permission and accommodating views of prostitution and the flow of women into sex industries.  Authentic voices of citizens who do not want their daughters and sisters to become “sex workers” are replaced by the voice of the exploiters, which say that prostitution is good work for women.  The result is a corruption of civil society.  Many well-intentioned individual and groups start believing and promoting this supportive view of prostitution in the mistaken belief that they are helping women.

In a number of countries, the largest anti-trafficking organizations are funded by states that have legalized prostitution.  These funded NGOs often support legalized prostitution.  They only speak about “forced prostitution” and movement of women by force, fraud, or coercion.  They remain silent as thousands of victims leave their communities for “sex work.”  Effectively, these NGOs have abandoned the women and girls to the exploiters and men who purchase sex acts.

4) The Culture

The culture, particular mass media, is playing a large role in normalizing prostitution by portraying prostitution as glamorous or a way to make a lot of money quickly and easily.  Of course, within the commercial world of entertainment, there are many connections between the film and publishing industries and pornography production, between tourist entertainment and sex tourism.  Generally, the media is invested in supporting the expansion of the sex industry.

Within the culture, religion and faith are the voice of moral authority.  Unfortunately, in the battle against prostitution, the voice of moral authority that condemns all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse is being lost.  Some churches are compromising on their mission and their vision.  In years past, they have been accused of being “moralistic,” so they have retreated into “non-judgmental” positions and ways of addressing prostitution.  They need to reexamine their retreat from this issue and reengage in the debate.  There is an important role for churches to play in describing the harm of prostitution to women, children, families, and communities.  Religious communities, from the grassroots to the leadership, need to use their voice of authority to combat him increasing sexual exploitation of victims and its normalization.

written by Noramizam Bte Jasmi G75804

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