Here in the impoverished north of Argentina, sex traffickers search among the vulnerable for targets. Typically, they lure women with deceitful job offers and then traffic them to big cities, mining towns and agricultural regions, where they are forced into sex slavery.
For most women, in the past, it was the beginning of years of servitude in a grim underworld of prostitution. But these days more manage to escape, many with the help of the Fundación María de los Ángeles, a nongovernmental organization founded by Susana Trimarco, whose daughter was seized 12 years ago.
The daughter, María de los Ángeles Verón, then 23, left home for a medical appointment in April 2002. She never returned. Some witnesses said she was murdered and buried in a nearby province, most likely La Rioja, where demand for prostitutes is high among seasonal grape and olive pickers. But her body was never found.
Frustrated by an investigation at home that she said was thwarted by a web of corruption spun by judges, the police and the local mafia, Mrs. Trimarco took up the search for her daughter alone. When it was suggested six years ago that Ms. Verón was taken abroad, perhaps to northern Spain or the Canary Islands, Mrs. Trimarco traveled to Spain, but the police there could not find her daughter.
For her trouble, Mrs. Trimarco, 59, has had her house set on fire by thugs who threw flaming rags drenched in kerosene onto the rooftop, and she has twice escaped being run over, once as she took out the trash around midnight.
She still receives vicious anonymous phone calls and death threats, but she has never given up. “The desperation of a mother blinds you,” she said. “It makes you fearless.”
Her efforts have carved the issue of sex trafficking into the political agenda in Argentina and have earned her international recognition, but she is an unlikely national heroine.
A former municipal worker, Mrs. Trimarco used to find relief from the daily grind with simple pastimes, like taking her family to nearby tourist spots and nurturing her houseplants. But the abduction of her daughter, affectionately known as Marita, upended her life.
“I live a permanent battle,” she said with a flinty stare. “From when I awake to when I sleep, I live for this. I’m looking for my daughter alive.”
As she began her search, Mrs. Trimarco obtained the names of pimps and sex traffickers from police files. Then she gained entry to brothels across this city by disguising herself as a madam and offering to buy the women and girls they held captive, including some as young as 14, who could be traded for about $800.
Some of the women said they had seen Ms. Verón. One of them, who as a rape victim asked not to be identified, said she saw her drugged, with swollen eyes, in the home of a ringleader that doubled as a den for harboring recently abducted victims. The women provided Mrs. Trimarco with license plate numbers and other clues, but none of those panned out.
Mrs. Trimarco did rescue some women, but many pleaded not to be left to fend for themselves. “The police would hand them back to the criminals,” Mrs. Trimarco said. “They used to say: ‘Don’t leave me. Take me with you.’ ”
Over the years, Mrs. Trimarco, whose husband died in 2010, became a guardian to 129 former sex slaves, she said. She sheltered them in her home, where she also cared for Ms. Verón’s daughter, Micaela, who was 3 when her mother was taken. She encouraged the women to file police complaints, ferried them to medical appointments and reunited them with their families.
In 2007, she set up the Fundación María de los Ángeles in a leaky townhouse, but the demand for its services became overwhelming. At the end of last year, the organization moved into a new building, constructed with government funds. It has also opened centers in other major cities in Argentina.
Postmodernism is deeply anti-theoretical. It is elusive as it does not offer a theoretical framework that can be verified and falsified. The terminology is obscurantist. Postmodernists equate scientific theories with ‘narratives’. Reality, truth and meaning are socially constructed. Truth is dependent on contextual factors. Reason is no longer necessarily preferred over un-reason, nor is any moral code binding. According to postmodern authors, reality is not mirrored in human understanding of it, but is rather constructed. Postmodernism focuses on relative truths of each person or within each paradigm. Realities are plural and relative and dependent on who the interested parties are and what the nature of their interests are. Truth, according to Foucault, is linked to power. Although we may never find the truth, but many postmodernists even gave up the aim of truth-finding. According to Derrida, ‘there is nothing but the text’. Texts are endless grammatical chains of meanings that only refer to themselves, not to reality. Postmodernists dismiss any coherent link between language and an external reality.
Germaine Greer has won an award for ranting about transgender people.
The noted feminist author has long been outspoken about her beliefs on transgender people, who she claims are de-constructing the meaning of womanhood.
Speaking to the Victoria Derbyshire Show, she ranted: “Just because you lop off your d**k and then wear a dress doesn’t make you a f***ing woman.
“I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat but that doesn’t turn me into a f***ing cocker spaniel.
“A man who gets his d**k chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself.”
Despite outrage at the comments, the 77-year-old picked up the ‘Iconoclast’ prize at the Oldie of the Year awards.
According to the Independent, she said at the ceremony: “I feel I have nicked this award. I don’t want to be recognised for being a reactionary. I’m not. I don’t want to recognise polarised gender. We are none of us masculine enough, none of us feminine enough. It’s a losing battle.
“The most fuss and bother wasn’t for anything I said and did recently, rather it’s to do with what I wrote years ago. It was important to me that women understood femininity as a pose, a posture, a cultural artefact.
“I was talking about this fraud of femininity that women are persuaded to accept. I never actually bought into the fight. I was co-opted into the fight.”
Despite claiming she wasn’t trying to “polarise” views, Greer has spoken out about the issue no fewer than six times.
The prostitutes of Hunts Point trade their body to strangers for money. They do this so they can buy drugs, pay for a room rather than sleep in the streets, and get food
Sexual abuse, physical abuse, and poverty haunt their pasts. Complicated and painful pasts have led their search for solace in drugs: Heroin, crack cocaine, angel dust, meth, and more.
They come to Hunts Point young, running from their family, because it has “the best drugs on the east coast,” and they can openly sell their bodies.
They can go to “Hero City,” a busy corner surrounded by apartment buildings, and get pimped by young skinny men with names like Payroll, Mosquito, and Escrow, men who cluster around bodega doors, always moving yet going nowhere. The pimps are local kids playing thug, with low slung jeans, bright sneakers, and baseball caps tilted to half cover their eyes. The pimps will feed the women drugs, say they love them, and then put them to work, to stroll down Spofford Avenue, past the school, past the church, past the many bodegas. “He’s my daddy, my shorty.” The pimp is often the first man in their lives to give them gifts and sweet talk them. The pimps also physically abuse the women, but sadly they are not the first men to beat them, so it is not unexpected.
Some addicts become “renegades” and work the more desolate streets amongst the shuttered warehouses, alone except for other prostitutes. They walk up and down the dim streets, where the only traffic consists of johns, police, and semi trucks headed toward the market.
They can buy a ten-dollar bag of heroin or crack from dealers on Garrison or Seneca Avenue whenever their body demands it and they have the money. The dealers are easy to find, angled against a buildings doorway, or slinging drugs from the front of the many auto body shops.
These women live mostly on the streets: Sleeping in the cabs of parked trucks, under parked trucks, under bridges, on the rooftops of apartment buildings, in abandoned buildings, in empty lots. They wash up in either the McDonald’s or the 24-hour laundromat bathroom. The few possession they own are stored in bags stashed in hidden spaces.
They dress in revealing but practical clothes, sometimes wearing thick makeup and brightly colored wigs. They wear sneakers or flats so they can run from the police or johns if they need to. If they are desperate and need ten bucks to ease the dope sick, they will come out in jeans and a t-shirt, stripping down to their underwear if times are really tough. “I ain’t catch a date in over an hour. I need money real bad.”
Their dance alternates between parading down the street for the johns and hiding in the shadows from the police. They are experts at disappearing. “I have hid many times in dumpsters. Saw a patrol car, so I dove in. Sat there like an hour out-waiting him.”
The police stop them regularly. The veteran officers will cut them slack. Tell them to go home, maybe even ask if they need anything. The younger cops are less forgiving, throwing tickets at them: Disorderly conduct, open container, public urination, littering. Rarely do they get actual prostitution tickets.
The johns are crude men, in the market for sex. They circle slowly through Hunts Point, tinted windows half rolled down. They have the stare of hunters, eyes scanning the length of the prostitutes’ bodies. When they spot someone they circle a few more times before pulling up to discuss price. They take their frustrations out on the prostitutes, sexually and physically. ‘Look at me, I am a man.’
The women take the johns to the “dumpsters,” an empty lot where construction dumpsters are stored. They take them to the back of parked semis. They take them to an empty parking lot near the old Coke distribution center. They take them there and they “suck their dicks.”
After each john, the prostitutes run up the hill to busy parts of Hunts Point to cop some drugs.
They need to catch five to ten dates a day, to clear over a hundred dollars. They sometimes resort to robbing johns or boosting from local stores.
They find themselves in a loop of sex to pay for drugs, and then more drugs to forget the sex. “I have to be high out here. To forget the danger, to forget what I am doing.”
Men develop ideas and systems of explanation by absorbing past knowledge and critiquing and superseding it. Women, ignorant of their own history, do not know what women before them had thought and taught. So generation after generation, they struggle for insights others had already had before them, resulting in the constant reinventing of the wheel.
Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Feminist Consciousness
First of all I’d like to talk a little bit about what Radical Feminism means to me in the context of my work as an abolitionist activist, and also in an emotional sense, as a sex-trade survivor. Three years ago, when I began writing anonymous newspaper articles and blogging under the pseudonym FreeIrishWoman, I noticed pretty quickly that my words were shared amongst and disseminated by a particular group of feminists: Radical Feminists. Given that the recollections I described were the experiences of a homeless, socially-disowned, prostituted fifteen-year-old girl, I would have expected support from the feminist community, of all places. Just as well I wasn’t completely politically ignorant with regard to the divisions between those who describe themselves as feminists, otherwise it would have been a shock to discover that while my words and experiences were honoured and shared by Radical Feminists, they were widely ridiculed and had their authenticity relentlessly challenged by some of those who referred to themselves as Liberal Feminists.
Liberal feminism – which holds that anything a woman does can be empowering as long as she does it without a gun pointed to her head – had always sounded like a crock of crap to me anyway, so I cannot say I was terribly disappointed. I was wounded though; and above all, I was galled. It is both wounding and galling for me to know that there is a whole army of twenty-something, white, socially-privileged young women out there talking of prostitution as the very epitome of female empowerment. That they’ve made this assessment about an experience they’ve never had, while having spent years being educated in an effort to keep themselves out of the social class of women who most commonly have to experience it, and have decided it’s harmless, in spite of the tsunami of evidence that attests to its harm, is, to me, the most repulsive sort of hypocrisy.
Sometimes we who speak the truth about the global sex-trade find ourselves close to despair, crushed beneath the weight of the prevailing public view, steeped as it is in ignorance; both wilful and malignant, and in obliviousness, sometimes innocent in its nature, and when it is, all the more frustrating for it. We know the interests of patriarchy are served by the very existence of the global sex-trade and by the annihilation of the innumerable female lives snuffed out of existence within it. It is galling therefore, for all of us to listen to the Liberal Feminists toe the patriarchal line with the lie they buy for themselves and try to sell on to us that black is white, up is down, and imprisonment is liberating. Conflating consent with liberation is the business of those who do not know that oppression cannot operate without it. But the consent of oppression, consent under duress, is not true consent. The duress itself has morphed consent into a different shape and moved it away from its own nature. True sexual consent it not possible here. Sexual consent is beyond the laws of commerce; it is beyond sale and it is beyond purchase. Sexual abuse however, often has a price tag, and when it does, we call it prostitution.
I am tired of the ignorance of women who do not understand this, but is it surprising to anyone, really, that most of these women are, as I’ve said, young, white and privileged? I doubt that any of the women gathered here today are surprised by that, because, that the socially privileged are removed from the realities of the socially dispossessed is simply not surprising to any woman with a whit of political savvy.
But yes, I’ll own that we are tired and frustrated and pissed off, and with good reason. Each time we speak out, they do their best to shut us down. We’ve seen examples of this in recent weeks, as we do in all weeks. As I speak, there are fools running petitions against this conference from Edinburgh to Brighton and back again. The most genteel advice I could give these women would be to consult their dictionaries, and turn to the word feminist. Of course, unfortunately, I’d have to also advise them, in many cases, to disregard what they had found, since so many dictionaries frame feminism as a matter of sexual equality, which rather puts the cart before the horse. A woman who believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes is not a feminist, but a fantasist. We don’t live in that world; we don’t have equality, and, as Radical Feminists know, a prerequisite of equality is the dismantling of male supremacy. First, we must be liberated from it. Then, and only then, might we live our lives as equals.
The simple cruelty of the Liberal Feminist stance is something that also, apparently, escapes them. Their stance tells us sex-trade survivors that every rape we endured did not matter, that every sexual assault of every manner and variety were just occupational hazards, and that our gang-rapes would not have been gang-rapes had legislation just forced those men to use us one at a time. Well, I have news for them: flat rate brothels and gang-bang packages are all the rage in Germany now. For anyone who hasn’t heard these terms, a flat rate brothel is prostitutions answer to an all you can eat buffet. Men pay a one-off fee, a ‘flat rate’, and for this fee they can use the body, or bodies, of women for as long as they are humanly able, climaxing as many times as they want, or can. These are sometimes combined with gang-bang packages, whereby five or six or seven men arrive at the brothel together, pay their ‘flat rate’ and use the body of a woman until she can barely stand. I have had photographs forwarded to me from one such a scene from a German brothel. The girl being used by a half dozen men was nineteen years old, and seven months pregnant. This is the true face of the regulated sex-trade that Liberal Feminists fight for.
It has been claimed, in the midst of the campaigns against this conference, that I am endangering the lives of women in prostitution. It is telling how the depths of their incomprehension is revealed by the very charges they level against me. There was only one group of people who were ever responsible for endangering my life when I was in prostitution, and they most certainly were not abolitionists; they were sex-buying men; the same sex-buying men whose dicks will never be sucked by the Liberal Feminists who defend and uphold the rights of those men, to have their dicks sucked by other women; economically disenfranchised, educationally disadvantaged, socially deprived and racially marginalised women.
So where do we go, with our frustrations? And what do we do, with the anger that is so inevitable here, such an intrinsic human reaction to the injustice of telling the truth and being called a liar. The first thing I would say is take heart: this situation will not last forever. It is precisely the hypocrisy of the Liberal Feminist stance which will be its undoing. The doctrine that says ‘empowerment can be found in these experiences (which we will fight tooth and nail to avoid for ourselves)’ has a shelf life. That type of nonsense has a sell-by date. However popular it might be, for however long, such doctrine is doomed to exposure – Emperor’s New Clothes style.
I have been profoundly comforted these last years (and especially this last eighteen months, since my book, Paid For, was published) not only by the truths that were accepted from me, but by the truths that were told by so many other women, most of whom did not have to have lived these realities to acknowledge them. I have been comforted to see, in country after country, abolitionist movements spring up where none had existed before, or become strengthened where they had been floundering, and everywhere I have seen the strengthening of abolitionism I have seen a strong overlap between the abolitionist movement and the Radical Feminist movement, or, at the very least, a strong adherence in abolitionism to Radical Feminist principles.
The reality is that Radical Feminists are on the right side of history here, and they are the only feminists who get the full picture, and the reasons why it exists. Socialist Feminists have my respect, but they don’t have the whole picture here. Prostitution does not exist as a consequence of women’s economic disenfranchisement. Poverty is a supporting factor. Not a reason. Supporting factors are not reasons. They are simply supporting factors. Prostitution exists for only one reason; that reason is male demand. No amount of poverty would be capable of creating prostitution if it were not for male demand.
I have come here today to ask for the support of every woman in this room in fighting this scourge that weighs almost exclusively on girls and women. We need to fight this, not by ripping at the leaves, nor hacking at the branches, nor even cutting this off at the trunk; we need to rip it up by the roots. As daunting as this task seems, we already have the tools to do it. We are not, thankfully, totally bamboozled like the liberals, nor are we hobbled in our understanding like the socialists. We know that prostitution is both a consequence and good evidence of the subordination of women, and it is from the standpoint of this understanding that we can dismantle it. It is very important that we never give an inch in this fight. We must never concede to the tactics of the pro-prostitution lobby, the first of which is to pretend that prostitution is not a moral issue. Let me say in front of you and in front of the world: You can be damn sure that prostitution is a moral issue, as human rights always are.
Abolitionists, the pro-prostitution lobby contend, are engaged in a ‘moral crusade’ to rid the world of prostitution. Crusade, here, is a pejorative term, and it is linked with morality in order that some of its contemptuous derision will rub off. Morality itself, we are told, is negative, ill-founded and, well, wrong. The straight-up foolishness of asserting that discerning between right and wrong is itself wrong apparently escapes some people.
I am tired of hearing people frame abolitionist arguments by beginning ‘I am not a moralist, but…’ We are all moralists, unless we are psychopaths, and since when was morality a dirty word? Here’s the answer to that: morality has been a dirty word since it suited certain people that we look the other way and pretend that morality is null and void here; and you will find, time and again, that people who espouse that position are defending something which is very plainly wrong, hence their absolute insistence that morality shouldn’t get a look in.
There is also the nonsense claim that those who oppose prostitution do so necessarily from a religious standpoint, as though there were any shortage of ethical atheists in the world. The moral principles that govern or influence conduct often have no basis other than our own innate sense of what is or is not harmful human behaviour. Prostitution is damaging to the human psyche on every conceivable level; it is exactly its harmful, degrading nature that gives rise to the instant sense of objection we feel when we imagine prostitution as a feature in the lives of the women we love.
So let us stand firm on these points: That prostitution exists because of the male demand for it, and that we know damn well and will not be shaken in our assertion that it is flat-out wrong. There is a reason we are fought so consistently on these points; the reason is our opponents know we can win on them.
Let me repeat that I have come here today to ask for the support of every woman in this room in fighting prostitution. Please hear this as a call to action. Across Europe, our politicians are beginning to discuss prostitution more frequently, and just this February the European Parliament voted by an overwhelming majority to adopt the Honeyball report, which calls for a Europe wide adoption of the Nordic Model. When your politicians speak out, please support them by letters both public and private. When they do not, please encourage them to do so. When you see abolitionist campaigns spring up – and you will see more of them; the abolitionist movement is growing – please lend your time and your energy and your voice.
I am working with a group called SPACE International. SPACE stands for ‘Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment’. Our membership spans seven countries now and all of us have made the deeply painful sacrifice of speaking out publicly about our abuse in the sex-trade. We have friends and allies in several international organisations and we are gaining ground, but we cannot do this without the support of women in the general public. I encourage you to join RadFemUK and other groups like them, and to support their actions by sharing and disseminating their campaigns and materials. We need a groundswell of support from women, but maybe before that happens, we need to remind women that the bodies of their daughters would be just as welcome in the brothels and the red-light zones as ours ever were, should the circumstances of their lives ever happen to place them there.
Please note, this is the article I complained about yesterday, but I think the information is too important not to re-blog.
At least 10,000 unaccompanied child refugees have disappeared after arriving in Europe, according to the EU’s criminal intelligence agency. Many are feared to have fallen into the hands of organised trafficking syndicates.
In the first attempt by law enforcement agencies to quantify one of the most worrying aspects of the migrant crisis, Europol’s chief of staff told the Observer that thousands of vulnerable minors had vanished after registering with state authorities.
Brian Donald said 5,000 children had disappeared in Italy alone, while another 1,000 were unaccounted for in Sweden. He warned that a sophisticated pan-European “criminal infrastructure” was now targeting refugees. “It’s not unreasonable to say that we’re looking at 10,000-plus children. Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don’t know where they are, what they’re doing or whom they are with.”
The plight of unaccompanied child refugees has emerged as one of the most pressing issues in the migrant crisis. Last week it was announced that Britain would accept more unaccompanied minors from Syria and other conflict zones. According to Save the Children, an estimated 26,000 unaccompanied children entered Europe last year. Europol, which has a 900-strong force of intelligence analysts and police liaison officers, believes 27% of the million arrivals in Europe last year were minors.
“Whether they are registered or not, we’re talking about 270,000 children. Not all of those are unaccompanied, but we also have evidence that a large proportion might be,” said Donald, indicating that the 10,000 figure is likely to be a conservative estimate of the actual number of unaccompanied minors who have disappeared since entering Europe.
In October, officials in Trelleborg, southern Sweden, revealed that some 1,000 unaccompanied refugee children who had arrived in the port town over the previous month had gone missing. On Tuesday a separate report, again from Sweden, warned that many unaccompanied refugees vanished and that there was “very little information about what happens after the disappearance”.
In the UK the number of children who disappear soon after arriving as asylum seekers has doubled over the past year, raising fears that they are also being targeted by criminal gangs.
Mariyana Berket, of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said: “Unaccompanied minors from regions of conflict are by far the most vulnerable population; those without parental care that have either been sent by their families to get into Europe first and then get the family over, or have fled with other family members.”
Donald confirmed Europol had received evidence some unaccompanied child refugees in Europe had been sexually exploited. In Germany and Hungary, the former a popular destination country for refugees and migrants, with the latter an important transit state, large numbers of criminals had been caught exploiting migrants, he said. “An entire [criminal] infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow. There are prisons in Germany and Hungary where the vast majority of people arrested and placed there are in relation to criminal activity surrounding the migrant crisis,” said Donald.
The police agency has also documented a disturbing crossover between organised gangs helping to smuggle refugees into the EU and human-trafficking gangs exploiting them for sex work and slavery. He said that longstanding criminal gangs known to be involved in human trafficking, whose identity had been logged in the agency’s Phoenix database, were now being caught exploiting refugees.
I mean, look at this last paragraph “sex work and slavery”, for fucks sake, he can write ‘slavery’, but he’s too afraid of the sex industry lobby to write ‘sex slavery’?
How fucked up is it that the commercial sexual exploitation of children is separated out from slavery?
As I said yesterday, the author is on twitter: @townsendmark
Why not let him know that his terminology is on the side of the child rapists?
A study of the impact of legalized prostitution has found that countries where prostitution is legal experience larger reported human trafficking inflows than countries in which prostitution is prohibited.
Professor Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a team of researchers analyzed data on human trafficking from a global sample of 116 countries in order to determine what effect a country’s domestic policy on prostitution has on trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.
The authors described international human trafficking as “one of the dark sides of globalization,” where the victims, the vast majority of whom are women and girls, end up being sexually exploited through prostitution.
Domestic policy on prostitution in countries of destination, the researchers found, has “a marked effect.”
“Most victims of international human trafficking are women and girls coerced into the sex industry abroad,” said Professor Neumayer. “We wanted to find out if legalized prostitution increases or reduces demand for trafficked women.”
The researchers considered two opposing economic theories that could come into play to support their findings: the “scale effect” where legalized prostitution leads to an expansion of the prostitution market, thus increasing human trafficking, and the “substitution effect” that reduces demand for trafficked women as legal prostitutes are favored over trafficked ones.
“One theory is that legalized prostitution reduces demand because legally residing prostitutes are favoured over trafficked ones after legalization,” Professor Neumayer wrote.
“However, our research suggests that in countries where prostitution is legalized, there is such a significant expansion of the prostitution market that the end result is larger reported inflows of human trafficking. While legalizing prostitution can have positive effects on the working conditions of those legally employed in the industry, it also appears to boost the market for this fast-growing global criminal industry.”
The research team identified the contrasting domestic policies on prostitution of Sweden, Germany and Denmark as significant examples that were representative of their conclusions.
In 1999 Sweden passed legislation that criminalized the buying of sex, and decriminalized the selling of sex. The principle behind this legislation is clearly stated in the government’s literature on the law: “In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of women and children and constitutes a significant social problem… gender equality will remain unattainable so long as men buy, sell and exploit women and children by prostituting them.”
The legislation virtually wiped out prostitution and sex trafficking in Sweden. The Swedish government estimates that since 1999 only 200 to 400 women and girls have been annually trafficked into Sweden for prostitution, while in neighboring Finland the number is reported to be 15,000 to 17,000.
Germany legalized prostitution in 2002. The researchers found that “Germany showed a sharp increase in reports of human trafficking upon fully legalizing prostitution in 2002.”
Moreover, reports from German authorities have shown that legalization has not had the expected “workplace” benefits for prostitutes, nor has it improved the situation for German women at large.
The LSE researchers’ examination of Denmark, where “self-employed prostitution” was decriminalized in 1999, revealed that the number of human trafficking victims was more than four times that of Sweden, although the population size of Sweden is about 40 percent larger than Denmark.
The LSE study corroborates a 2003 study by the Scottish government on the consequences of prostitution policies in several countries. That study found that countries that had legalized and/or regulated prostitution had a dramatic increase in all facets of the sex industry, saw an increase in the involvement of organized crime in the sex industry, and found a dismaying increase in child prostitution, trafficking of women and girls and violence against women.
In an article posted a few days ago, the commercial sexual exploitation of children was referred to as ‘sex work’.
I am writing to the Guardian to complain, for all the good it will do. Please feel free to use the below message as a template.
I wish to complain about the use of the term ‘sex work’ in a recent article, describing the commercial sexual exploitation of refugee children in Europe (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/30/fears-for-missing-child-refugees).
It is entirely wrong to refer to commercial sexual abuse as ‘work’, no child can legally consent to ‘sex work’ in any part of the world, including in countries that take a decriminalisation approach to prostitution, and being sexually abused is not ‘work’ by any meaningful measure.
By the Guardian’s own guidelines (http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-c), ‘child pornography’ should be referred to as child abuse images. Therefore a recording of a ‘child sex worker’ doing ‘sex work’ would be an image of abuse, but the creation of that abuse image would just be ‘work’.
Calling the commercial sexual exploitation of children ‘sex work’ stops it being seen as a sex abuse issue, and reduces it to a labour issue. It also helps to make invisible the adults actually doing the abuse, and the demand for child victims.
These are the emails I am going to send it too:
If you are willing to include a name, address, and phone number, a letter to the editor is possible:
(although the article was posted on a Saturday, and has ‘theguardian’ in it’s website address, it appears to be an Observer article)
I will update in the unlikely event I get a response.
EDIT: The author is Mark Townsend, and he is on twitter: @townsendmark
If you are on twitter, please ask him why he is referring to child victims of commercial sexual exploitation as ‘sex workers’, and remind him of the Guardian’s guide lines for reporting other forms of child sexual exploitation (http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-c)
Pauling has been contracted by Playboy and “other well known [porn] companies” and spent 9 years working in the industry.
“Donny Pauling recruited 500 1st time porn actresses. He says most were college students.”
Donny Pauling, from a US radio interview, also featuring Dr Gail Dines, available on YouTube: