The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has gone to campaigners against rape in warfare, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege.
Ms Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people.
Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who, along with his colleagues, has treated tens of thousands of victims.
Some 331 individuals and organisations were nominated for the prestigious peace award this year.
The winners announced in the Norwegian capital Oslo on Friday won the award for their “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war”, Berit Reiss-Andersen, the Nobel committee chair, said.
The pair both made a “crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes”, Ms Reiss-Andersen added.
“You often get them late afternoon on a Friday. If somebody doesn’t want to go home, that’s when you get these conversations,” says Alison Hamnett, director of operations across the north for Brook. They may start with asking for free condoms, but eventually the real story emerges: sexual exploitation, abusive relationships, precarious lives. Girls who don’t even feel entitled to refuse sex, let alone insist on protecting themselves.
Some are guarded. “Particularly if they are being groomed, they will have the answers to the questions down pat,” says Hamnett. “But the receptionist will say she saw a car outside drop them off – and the same car is coming with lots of young girls …” Posters hanging in the waiting room of the Manchester clinic where we meet explain the difference between exploitative and loving relationships: no, it’s not OK if he offers a roof over your head and expects sex in return.
The Burnley, Blackburn and Oldham clinics tend to see more grooming-gang victims, says Hamnett. In Liverpool, she found them dealing with a young homeless man, released from prison, who had been having sex in broad daylight in a car park while intoxicated. Manchester saw a young Muslim girl who was being radicalised. The checklist used with clients ranges from female genital mutilation to mental health issues. “We had a young woman of about 17, very intelligent, got all her A-levels and went to university,” says Hamnett. “She was bipolar and, when she was on her meds, she was great. When she wasn’t, she’d sell herself for sex.” The clinic helped her until she was too old to use its service, which is restricted to under-19s. They don’t know where she is now.
Brook’s expertise is in this area – where sexuality, deep-seated social problems and mental health issues collide – and is, says Hallgarten, what makes them “very good value for money”, as identifying the root cause of sexual risk-taking offers more chance of changing it.
But specialist clinics for vulnerable young people such as these are increasingly merging with more general services to save money. There is a push, says Hamnett, towards using GPs instead for contraception. That may work for young people with happy sex lives, but there is a reason appointments here last for up to 40 minutes, not the 10 minutes a busy GP might offer. “I feel as if we’re almost waiting a few years down the line for teenage pregnancies to go up,” she says ruefully. It is this sense of a clock being turned back that worries many.
Following on from this previous post (and the original blogger does cite the source, I just missed it in the tags), here is the quote and its source:
Ninotchka Rosca was interviewd by Feminist Current last year, and the podcast is available here.
In this episode, I speak with Ninotchka Rosca, an incredibly accomplished activist and writer from the Phillippines. She is the author of six books, including two bestselling novels — The State of War and Twice Blessed (which won the 1993 American Book Award for Excellence in Literature) — a two-time recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and has written for numerous magazines and websites. She was a political prisoner under the dictatorial government of Ferdinand Marcos and went on to work with Amnesty International and the PEN American Center, drafting statements on women and human rights at the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and the UN’s World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna. A powerful anti-prostitution advocate, Ninotchka was press secretary of the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal on Japan’s Military Sexual Slavery which convicted Japan’s wartime era leadership for enslaving and exploiting Asian “comfort women.”
Ninotchka founded and was the first chairperson of Gabriela Network, a US-based organization of women and women’s rights advocates supporting the Philippine women’s movement, which eventually became AF3IRM, a transnational feminist organization. AF3IRM’s national summit will be held on October 21st in New York City, and will look at the foundational ideas of American feminism — concepts and wisdom drawn from the tribal societies of this continent, particularly the Iroquois, with whom pioneers of the American women’s movement were in touch.
A court in Lancashire last month jailed six men and one woman for their part in a sex trafficking ring. The group had been bringing women from Romania, and sexually exploiting them in a network of brothels around the UK. The court heard the key to this gang’s operation was the use of a classified ads website – Vivastreet – on which they advertised women to sex buyers.
The group didn’t have to worry about disguising the prostitution adverts they were placing; Vivastreet openly hosts and charges for “escorts” listings. During the investigation, one of the suspects was found to have spent more than £25,000 on advertising victims on the site. Yet Detective Sergeant Stuart Peall, who led the investigation, discovered that, astonishingly, when one man placed what amounted to more than £25,000-worth of prostitution adverts – for multiple women – the web company did not respond by calling the police, or even by refusing his requests. Instead, Peall says, they gave the suspect “his own account manager”.
Vivastreet is one of the “prostitution procurement websites” identified in a recent inquiry by the all-party parliamentary group on prostitution as enabling industrial-scale sexual exploitation. Along with its competitor, Adultwork, the site allows users to shop for sexual access to women’s bodies. It is free to use for the sex buyer, who can search profiles according to his location and contact the person being advertised (or the person selling them) via a mobile number listed in the profile. The profits come from fees charged to those placing the adverts.
Vivastreet’s French business was interrupted on 4 June when the Paris prosecutor opened an investigation into Vivastreet France for aggravated pimping. Last week, Vivastreet France shut down its prostitution adverts. This comes in the wake of Adultwork and similar sites dropping prostitution adverts in the US after a new law holding web companies criminally and civilly liable for knowingly facilitating sex trafficking came into force in April. In Britain, prostitution advertising websites continue to operate, the UK’s patchy and inadequate laws against commercial sexual exploitation leaving sufficient leeway for them to profiteer openly.
France has led the way by taking action on prostitution websites under comprehensive anti-pimping laws and, crucially, tackling the demand underpinning them – by criminalising paying for sex, and decriminalising selling sex. It is time the British government did the same and finally woke up to the sexual abuse scandal playing out in brothels across the country.
Ministers will come under intense pressure from a cross-party group of MPs this week to follow the US by banning so-called “prostitution websites” amid mounting evidence that they are enabling a huge growth in sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women to the UK for profit.
Members of the all-party group on prostitution have secured a parliamentary debate during which they will demand that the Home Office acts to make websites such as Vivastreet and Adultwork accountable under law for encouraging and profiting from sexual exploitation.
The websites make money by placing advertisements on behalf of gangs and individuals running networks of women, many of whom are trafficked from abroad. Vivastreet operates in 19 countries and is owned by an offshore holding company based in Jersey. Adultwork is registered in Panama.
A recent inquiry by the all-party group heard evidence from the Joint Slavery and Trafficking Analysis Centre – a multi-agency intelligence unit set up by the police, the government, and the National Crime Agency – which concluded that “adult services websites represent the most significant enabler of sexual exploitation in the UK”.
This was because the sites are at the heart of a money-spinning online industry that allows running networks of women to connect with men who want to buy sex. Investigators believe much of the profit made by those managing the women is then used to fund a wider network under which vulnerable women are sought out abroad and systematically trafficked to the UK.
Amid rising outrage about the use of such websites, US President Donald Trump signed a bill earlier this year that gives federal and state prosecutors greater power to act against platforms that make money out of such advertisements. The bill also enables victims and state attorneys general to file lawsuits against the sites.
The MPs say it is now crucial that the Home Office follows the US and changes the law in the UK to make such websites directly accountable under law for encouraging exploitation and trafficking. They will demand swift action from Theresa May, who made action to stamp out modern slavery a top priority of her time at the Home Office and reiterated the same commitment on entering Downing Street.
Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham and a member of the all-party group, said she would attend the debate and press whichever Home Office minister represents the government to follow America’s swift action. “UK legislation needs to be radically overhauled to keep pace with the changing face of prostitution,” Champion said. “We need to update our laws to make websites legally accountable for facilitating and profiting from sexual exploitation. The idea that commercial prostitution sites make it safer for women is not true.”
Diane Martin, who was awarded a CBE for services to vulnerable women and survived trafficking and prostitution in her late teens, now supports exploited women. “As a survivor, my perspective means firsthand experience of the realities of prostitution,” she said. “My years of supporting hundreds women to exit prostitution has also only strengthened my fervent belief that we are failing some of the most vulnerable women in society unless we address the demand of the buyers and the greed of the pimps.
“Currently, UK legislation is inadequate to deal with this. I want to call on MPs, and all with the power to make positive change, to see the reality of prostitution, to be on the side of the most vulnerable and to adopt an approach where pimps, brothel owners and third-party exploiters are not tolerated.”
This article was published in the Observer, which is editorially independent from the Guardian, but shares its website.
It’s almost laughable how much the Guardian is dedicated to the ideology of ‘sex work’, and calling commercially raped women and children ‘sex workers’: the Observer places the article under the category ‘prostitution’, while on the front page of the Guardian, it is under the category ‘sex workers’, and the word ‘prostitution’ has been taken out of the headline.
A London-based nurse has been convicted of trafficking five Nigerian women into Germany to work as prostitutes after subjecting them to “voodoo” rituals.
Josephine Iyamu forced the women to swear oaths to hand over money to her during “juju” ceremonies.
Iyamu, 51, formerly of Bermondsey, was convicted of five counts of arranging or facilitating travel for sexual exploitation at Birmingham Crown Court.
Jurors also found her guilty of perverting the course of justice.
The rituals saw the women forced to eat chicken hearts, drink blood containing worms, and have powder rubbed into cuts, the court heard.
Iyamu is the first person to be convicted under Modern Slavery Act laws passed in 2015, allowing prosecutions of British citizens for overseas sexual trafficking.
She was born in Liberia, but became a British citizen in 2009 having been allowed to stay in the UK due to her nursing qualifications.
Her husband, 60-year-old Efe Ali-Imaghodor, was acquitted of doing acts intending to pervert the course of justice.
Iyamu declared a modest income of around £14,500 in 2016/17 from her work as an NHS agency nurse, the court heard.
But after her arrest last year investigators found she was able to afford to spend thousands on air travel and a large home in Benin City, Nigeria.
Prosecutor Simon Davis said by performing rituals Iyamu gained psychological control over the women.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said Iyamu had “enlisted the help of a voodoo priest” to put the women through a “juju” ceremony which was “designed to exert control” over them.
The victims and their families were threatened with serious harm if they broke their oath to Iyamu, according to the NCA.
The court heard Iyamu was “willing to put the women at risk of serious injury and or death as they made their journey from Nigeria to Europe”.
They were too afraid to challenge her or fail to pay her back tens of thousands of Euros she charged them to be trafficked into Germany, the court was told.
Opening the case, Mr Davis said: “The debts incurred by the women were enforced through fear.
“Each of the women were put through what is known to some as a voodoo ceremony.”