Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lies About Sex-Trafficking: a Pre-Olympic Sport

The usual rubbish that comes out in the press before a big international sporting event is back, according to the New Internatonalist: journalists throughout the 'free' press are already salivating about the '40,000 (or some such large number) forced prostitutes' who will be compelled to work during the London Olympics. The same kind of unresearched bumf came out before the World Cup in South Africa and various other sporting events, going back years. It's not even specualtion; there is nothing to support the articles but guesswork and other, equally underresearched articles from other, equally idiotic journalists.

The worrying aspect of the articles before the South Africa World Cup is that the country has some of the worst figures for HIV prevalence in the world. Therefore, half a million or a million visitors (depending on which source you believe) faced a very real risk of being infected with HIV, hepatitis or other blood-borne diseases if they happened to go for a tattoo, dental treatment, medical treatment or any number of other procedures. UNAIDS, despite being aware that such risks exist, choose not to inform Africans, preferring just to warn their own employees. When it comes to Africans, their response is that 80-90% of transmission is from heterosexual contact. But in the run-up to the World Cup, they didn't even warn visitors to the country.

As the New Internationalist points out, the figure is purely imaginary, probably inflated by those who feel all sex work is also sex trafficking. One of the problems with this is that there is little way of telling where the real trafficking is taking place, and therefore where to concentrate efforts to reduce it. But why traffic thousands of people for a very short event, anyway? 40,000 sex workers would barely get enough business from the Olympics attendees who happen to be male, sexually active and remotely interested in having sex with someone who has been forced into the business against their will (as opposed to those who make a choice to be sex workers, for whatever reason).

There are people being trafficked, but if police concentrate all their efforts on commercial sex work, they will have difficulty identifying those who are doing it against their will. And if they think trafficked sex workers will suddenly be easy to find during the olympics, this is not going to be their 'lucky break'. But I'm sure the police know that, even if journalists don't (I'd like to say tabloid journalists but I don't think it is confined to them). Apparently there is increased police activity, with the predictable excesses that go with such measures, but let's hope they quickly realize that they have better things to do.

Luckily, unlike in South Africa, there is little risk of being infected with HIV or anything else through medical or cosmetic exposure. At least, people won't face any higher a risk than patients currently do in UK health facilities. But sudden spikes in media and political interest in such issues doesn't help anyone, the women who are mistreated by the police, women and girls who happen to be trafficked, or anyone. The various illegal practices that surround sex work, which probably arise from the fact that it hasn't yet been decriminalized, are likely to continue, unaffected by the waxing and waning of these mostly trumped-up moral crusades.

[For more about non-sexual HIV risks, such as through unsafe healthcare practices, see the Don't Get Stuck With HIV site.]



Anonymous said...

Sex Trafficking/Slavery is used by many groups as a attempt to outlaw all prostitution around the world by saying that all women are victims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims.

This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists, politicians, and religious organizations that receive funds from the government. There are very strong groups who promote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing, enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the public to believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sex business unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They say that 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims.

They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders and wipe out all consensual prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. There is almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs. Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groups want to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adult woman. No one stands up to say this is foolish, the passive public says nothing.

These groups even say that all men who marry foreign women are terrible sex predators who take advantage of these "helpless foreign women wives".

These groups believe that two adults having consensual sex in private should be outlawed. Since they believe that it is impossible for a man to have sex with a woman without abusing the woman in the process.

Sex trafficking is illegal and the pentities are very severe. It is very difficult to force someone to be a sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public and not have the customers turn the traffickers in to the police. They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met. They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well. They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. They would need to prevent the general public from reporting them into the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare. These criminals would be breaking dozens of major laws not just one. Kidnapping itself is a serious crime. There are many laws against sex trafficking, sex slavery, kidnapping, sex abuse, rape, sexual harassment etc. If someone is behind it, they will be breaking many serious laws, be in big trouble, and will go to jail for many long years. And do you actually think that there is a long line of people who want to have a career as a sex slave kidnapping pimp?

Here are some good websites about sex trafficking:

Simon said...

Thank you for your comments and links. It's amazing how things can be dressed up to suite the agenda of an overweening power: it's all terrorism; it's the drug trade; mafia/organized crime; sex offenders' registers that don't distinguish between minor misdemeanors and serious crimes, etc.