This is the most horrifying -- and perhaps the most important -- documentary imaginable. It was originally televised in Britain in 2006. I know that you are probably too busy to watch a full-length right now, but try to find the time to see this. You can go to YouTube, download all the parts as flv files, and then use this program to join them.
MSNBC did a documentary on this a few years ago...I saw it but could only find a couple of links to some text versions. In the first link, SF mayor Gavin Newsom has made it a personal crusade to shut down the illegal massage parlors in his town. In the second one is a snippet of a story of how one Florida teenager was duped by a new "friend" at school, and then kidnapped, drugged and repeatedly raped. Incredibly, the traffickers were transporting her while her family was out searching for her, and they both stopped at the same service station. Her little brother recognized her in the back seat and freed her, by gunpoint.
The biggest lie out there is prostitution is a "victimless" crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who are in this "profession" are there because they feel they have no viable alternative to earn a living.
Nobody has any right to exploit others. This is NOT a "sexual freedom" issue but a human rights one.
Geraldo, Phil Donahue, and all the rest in the media did a horrible disservice when they glorified prostitution on their talk shows, bringing the likes of the fugitive Joe Conforte on to brag about his legal brothels. It desensitized the public of the realities of women who are in this situation. In fact, one could argue the situation for prostitutes is even worse in the legal brothels than those out in the street.
Being used as a human garbage can is not "freedom" by any stretch of the imagination.
I suspect what I have to say will be unpopular. But if you have only just seen these videos then you probably dont understand the full scale of the problem or issue. Perhaps you might like to take a look at some of Mark Ames (and Matt Taibbi's "Whores-R" stories in what used to be the www.exile.ru. I think they have the pieces in www.exiled.com now. You might get a better idea of what some of these girls are thinking. But it certainly isnt just a story about dumb teenage girls and evil pimps. Its about poverty and money. If you knew small town Ukraine or Moldova, then you would understand why some girls take the risk of prostitution (they usually think they will be stripping or waitressing). Since internal travel is difficult in itself, the big jump is getting to any City when you are from the country. It might well involve sleeping with 50 people since you have nothing else to trade. And the worst thing that can happen to them is being sent back home. Far worse than even being a prostitute in the UK or Spain or Germany, cos then you have nothing to show for the misery, suffering and degradation.
You wont end prostitution by outlawing it. What they are doing is already illegal. You will just make these girls afraid to run away.
In the worlds of a favorite song of mine, the essence of the problem is
"because goods are free to move but not people oil is free to move but not people jobs are free to move but not people money is free to move but not people "
These people have been freed to become impossibly poor, with the resources of their country sucked into their big cities. Are you surprised the girls try to escape, while the boys become alcoholics or pimps?
"Because goods are free to move, but not people
posted by Anonymous : 4:50 PM
No, jail the pimps and johns, those who are exploiting the women, and the incidence will decrease. Attack the problem from the DEMAND side, and the supply will dry up eventually.
Amen, Susan. Shame and jail the johns and watch the demand dry up. In fact, Norway, Iceland and Sweden have made procuring sex, but not selling sex illegal. Places that have made prostitution as a trade "legal" are not only aiding human trafficking but increasing other crime as well.
Vanity Fair had a lengthy article on this topic earlier this year: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/05/sex-trafficking-201105
"No, jail the pimps and johns, those who are exploiting the women, and the incidence will decrease. Attack the problem from the DEMAND side, and the supply will dry up eventually."
Ok. So this should reduce prostitution in whichever juridiction you implement these rules down substantially. However I know that you are not suggesting doing this in the Ukraine or Moldova. So what happens to these girls? And wont the "johns" just fly off to the Dominican Republic with a bag full of viagra? All you have done is sweep the problem to neighboring countries.
The cure you suggest implies that you care about sweet American girls, but foreigners deserve to be used as prostitutes. Im sure you dont really think this.
The British eventually banned slavery throughout their dominions and on the high seas. In other words they would intercept any ship suspected of slavery and confiscate the ship if it had slaves aboard. It meant that foreign slaving ships (including American owned slaving ships) would chain the "cargo" together so that if they were intercepted by the Royal Navy, they could get rid of the evidence quickly, by just dropping them overboard.
Personally, if you want to ban it I would suggest an international ban, internationally enforced. But it would be silly to think it wont have perverse effects. The underlying problem is the life these poor kids have in the ex-CIS. Assuming they are naive is silly. Some of the girls who end up in being sex traffiked were naive. But a lot had some idea of what they were getting into. They just didnt know the extent of the mistreatment they would face.
What they wanted was out. And if you lived in the conditions they lived in, you would take big risks to get out too. Personally, I wouldnt take away their right to sell their bodies. I would improve the terms of the trade, and make it harder to make a living as a pimp - an activity which is and should be illegal, same as people trafficking. I dont have a problem with prostitution. I have a problem with organised crime and middle men exploiting women. Making it illegal for men to purchase their services will reduce the demand for their services. So the price will fall. Are you sure that reducing the price of sex will help them?
Forgive me if I offend. I lived in Moscow for a while and picked up strong views on this issue. But I am keen to debate. So if you think I am wrong, to not hestitate to set me straight.
posted by Anonymous : 7:43 AM
Thanks for posting this very important topic on Human Trafficking. I have seen this film twice and still trying to wrap my mind around the excuses as to why we as a global society condone HUMAN SLAVERY, simply because they are women and girls.
People, have been and are poor around the world, but Human Trafficking was not part of the equation and it is increasing daily. We must look at these women as our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, nieces and friend and say ENOUGH! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdYhmcVgaYI
No offense, but I believe the demand side has been under attack for quite some time, much like with illegal drugs. You see how well that has worked for society and stopping demand. I suspect, much like with the drug trade, that very wealthy, influential and powerful people are involved in keeping this stuff going (drugs and slavery and prostitution). If we don't out those people, and make them face justice, filling our jails with the johns and low level pimps will do nothing but increase the private sector incarceration business and create even more criminals.
As was pointed out, paying for sex is already illegal. Enforcement should probably be stepped up, but again, we see how well that has worked for the drug trade. A smarter option would be to use the johns and pimps to get to the real power behind all this. Though I suspect that would require a real paradigm change in our world that would be quite difficult to bring about, what with money being such a powerful force these days.
posted by Gus : 11:55 AM
Nice try, Gus. What are you smoking? Use the pimps and johns to get to the mysterious "power" behind them? You mean behind the standard MALE PSYCHE and/or lack of soul?
The pimps and johns are already targets? You mean highly rewarded rap artists who to this day glorify pimps? You mean johns like David Vitter who are still in power in Washington while the madam who supplied that scum with the women who dressed this mentally ill freak up in diapers is DEAD because she alone was slated for prison??
Is this mysterious power behind the standard entitled male perhaps, in your fevered mind, ::::ALIEN??::::
Watch as many of these documentaries and read as many exposes as you can, Gus. Especially before you offer your uninformed opinion. In just one city, Mayor Newsom of San Francisco is doing the utmost in his power to close down the trade, but he knows he is helpless against the tide, the tsunami level tide of ordinary everyday scum married men frequenting these massage parlors, not giving a damn how the human women they use as flesh rags are obtained for their feeble soulless pleasure.
Denounce the pimps who beat their slaves raw with wire whips and the pasty underhung johns who line up to rape women and girls...or not. Your choice to side with the humans or the scum of the earth.
"However I know that you are not suggesting doing this in the Ukraine or Moldova."
Then you haven't been paying attention, Harry. I only offered a few extra links because it's overwhelming to catch up on this topic, but the links very much have been about drying up the scum demand of American tourists who fuel the sex trade all over the world! So, yes, international solutions are in the works and need to be heeded.
Your attempt to pass this off as concern only for "sweet little American girls" has no bearing on anything posted here. Joseph's link wasn't about American girls nor were any of my links save one small section about a specific case in Florida. Apparently you didn't read any of them.
Spin your own imagined scenario while pretending that the foreign countries I mentioned who have targeted the vile users and jailed the johns have not cleaned up their countries. They have.
Yes, you end slavery by outlawing it worldwide....and shaming those who would engage in it. What the hell else do you suggest? That the poor young people in the miserable Ukraine area should be left alone to sell their bodies to the highest bidding exploiters? Even tho their "profits" are not their own as they're enslaved, drugged, beaten, and raped?
What is your point, since no one was blaming them for their desperation in the first place? That their pimps will beat them more if the prices and demand drop? Are you seriously worried about the consequences of a dried up slavery trade?
Thanks for this important post, Joseph. But I would like to point out that it is not just women and girls: male children are also enslaved in sex trafficking.
I used to think that prostitution could be legal and voluntary if one could eliminate the johns by legalizing it. That has not worked where it has been tried. The best thing to do is to make only the purchase illegal. (And yes, Harry, this should be made effective worldwide as a human rights issue.)
Right now, some victims do not seek help as they fear arrest and prosecution. If only buying were illegal, there might still be prostitution, as willing adult sellers would not turn in the buyers. But it would be more rare.
Trafficking in minors should get you a life sentence. It matches the damage done to many victims.
President GW Bush actually did try to address this issue, one of his rare policy issues that I liked.
posted by djmm : 10:10 PM
Im sorry if I misunderstood your position. I did read all the posts, but I misunderstood for some reason and thought you were advocating national bans on the purchasers of prostitution services, like Norway or Sweden etc.
However, I have my doubts about the likelihood of substantial legislative change of the type you seem to be describing on a world wide basis. I doubt it, because the trade is very profitable and not all countries view the problem in the same way. I have not noticed any significant changes in the way prostitution is conducted in Eastern Europe. Admittedly I no longer live there so I am not in as good a position to comment, but I have friends who still live there and others who are nationals and travel back and forth. Frankly I would argue that these state dont have the resources to eliminate it at the grass roots in these countries. Not enough clean policeman. Not political will. I remember being told that the hookers are tapped as a souce of income by the moscow police.
So if this is what you advocate - a comprehensive international ban on purchasing prostitution services - please forgive me if I suggest efforts in this direction will amount to nothing in practice. Not a good outcome.
If its implemented piece meal then it will have an effect. It will reduce demand for prostitution services in the countries which implement the ban. It will also result in much more sex tourism to countries that dont. Im not really enthusiastic about this outcome. For one I suspect all prostitutes will be worse off financially. Secondly I think that the pay rates for migrant prostitutes will be lower. And finally I think the girls (and boys) will have even less chance of escaping the life. I think this kind of piece meal regulation would drive it underground.
I think this because of the experience in banning other reprehensible activities, like drugs for example. I wonder how many Americans think of the horrible mess in Mexico when they ponder their country's policy towards drugs.
As for what I would suggest, well my vote would be for allowing free immigration from these countries to the West. You might also wanna make all assets of people convicted of pimping subject to confiscation. If you wanna ban buying prostitution services then fine. But the underlying reality of other peoples miserable lives wont have changed a bit. Whatever made them think that that "stripping job" in Amsterdam, was a good risk (when it clearly isnt) will still be there.
"You mean behind the standard MALE PSYCHE and/or lack of soul? "
Finally, I have tried to be as polite as possible in my reply. I disagree with your suggestions. However that does not make you a bad person (or me a good person). I am much saddened by the terrible stories of suffering one hears from these women and girls. I know that the one thing their oppressors have in common is their maleness (generally). Please dont think this is a good reason to be abusive to all men. My sister loves me, as does my mum, and I hope my wife. Insulting 50% of the population doesnt help make this case. And if maleness is the problem what would the solution be? Let me be frank. I must be an asshole because many people tell me I am. However, I am trying to be fair and trying to debate. What exactly did I say to offend?
posted by Anonymous : 10:20 AM
"Denounce the pimps who beat their slaves raw with wire whips and the pasty underhung johns who line up to rape women and girls...or not. Your choice to side with the humans or the scum of the earth."
Obviously, I side with humans. The rest of your reply is filled with assumptions about me and men in general that I can only assume come from your own "fevered" brain (as you put it). Perhaps I was not very clear in my original comment, I apologize. I agree with Harry (and yourself) that this needs to be an international human rights issue. I just wondered if trying to stop demand wouldn't have similar results to the attempts to stop demand for drugs over the years.
Also, your mention of David Vitter was exactly the what I was talking about when I mentioned people with power and money (who seem to have a very different set of laws applied to them than you or I). Aliens???? Really???
posted by Gus : 10:32 AM
I hate to say it, but this will likely only end when the victims start eviscerating the kidnappers, pimps, and rapists. If it becomes too scary to kidnap women and girls, because if you do they themselves are apt to leave your guts strewn somewhere, some of those bastards will likely be less apt to think it's a good way to make a living. In general killing people is not a good way to go, but if someone is trying to do that to you, it's a perfectly reasonable response.