I was on, yes, Facebook tonight and noticed that a really good friend of The Lady had posted a link to an excellent article from the NYT. It deals with the endemic rise of sex slavery in the US - as opposed to 'traditional' prostitution - and how law enforcement sometimes struggles to notice the difference between the two. At 11 pages it's perhaps a bit bulkier than most articles we blog-jobs will read, but it's an extremely important piece, and just as relevant now as when it was written.
This friend of The Lady, who we'll name 'Ms AS', is a really lovely person and incredibly intelligent. She does have a tendency to grasp onto an idea and blindly argue it without acknowledging differing arguments. Usually she's right, and everyone else is wrong. By usually of course, I mean always.
The article had made her understandably angry. When I read it myself, I felt physically sick and absolutely drained and depressed at the content therein.
Of course...then there were the comments.
Now, y'all know that I can be less than sympathetic towards people on facebook. Often I can be a complete prick about it, but sometimes I think a little rant is necessary. Ms AS, in her vehemence not only posted the link to every woman's wall she knew, but also deleted comments that she didn't agree with.
Hmm, I love the smell of unfettered discourse in the twilight.
So, I'm making a record of my response in case mine gets the chop.
Here's what was written, note how the sole bloke gets attacked:
Miss AS: Read this; to be aware and for your own protection. SEX SLAVERY IN MODERN TIMES *link*
Mr JSN: Shocking.
Ms AS: Read the whole article though, it really will make you feel sick
Ms JB: "dozens of men came and went". Who are all of these men and what the hell is wrong with them?! Its so sad that this happens, and even sadder that there are so many 'John's' who finance it.
Ms AS: Yeah no exactly I completely agree JB, it is really tragic, if there was no demand for this, there would be no money to make from it and no industry. I don't understand either who these men are and what is in their head, just so sick.
Ms LGC: Horrid horrid horrid, thank you for bringing it to my attention AS. Some of these men are just average people... Around my office there are many "dance shows" and apparently the area turns into a prostitute area in the evening...so... Now I know what "working late" means ;)
"there are 30,000 to 50,000 sex slaves in captivity in the United States at any given time." What an outrageous number. We don't just merely need sympathy for these victims, we need ACTION! Oh but wait, these are merely women and I'm sure they like it.
Mr JSN: Why is my comment gone / deleted?
Ms LGC: your "shocking" comment is still there...
Mr JSN: I had another comment about how this article is rather old and hopefully this is now stopped. That must have been censored for some odd reason...
Ms LGC: hahaha, the article might be old, but still very relevant. Hopefully not that relevant in the US anymore (as action hopefully has been taken) but as a worldwide topic - sadly too painfully relevant...
Mr JSN: I know for a fact that in the UK this issue has been tackled rather well. Obviously we can never stop this sort of things 100% but they seem to have cracked down on alot of them. The British police has had a few joint operations and they go...t rid of quite a few of these gangs.
In Asia, Africa and the Middle East however, it beggars belief.
Ms LGC: I hope you're correct. However, everyone 1 is too many and what we need to start with is targeting the education of our men and their mental health.
Mr JSN: I disagree
It's not a issue of how well educated these men are; you will find that top lawyers, politicians and businessmen often frequent and abuse women. This is also not a mental health issue - these men are often quite sound. It is a case of 'power' or the need to exert 'power' over weak fragile women.
We need to decrease poverty levels (via increased education for women so they have better chances in their countries and also to facilitate the growth of their local economies) and then to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor (so that the poor are not abused).
Ms LGC: I completely agree with your second point. However, with "educate our men" I meant, we should change the way women are being portrayed in our societies (this should also be done by women). Furthermore, I do believe it is a mental health issue, especially when we talk about men who abuse 12 year old girls, this is not solely about increasing economic innitiative and possibilities for the poor.
Mr JSN: Playing devils advocate here but look at how long it has taken women to be emancipated in Europe and for various equality rights to be established. These regions are quite behind when compared to the Western world, it would be near impossib...le for them to 'catch up'. If for hundreds or thousands of years, women has been portrayed in their culture, society or religion as 'to be abused' - what makes you think that 10 - 20 years of lobbying / reforms / globalisation will change things?
But the girls in the articles are not 12 year olds. They are adults, young adults, I take your point.
Yes, abusing 12 year olds is a mental health issue.
Ms LGC: Yes, but they start out at very young ages.. and then grow into it - as also mentioned in the article. Moreover, even IF in these countries the women are not emancipated etc etc - they are trafficked to the West - our countries and our governments. If our men had no desire to abuse these women, the problems would stay in their countries and societies, but sadly enough it doesn't. I condone all sorts of sexual exploitation worldwide, but especially when it happens in my country by my men.
Mr JSN: They don't call it the oldest profession in the world for no reason....
Ms LGC: Because men are in charge ;)
Ms AS: It's not a profession Mr JSN to be a forced sex slave kept in a prison-like environment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mr JSN: I give up
Ms JB: He obviously didnt read the article. If he did, he would know that some of the children were even younger than 12- toddlers even. And no matter how old they are, it is wrong to keep people against thier will. How can you call rape, torture, and murder a profession? So shameless.
Ms LGC: Most clients are not aware that the women are trafficking victims and believe they are engaged in prostitution of their own free will. In reality, the overwhelming majority of women working in prostitution are victims of sexual slavery."
....... I'm sure the 3 year old boy and 16 year old girl want to have sex with 15 - 20 (even up to 50 sometimes!) different men.
Ms AS: I second that JB. It's not a profession but a crime - and one of the vilest imaginable.
Ms AS: unfortunately LCG i think these men that go to prostitutes are very well aware and they dont care, they just want this ''service'' to be available in case they need it and they dont care about the conditions of the people who supply this even if those conditions are completely inhumane and degrading. The only way to stop this is through the cooperation between police, law enforcers, informants and normal decent citizens -men and women.
Me: Just my two cents worth, but some of the responses here are completely unreasonable, especially some of the ones directed at Mr JSN, so excuse the length of this.
No-one could possibly believe that the crimes mentioned in the article are an...ything other than despicable, but it's totally counter-productive to argue in broad strokes with an issue like this. JSN clearly wasn't calling sex slavery a profession!
The article wasn't talking about the evils of prostitution, it was concerned with the sex-trafficking of vulnerable girls (a large proportion of whom are underage) and the increasing levels of slaves in the US (and elsewhere) as opposed to the 'Pretty Woman' fallacy of prostitution that Hollywood perpetuates.
First of all, if you automatically equate all forms of prostitution with sex-slavery, then you're allowing many more people than the estimated 50,000 annually (in the US alone) to fall through the gaps. If people don't realise the difference between, say, regulated prostitution in Amsterdam or Nevada, quasi-legal escorting in most of Europe and the US and then instances of slavery and pederasty which are reported in this article, then there's a risk of them all being pigeon-holed together. If, as the article states, a lot of officers, lawmakers etc don't understand that there are increasing levels of sex slaves in their vice arrests then the problem will get worse.
JSN wasn't saying the article wasn't about sex slavery, he was merely pointing out the difficulty of overnight change. The phrase 'the oldest profession in the world' is accurate, but not as some apologia arguing that slavery is okay, just pointing out that the sex industry is probably never going to stop. There will always be demand and there will always be supply, and that's the most pressing issue at the moment, how that supply is filled.
Accusing him of not having read the article because he was answering someone's opinion just reads as petulant, and actually shows that maybe y'all haven't understood the point of the article. He clearly wasn't equating sex slavery to prostitution, and yet you all jump down his throat for pointing out the difficulty in defeating the sex industry.
Secondly, and again about broad strokes, if you make a 'men are the problem' statement and blame the attitude of men as the sole reason for this problem then you're missing the point. It's demonstrably not a single gender issue.
This article doesn't do so, but a lot of the peripheral comments veer almost towards misandry in blaming 'mankind' for sex slavery. Saying 'men are in charge' and 'I'm sure they (the slaves) like it', even if joking/sarcastic just obscures the actual problems raised.
Yeah, some men are fucking sick and think sex can be bought and that women are commodities, but the VAST MAJORITY don't, and to suggest otherwise is completely false. If you demonise men then some of the more prevalent, and solvable, factors (eg: the cyclical nature of abuse, lack of inter-agency cooperation, corruption, lack of exposure of victim reports, lack of rehabilitation, funding cuts etc etc) just get overlooked more easily.
I agree that there needs to be a vast overhaul in attitudes towards women, but it's not only men who need to do so. It's as important that women change their attitudes too because it's a societal issue, not just an affront towards woman. Just as important is that governments make firm commitments against sex slavery (as has occurred in UK and Ireland in the last decade with some success) or that institutions like the catholic church take a firm stance against abuse in its ranks.
"How can you call rape, torture, and murder a profession? So shameless." - again, that's not what JSN said AT ALL. By hurling your misdirected anger at a man for raising legitimate questions and giving opinions on this seriously important matter, you're being counterproductive. This article seriously pissed me off too, it made me feel physically sick in fact, but there are different levels to the sex industry, and it's important to discuss it in specifics and dissect the problem, not just start leveling hysterical accusations.
So this is basically just an argument that I copy and pasted from Facebook. I'm sorry it's so long, but it's a subject that needs to be discussed and I think it's worth reading about and arguing about. I'd love to hear some opinions from any of the dear readers if possible. I hope I didn't sound like I was justifying anything, but I really got annoyed at the way they swarmed against him. What do you think?
Anyway, that'll learn me for getting into a scrap on facebook eh?