What a world we live
in, a male-framed world, where global economics sets in
concrete a system of winners and losers--with poverty,
disadvantage, and minimal choices for many as the
consequence. The climate is ripe for men's sexual
exploitation of women without bounds, abuse of the worst
kind. Women are set up to lose in this system, and like
buzzards circling around an ailing member of the herd,
businessmen prey upon the globe's most disadvantaged
women, entrapping them within their web of despicable sex
slavery enterprises, trading women far and wide as sex
In this globalized economy, impoverished countries have
been increasingly forced to accommodate multinational
large-scale farming and short-lived manufacturing
enterprises. This has resulted in social dislocation,
escalated unemployment, and increasing poverty, impacting
hardest on women. Lower statused, less educated, with
limited work options, women are the most vulnerable to
the systems of exploitation. They earn only a portion of
the males meager wage, are last hired and first
fired and when, as is not uncommon, mens warring is
added as a demon overlay, the cumulative effect of
widowhood is devastating. Partnerless, poor women, often
with dependent children, are socially abandoned. Men,
quick to see an advantage, wave a carrot of economic
"opportunity" in front of women's noses: male
money for women's flesh, traded around the globe.
Today, this trade in womens bodies is a global
business grossing over six billion dollars annually for
the traffickers, and growing fast. The UN estimates that
about four million women are being trafficked as sex
slaves. Some 50,000 women are brought into the US every
year, predominantly from the Ukraine, Albania, the
Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and Nigeria. Women from
China, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, Colombia and
Vietnam are used in Australian brothels, legal and
illegal. Traffickers sell the women into the prostitution
network for $4000 - 5000 for short-term contracted work.
The women are then forced to pay off the fee for their
"owners" by free "servicing" of up to
500 men, in 12-plus hour shifts, seven days a week,
before earning a low fee for sexual services.
This male sexual violation of women is receiving the
highest sanction. The United Nations, in a 1998 report by
its official labor agency, the International Labor
Organization (ILO), blatantly legitimated sexual
exploitation as an appropriate, key component of gross
national product, calling upon governments of poorer
countries to take economic advantage of "The Sex
Sector": regulated, expanded, and taxed. The cost
for women was conspicuously missing from the economic
equation: no mention of the rapes, beatings,
imprisonments, sexual abuse, servitude, illness, and the
permanent destruction of millions of women's souls.
One wonders how such an insidious "meat trade,"
a unique feature of "first world" male
ingenuity, could be tolerated in "developed,"
"civilized" societies. If one looks below the
surface, just a tissue thickness deep, it is not
difficult to see the neat male sleight of hand that keeps
women in their sexually violated place. While the dirty
little male business of sex trafficking is sliming the
globe, the practice of males prostituting women (and
children, and less frequently, other men) is presented as
clean: a legitimate career choice for "sex
workers." But it is obvious who benefits here, who
maintains the upper hand in the power system, and in
whose favor the unsavory practice of legitimized sexual
abuse is weighted. Men set the parameters. Men establish
the power relations. Men demand and obtain exploitative
sexual "services" from women: men only have to
negotiate the price.
The lack of outrage against sex slavery and the global
system of prostitution is deafening. Laws are inadequate,
few traffickers are investigated, and a pitiful number of
convictions ensue. A mild slap on the wrist is often the
harshest penalty, sending very encouraging messages to
those men poised to enter the lucrative market.
Traffickers are linked to sophisticated, professionally
organized criminal networks worldwide, involving
immigration and government officials where kickbacks are
many: sexual favors, money or, at the very least, a
simple strengthening of the system of male sexual
exploitation of women. As lawmakers and law enforcers
themselves are predominantly male, sexual exploitation
practices go unrecognized as human rights violations. The
problem is dismissed as harmless male business.
In a recent Australian case, Gary Glasner was charged
with prostituting and falsely imprisoning 40 Thai women.
Despite extensive evidence of sexual slavery, the charge
of false imprisonment was dropped "on a
technicality." All but two of the women were
deported. The two who were left to give evidence had
little knowledge of Australian legal procedure. Isolated,
threatened, easily intimidated, they were no match for
hard punching, legal professionals.
Meanwhile, for "Mr. Big" of the operation, the
reported link to international traders boasting
government and immigration connections, it is business as
usual. The public yawned over newspaper reports of
excessive male behavior and the deportation of anonymous,
Asian prostitutes. The issue of prostitution per se also
remains unchallenged: the Immigration Department filed
another folder, stamped "closed." Melbourne
hardly missed a beat.
But what of these women? For the millions of women,
predominantly poor, often sold off by a male family
member to work off a family debt, or chosen to be the
family expatriate breadwinner, the experience of sex
slavery is physically and psychologically debilitating.
Women often lured from their home country with promises
of legitimate work are sold like cattle, imprisoned,
sexually violated and returned home shamed and poor, many
suffering from AIDS or other sexually transmitted
diseases. Many go back home to die.
In foreign lands, ignorant of the law, often having
little grasp of the local language, women are hardly
positioned to demand their human rights. They are easily
held captive under lock and key, in overcrowded rooms,
denied access to passports, and forced to perform
unprotected, debasing and life threatening sexual acts.
When the time is right for their "owners," when
short-term work visas expire or the women are judged to
be past their use by date, the appropriate authorities
are informed and the women are deported, often at
taxpayers' expense. Lives are permanently shattered.
Let outrage roar! When will men take a good look at
themselves in the mirror and act on what they see? Men
have to name men as the perpetrators of this
system of sexual abuse and it is men who have to stop
this practice. The silence and collusion must end now.
Gobbles Providence |
Spreads Her Hate Too Far