World’s Oldest Oppression

July 9th, 2010 by Kathy Leave a reply »

Today I had the remarkable opportunity to listen to the powerful message of investigative reporter and author Victor Malarek, author of The Johns: sex for sale and the men who buy it. Victor was the keynote speaker at the 41st biennial convention of the Soroptimist International of the Americas, which I attended as a delegate of my Farmington Valley CT club (SIFV).

In a passionate and well documented fact-based presentation, Victor redefined prostitution from the common belief as the world’s oldest professional to the reality as the world’s oldest oppression.

The “Flesh Trade” as it is known is a $32 billion industry that enslaves an estimated 2.5 million women, girls and boys. Trapped in a living hell for which there is seemingly no escape, these victims are tricked, trapped, beaten, raped, drugged, threatened and dehumanized to a commodity to be bought and sold for the pleasure of men.

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is the 21st century slavery…and it is happening to millions of women, girls and boys around the world. It is happening is every community in the world, including the United States, including where you live.

51KUVvqgQIL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Victor Malarek’s book The Johns takes a look at this global, social epidemic which has been escalating in carnage to new proportions since the onset of the Internet. Victor made a strong case to end this senseless crime by fighting it form the demand side, rather than the supply side.

Rather than prosecuting the women involved in prostitution, Malarek suggests that we prospect the buyers of sex – the men, or Johns, as they are known.

In his research, Malarek uncovered that the buyers of sex are in many cases, ordinary men who are under delusions that what they are doing is their right and that women they pay cash for sex choose this lifestyle willingly. These men are are being duped by myth, lies and propaganda supported by a huge and powerful illegal sex trade and old boys network. “It has never been cool to admit that you have to pay for sex as a man,” says Malarek, but plenty of men do it. Men who are married and men who are in relationships with other women. Men who are fathers and brothers. CEOs, judges, police officers, United Nation peace keepers. They are the Charlie Sheens of the world, the Hugh Grants, and former New York governor Eliot Spitzer – men of means, education and influence. Men who have the cash to buy and use what they want including women and children.  They are regular businessmen who travel on business and engage in local R&R when traveling abroad, or even when traveling around the USA. Only R&R no longer means rest and relaxation; its means rape and ruin.

Repeatedly, Victor Malarek told an audience of 1,500 Soroptimists, whose mission is to help to improve the lives of women in girls in our local communities and around the world, that “Johns don’t want to hear it. They don’t want to face the harsh realities of their nocturnal behaviors and urges.” In what is quickly becoming worldwide sexual assault on women, Mr. Malarek boldly states that this is nothing short of sexual terrorism.

Legalizing will make it worse, much worse

Perhaps the most illuminating part of today’s disturbing presentation was the enlightenment on the debate in the USA to legalize prostitution. Pro-lobby groups propose that legalizing prostitution will make it safer for women, by creating a safer “work place” and by reducing harm. Such an insane legislative move would only further ensnare women and girls and lock them into a living hell now known as legalized sexual slavery. Prostitution is by all measures the most dangers job on the planet – with its victims being routinely subjected to beatings, rape,verbal and sexual abuse, robbery, and even murder. Who on earth would choose this as a career “choice?” Who are we kidding? Who are we hurting?

Legalized prostitution has been a disaster in the three countries where it is legalized: Australia, Germany and Holland. Malarek outlined disturbing before/after changes in these countries that clearly implied that the problems got worse, not better. “It has been a colossal failure” Malarek announced. Rather, countries of the world should look to Sweden as a beacon of hope and a model of tackling this enormous social problem. Sweden has made it a crime to buy or use sex. They are prosecuting the Johns, the men who use their cash to purchase and abuse prostituted women, girls and boys. The Swedish government is arresting the men who pay to rape women and girls. More work in remains to be done in Sweden, but their commitment is clear. Sweden is sending a strong message to the world” In Sweden, women and children are NOT for sale.”

What can you do to solve this problem?

Malarek recommends a number of actions that each and every one of us can take to reduce this problem and help save the lives and dignity of millions of women and girls around the world.

  1. Raise your voice. Say “NO!” to the movement to legalize prostitution. Call your local government official and let him/her know that it has been a disaster in countries like Australia, Germany and Holland. Showcase what Sweden has done and the positive changes they have seen with their demand-side strategic approach to solving this problem.
  2. Start talking to your boys and young men about sex and the underlying core issues of gender equality, respect and dignity for all. Ask them how they would feel if their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, best friends were subjected to sexual slavery, beatings and rapes on a daily basis. Open their eyes to what is really  going on and how to make a better choice for themselves and others. There are many consequences and outcomes from having sex, among them are the known ones such as pregnancy, disease, pleasure and feeling. But there are more horrific forces at play here: violence, dehumanization, terror and crimes against women.
  3. Develop a new curriculum for Sexual Education. We need to move beyond the functional discussion about the penis and the vagina and how babies are made and what happens during puberty. Boys are being exposed to XXX porn – the violent graphic type of video violence against women – at ages as young as 7, 8 and 9. Teach our young people about the the moral and social responsibilities they have towards themselves and other people, including women and girls.
  4. Education and rehabilitation of men who participate in the buying of sexual services. Malarek told us about an innovative new form of rehabilitation called John Schools. Similar to traffic schools, when you get caught for buying sex from a prostitute, men are sent to John Schools where they get a sobering education on the real impact of their actions. Here’s what the men get to hear during their wake-up call at the John School: from escaped prostitutes who were subjected to perverted fantasies of men with money (and what these women thought of these men), from male nurses with slides shows depicting the gross diseases you can contract (and pass on) during your nocturnal parades, from attorneys who have represented men accused of statuary rape unaware that their prostitutes were 14 year old girls, not women.
  5. Vote with your dollars. Boycott newspapers, media and web sites that advertise escort services, porn or other sex trade offerings. This includes www.CraigsList.org – one of the biggest web site advertisers of prostitutes. Cancel your subscriptions and cancel your advertising plans. Let the media owners know why you are doing this. You object to their complicit acceptance of ads and promotion that furthers violence and enslavement of women and girls.
  6. For corporations, amend your code of conduct and travel policy to clearly prohibit participation in prostitution and visitation to brothels in local and foreign countries. Redefine your policies on client and employee hospitality to specifically prohibit the offering of sexual services as gifts and entertainment.  Make the penalty for such behavior immediate dismissal and loss of privileges. Create a stiff deterrent for any employees who would-be Johns. Take your sexual harassment policy to this next level of clarity and no tolerance. Enforce this at all levels of the organization – including CEO and board level.

It’s time to wake up to the reality of this worldwide epidemic of sexual slavery of women, girls and children. It’s time that you take the first step and educate yourself on this critically important issue. It’s time to take action to stop human trafficking!

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