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The modern world today is proud to recognize the equality that has been acknowledged between age, gender, and race. Women are beginning to be treated as equals with men, in new customs, lifestyle, society, and economy. Today, women are freer and are liberated from their traditional roles as housewives, and are pursuing their hopes and dreams. However, this is not the case in many regions of the world. In the developing countries, thousands of females are dehumanized by prostitution and the trafficking of women and children is dehumanizing which serves only to benefit men. It exploits and violates the rights of women in the developing world.
Sexual exploitation, which includes sex tourism, bride trade, temporary marriages, and sexual violence such as rape, incest, and sexual harassment, has escalated throughout the 20 th century and has become an enormous concern. Today, slavery is defined as a "social and economic relationship in which a person is controlled through violence or its threat, paid nothing, and economically exploited... sex trafficking is a modern day form of slavery" (Bales). The reason why governments do not help the women in prostitution is because the sex industry generates profits amounting to billions of dollars, necessary to pay off the country's debts.
The governments convince themselves, and the public, that they help facilitate women's employment opportunities and statistics by legitimizing prostitution. Politically vulnerable and economically weak countries were opened up as tourist destinations, and large numbers or male tourists bought sexual adventure in foreign countries as the businesses of the sex tourism were established. The promotion of sex tourism generated generous amounts of income for the sex industry as well as for the government, due to the vacations that people from developed countries take to take advantage of these foreign prostitutes. In some cultures, the established role of females has been long facilitated by the traditional systems of religion, resulting to prostitution.
Trafficking is assisted by recruiters (who accompany the woman to the new country), the traffickers, and the pimps who are in charge of the brothels and sex clubs that the women end up in. Although there is an extensive amount of evidence that these people are in charge of the continuation of prostitution, it is mostly only women who are arrested, charged, and prosecuted in countries where prostitution is illegal. The all-encompassing power of the sex industry has devastated the economic and financial status of women in the developing countries. Governments in the developing world encourage the sex industry due to the profit they gain to pay their countries' debts, and are uninterested in the women's well-being. Women made vulnerable by poverty are most susceptible to the sex industry because they lack the resources, the education, and the economic alternatives to pursue other work possibilities.
The lack of education diminishes women's potential to gain paid employment, and desperately consent to prostitution as their survival strategy. The governments of the developing world encourage and utilize the sex trade industry as a progress strategy to repay millions of dollars of debt to international corporations. There are also economic incentives for the governments of both the exporting and importing countries to ignore the trafficking in women, and the governments are relatively uninterested in the women's well-being. The sex industry promotes gender inequality and racial discrimination: foreign women maintain the lowest position in the sex trade hierarchy. The sex industry focuses on the women and children that are devastated by poverty. One can argue that prostitution is a survival strategy for women in absolute poverty, but it is the sex industry that locks them in poverty.
Sex traders recruit women by promising them jobs, a glamorous life, a good marriage, and money. For example, the brothels of India hold between 100, 000 and 160, 000 Nepalese women and girls, 35 percent were taken on the false pretext of marriage or a good job. The deceived women are then sold off by pimps to the sex industry, and when they discover what their 'job' entailed, they already owe thousands of dollars to their sex owners. They end up trapped trying to repay the money they never collected, and usually are forced to work full time in the sex industry for years, even decades, keeping them in poverty." Sexual exploitation preys on women and children made vulnerable by poverty, by economic development policies and practices, and by traffickers who capitalize on restricted migration policies." (Janice G. Raymond, Co-executive director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) ) The sex workers are slaves paying back their debts to the brothel owners. They are bonded by debt for years, not only working to earn back the money that they were sold for, but also the interest.
According to Kevin Bales, there are two types of debt bondage. The first type is when a slave's life and labour is used as the collateral to acquire loans, forcing them to work towards the payment of these loans plus the interest. The second kind of debt bondage is when victims become bonded slaves when they violate the loan agreements made by the brothel owners and the sex traders. Trafficking and prostitution are what makes the majority of the sex industry, but it should never be recognized as a job or legitimated as work. However, the trafficking system continues to be supported by certain governments, who view prostitution and trafficking as a voluntary choice of work. U.
N. reports cite 700, 000 to two million women and children internationally are trafficked each year into the sex industry and for labor, with 50, 000 into the United States; the sex industry is a huge business that brings enormous revenues to the country's finance. The United Nations estimates that trafficking is a 5-7 billion U. S. dollar operation annually. Developing countries view the workers in the industry (including the women and child prostitutes) as sex workers, who have acquired real jobs.
"Trafficking is a system in which most women are exploited and victimized-a system that is allowed to flourish in part because academics and others are propping up the sex industry by romanticizing prostitution and trafficking as voluntary migration for sex work." (Raymond) Prostitutes in the developing countries and countries in financial and political dilemmas are trafficked to developed and financially well off countries. Mostly it is women who are poor and / or uneducated who turn to prostitution as a survival strategy. Since males are considered of higher value than females in many cultures and religions, customs deprive females from receiving education or pursuing a higher education, thus diminishing the ability for women to find paid employment. Two of the largest factors that contribute to the promotion and the increasing success of sex trafficking, according to the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), are the men's demand for the sex of prostitution, and the increasing poverty of women in developing countries that drive them into situations of sexual exploitation.
Companies such as hotels, airlines, and charter companies, often with direct and indirect government collusion and corruption, are involved in the trafficking of women. Such association stresses upon the nonexistent borders of the sex industry, suggesting not only globalization for the economy but the globalization of the sex industry. In many countries in which prostitution takes place, the industry has already been legalized by the government. However, legalizing, decriminalizing, or regulating the sex industry does not dignify the women trapped in prostitution, but rather only dignifies the sex industry. Governments are promoting sex trafficking by legalizing prostitution, and transforming pimps and traffickers into sex industry entrepreneurs, brothels into acceptable businesses and entertainment centers, and prostitution customers into legitimate sexual consumers." It is the sex industry that is behind the push for legal legitimizing of prostitution." (Raymond) The women will have no true benefits to allow them to have another chance in rising from their poverty, their debt bondage, or their lives.
When governments legalize prostitution, they consider it as work, claiming that they have increased the employment statistics for women. Governments argue that by legalizing the sex industry and regulating prostitution, they will have the opportunity to keep strict regulations concerning the health factors of these women, to control their work hours, and to control the violence. "Governments will argue for recognizing the sex industry on the basis of being able to control the rapid expansion of the sex sector." (Hechler) They argue this because they view prostitution as a voluntary kind of work. However, this does not stop the owners who control the women working as prostitutes from sexually or physically abusing them.
The debts that the prostitutes must pay back will not be erased. Many of these women chose to become prostitutes and consented to the initial act, but they were unaware of the money that was traded for their body and labour, therefore after the realization of this transforms from voluntary work to slave work. In many cases, because of the legalizing of prostitution, and the policies that are enforced by the governments concerning the restriction of work hours, these women have no choice but to stay in the sex industry even longer because of the increasing buildup of interest. If they can only work a limited number of hours per day, and only 5 days a week as opposed to 7, the opportunity for them to earn money is lessened, thus the interest rate higher. The overall money that is owed becomes an even higher amount, which traps the women for an even longer period of time. Governments claim that by regulating prostitution, they can force sex venues to mandate customers to use condoms in order to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
However, this is hardly the case, because the majority of the prostitution customers will offer to pay a greater value if the prostitute chooses not to use contraception. In most cases, the woman is in desperate need of that money, and consents. Because of this, the rapid escalation of HIV and AIDS has devastated thousands of women in the sex industry. According to the World Health Organization, male to female transmission of HIV/AIDS is about 20 times more than female to male. 52 percent in Kenya of the prostitutes in Kenya are HIV or AIDS positive, approximately 50 percent in Cambodia, and 34 percent in northern Thailand (Raymond). No law will be addressed to the problems of trafficking and prostitution unless resources and economic alternatives are provided to the women.
Alternatives to prostitution will only be found if resources and assistance are going to be provided by governments who care for these women. Many international lending organizations mandate policies that must be followed in developing countries, such as the encouragement of entertainment and tourism industries. These policies must be followed because the most of the developing countries owe so much debt to these organizations that they have no other choice but to use their own resources and industries, to bring any source of revenue to repay their debts. Their debts far exceed their ability to pay, and the future promises only greater debt. By 1998, developing nations owed the amount of approximately US$2. 5 trillion, increasing at 5 percent per year, excluding the amount of interest.
The encouragement from lending organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund inspired the development of the sex industry in many of these devastated countries. ." ... prostitution has become a development strategy... under obligations of debt repayment, numerous Asian, Latin American, and African States were encouraged by international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to develop their tourism and entertainment industries." (Hechler) Foreign women hold generally the lowest status in the hierarchy of prostitution, are treated the worst, and work in the worst possible conditions.
Women of ethnic minorities and other comparatively powerless groups are particularly exploited, because from an economic point of view, these foreign women are doubly valuable and are seen as a 'good' and a service. "Over ten years, 200, 000 Bangladeshi women and girls were the object to trafficking to Pakistan." -CATW Today, the sexual exploitation of women is being considered a big part of the entertainment industry, and the act of prostitution a legitimate job. Prostitution and other kinds of work involving the sex industry has brought millions of dollars to the developing nations that have legalized prostitution, providing them more proof as to why they should keep regulating the sex industry. Another expanding branch of the sex trade industry concerns the "mail order bride" system. This industry creates a so-called 'opportunity' for women to be independent, but will most likely to lead to the exploitation of women.
The agencies introduce men to women from different countries and races by placing personal advertisements about potential wives in catalogues or through the Internet. The ideal situation is an intercultural marriage, so that the woman can immigrate to her husband's country. The wealthy husband-to-be marries the woman in her mother country, mainly because he wants to avoid immigration issues. The admission criteria in most developed countries are based mainly on educational and financial qualifications, making it extremely difficult for the women in developing countries to immigrate to her new husband's country. However, the result is an industry full of trafficking women from developing countries to consumer-husbands in the richer countries; the sexual, economic, ethnic and educational imbalance in most of the marriages in the mail-order bride trade often lead to marital abuse and violence." The sexism prevalent in her country of origin has convinced the bride that she is a second-class citizen... the anti-feminist stereotypes, leading consumer-husbands to turn to the MOB trade, imply that the objective of a relationship between a man and a woman is the control and domination of the wife by the husband." (Raymond) The mail-order bride industry exploits the economic disparity between developing countries and developed countries, as well as the most demeaning and discriminatory cultural and ethnic stereotypes of women in general.
The inferiority issues created and upheld by this industry contributes to the isolation and vulnerability of these trafficked women. There is no specific legislation regulating the mail-order bride trade in Canadian law. Awareness must be made available to people in both developed and developing countries about the suffering of women in prostitution and in the sex industry, by both the educated public and by governments themselves. Organizations have been founded in determination to help the victims in the sex industry, such as the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Amnesty International, both of whom bring international awareness to sexual exploitation of women and promotes human rights of women to be free form sexual exploitation. Agencies such as CATW bring international awareness to all forms of sexual exploitation, including prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and mail order bride selling. Working with national and international policy makers, women's rights and human rights advocates, and the United Nations, they promote the fundamental human right of women to be free from sexual exploitation.
More international agencies such as the CATW and Amnesty International should be created to promote the rights of women, to educate the public about the harm sustained in prostitution by women, and to formulate changes through legislation by working with governments and agencies to support the right of every woman to be free of sexual exploitation. Countries must begin or continue to address the problems of trafficking and prostitution, providing sufficient assistance, resources and economic alternatives to women. Governments of developing countries must find another strategy by turning to other sources of profit from their industries to repay their debts. No matter the situation, the exploitation of women in terms of acquiring profit is immoral. We should be living in a world that values the equality between gender, and we should help by providing education and employment opportunities that enhance women's worth and status, thereby diminishing the necessity for the women to turn to prostitution. Prostitution demeans and dehumanizes women all around the world, and should not be tolerated; they have the human right to live freely in a society without turning to prostitution as the only way to survive.
Works Cited Bales, Kevin. New Slavery: A Reference Book. California, 2000. Budapest Group, The Relationship Between Organized Crime and Trafficking in Aliens. Austria: International Centre for Migration Policy Development, June 1999. Canadian Woman Studies, Migration, Labour and exploitation, Trafficking in Women and Girls.
York University Publication, 2004. Clark, Bruce and Wallace, John. Global Connections: Canadian and World Issues. Prentice Hall, Toronto, 2003. Pearson Education Canada Hechler, David. Child Sex Tourism.
New York: Don't Buy Thai. May 2001 International Organization for Migration, Trafficking and Prostitution: The Growing exploitation of migrant women from Central & Eastern Europe, 1995. International Organizations for Migration Lucky Star Online Casino, Prostitution and the Sexual Exploitation of Women, 2002. People's Daily Online, Chinese Proposes Efforts to Eliminate Sexual Exploitation against Women, 2003. World Revolution, Overview of Global Issues, human rights and social justice, 2002.
Planned Appendices 1. Map of the Global Sex Trade, documented flows of sex trafficking throughout the world from late 1990 s- 2002.
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