Since I’ve been learning more about the issues of trafficking, I’ve come to believe that surprisingly the issues are simpler than I imagined. Yes there is complexity within trafficking and contributing to this is complicity both publicly and within parliament; however, to tackle the deep-rooted issues we must first address the basic surface based proposition that prostitution is entirely wrong. Whether illegal or legal - prostitution is an open door of invitation, welcoming men of evil inhibitions and giving them the opportunity to sexually, physically and psychologically abuse the victim for a small fee. Whether the men see their intentions as being abusive or not, the effects of paying for sex (from £15 up to larger four figure amounts, depending on the establishment the victim is involved with) are extremely damaging and far reaching, for the victim and for society as a whole.
Trafficking aside, those who ‘choose’ prostitution do indeed present themselves as a willing party to the cause - yet I have yet to hear of one single example that doesn’t expect exploitation and mistreatment of some degree in their line of work. I once heard one person say that, “prostitutes are amongst some of the greatest actors ever”. Talk to a prostitute of just a few or more years and you’ll get an accurate overview of the dangers and emotional fallout that is involved in such a line of work.
Here is a short Panorama clip explaining the background of how some young teens in England got involved in prostitution.
Add to this the judgmental, unsupportive and often ill-informed opinions of those around them, and you will find that many prostitutes are left with no self-worth whatsoever, further contributing to their spiral into a life they cannot see a way out of. Many people judge workers branding them as a ‘whore’ or a ‘hooker’ or that they ‘deserve the consequences’, as if it’s their choice. Yet they fail to understand why that person is in that position in the first place. I challenge you to look beyond and see the person who longs for love - not lust. For someone to see them as who they truly are and who they could be beyond this object of satisfaction they represent. Beyond the illusive mask of make-up, short skirts and sensuality, we need to see past that and question why someone would enter into a world where pain seems to be the most common emotion.
Slavery within prostitution does not limit itself to the vast world of trafficking victims. It involves psychological slavery, emotional slavery and often an addiction. The addict becomes so demoralized through habit and control that even the most wilful of beings would have to go through hell to combat it successfully.
We cannot submit to ignorance, we cannot allow our lack of understanding of the issues to stand in the way of solutions. Likewise, if the reason for not speaking out despite being wise to these matters of suffering is that it makes you intolerable amongst your peers, then I would say you should be the most intolerable person ever to have walked the earth.
To think that a person in prostitution enjoys being there is beyond naivety. It is folly. Prostitution is a breeding ground for evil and it needs to be put to rest. It has to be put to rest. Although not to suggest that we can unrealistically eradicate evil altogether to create some sort of utopian society, we can at least attempt to work together and save the lives of those who desperately need our help, all the while with a hope of creating an atmosphere where we can feel confident raising children in a nation who represent decent ethics. Here in the UK, the act of prostitution is legal. This needs to change. Just because a law is passed or a policy is changed doesn’t make the people more aware of it - society needs to be more aware of the issues too. It takes more than just a piece of paper. Likewise, just because the people are passionate for a cause doesn’t make the government change their ways, we don’t live in the ages of Rome and the ways of the Empire anymore. Times have changed and both public and governmental parties need to co-operate for the same goal in order to see slavery abolished. To unite under one banner and tackle these issues together in parliament AND as people on the streets, as we have done many times in history when darkness threatens to destroy it.
“Modern slavery”. It kind of sounds like a paradox. I thought that humanity had progressed? Didn’t we leave slavery dead on the battlefields of the American Civil War? Didn’t social reformers like Lincoln and Wilberforce legislate against such cruelty over a hundred years ago? I was certainly under that impression. But, with over 27 million enslaved people in the world, human trafficking is once again the battlefront of the century.
It is a precarious business and that is why it needs people from all walks of life to come together to fight against it regardless of position, background, ethnicity, race or sex. Those who are involved in trafficking don’t care about those things so why should we?
Did You Know?
▪ Another person is bought or sold every 8 seconds and every 30 seconds that victim is a child
▪ 70% of female victims who are trafficked are for the purpose of the commercial sex trade
▪ Over 27 million people are enslaved around the world
▪ Regardless of nationality, victims are systematically stripped of their identities, battered into submission and made to perform sexual acts on up to 40 strangers every night
▪ Human Trafficking is a 32 billion dollar per year industry
In the next few weeks a public consultation will begin, on a proposal by Rhoda Grant MSP to criminalise the purchase of sex in Scotland. Both the purchase and sale of sex are currently legal here, though some activity related to prostitution is already illegal. Since Sweden introduced similar legislation criminalising purchase in 1999, human trafficking rates and demand for prostitution have both been vastly reduced, because men who buy sex are prosecuted, and traffickers can no longer make huge profits.
This is an opportunity to support a change in law that could have a significant positive impact on the moral landscape of Scotland, reduce sex trafficking, and make a huge statement about the inestimable value of women. Let us all play our part in raising awareness and respond to the consultation and contact MSPs on the issue. More details of how to support the consultation will be presented here.
I will also be shortly explaining the plans to absolish trafficking that my colleague and I are working on. One area focusing in on enabling financial stability for the UK Police Force to have appropriate ongoing training so that they might recognise a victim of trafficking, and how they can make it a much more of a priority in their line of work being on the streets of the UK.
The simplicity of changing the world comes down to just making a difference in ONE person’s life…and then the next person’s life…and then the next…