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mardi 13 septembre 2011
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
Trafics – enquête sur l’esclave sexuel dans le monde, by Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho, is a book that sets itself apart from other writings on the international trafficking of women and girls - a “business” that, according to the author, proves more profitable than trading in arms or drugs. The book is poignant, not only due to the extreme courage shown by the author but also due to the fresh and lively writing style. It is direct and revealing, with no trace of complacency, and keeps us hooked until the last page.
Cacho manages to create the sense that we ourselves are experiencing the unbearable ordeal undergone by some 1.4 million women and girls that are bought and sold every year on the lucrative sex market, in order to constantly supply local prostitution markets with increasingly young, fresh flesh.
Over six years and across three continents (Latin America, Asia and Africa) the journalist has risked her life to dig up the truth about global sex slavery. She presents around 100 distressing first hand accounts of women and girls who have been kidnapped, raped, sold and trafficked like mere material goods, from one end of the world to the other, for the purpose of prostitution. She also gives a voice to the “survivors” who have managed to escape, and to all the campaigners who are fighting against this horrendous social plague – an industry that emerged during the 20th century, and “whose victims”, according to Cacho, “will soon outnumber those of black slavery between the 16th and 19th centuries”.
Triumphing over fear to denounce the perpetrators
The journalist has not hesitated to use disguises and false identities in order to penetrate this dangerous world. Despite the risks and dangers, Cacho even interviews those pulling the strings – organized crime bosses, pimps, and procurers from all strata of society - mafia members, servicemen, journalists, civil servants and deeply corrupt politicians (all of whom are benefiting at the expense of the most vulnerable). “Fear, which is ever present” says Cacho, “ has also reminded me how dangerous it is to be a woman living in a patriarchal society”.
The sex slavery route runs through Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, Argentina and the Middle East. It is a painful journey from which no one returns unscathed. After reading such an account, we can recognise the refusal to see and denounce the unacceptable reality of international sex trafficking for what it is - a criminal failure to help people in danger. It is a kind of silent complicity, which will have terrible consequences for the future of humanity.
Normalization of sex slavery
Cacho exposes the rise of a culture that promotes human commodification as though it were an act of progress, a free choice, and a form of self-assertion for those being repeatedly raped by men who feel that anything is allowed as long they are paying for it. These procurers of women and girls come from all social classes and from all over the world – Europe and North America, but also Asia and Africa. In order to indicate the scale of the issue, the author writes that the money spent each year on supporting the sex industry “in order to create a political lobby for the normalization of slavery, could feed all the people in the world”.
For Cacho, “the claims of those who call themselves ‘sex workers’ reflects the internalization of male dominance and helps to further conceal the exploitation of other women”. It is an absurd situation that primarily benefits organized crime, which depends on its ability to make sex slavery commonplace, to pay off and corrupt the political sphere and to legally invest dirty money in the sex industry, whether this be in banks, the Treasury or local casinos.
The hypocritical indifference of clients
Even though several countries are signatories of international conventions against human trafficking, their national laws continue to contradict these resolutions through authorizing trafficking and prostitution, which are considered to be a veritable godsend for the economy. Some of the women interviewed wondered why the police continually target the victims of prostitution and trafficking, and not the perpetrators. Why is it that pimps and clients are not implicated in 90% of cases ?
It is reported that 70% of clients are to be found in Thailand, Cambodia and Japan – the most popular destinations for sex tourism – whilst in Europe, it is Spain that has the highest percentage of clients. Cacho also cites Mexico’s Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Acapulco as being popular destinations for Americans and Canadians in search of sex with increasingly young and submissive women.
The journalist shows us that it is not only organized crime and pimps that are responsible for the global marketing of women and girls, but also clients, whose constantly growing demand is leading to an increase in supply. Responsibility also falls on fathers, who could never imagine such a fate for their own daughters and stubbornly repeat that, “if women are prostitutes, it is because they enjoy it”.
There is a hypocritical indifference shown by these ordinary men who do not question their inherent right to the bodies of these women, or the violence that they have been made to suffer in brothels or private flats, where they are subjected to gang rape and are drugged so as to be “groomed” for their purpose. As one pimp explains to the author, it is a question of turning the female body into “a body that belongs to and is dedicated to others”. The most important thing is that the women and young girls destined for prostitution lose all their self-esteem.
The journalist also attacks religion, which encourages the sexual subordination of women through reinforcing sexist stereotypes, and the army, which treats women in occupied territories as war spoils, left for the soldiers to enjoy. The reality, she concludes, is that “every 15 seconds, a man chooses to abuse a woman”.
Capitalism and patriarchy
For the author, this new form of slavery without borders is rooted in “wild capitalism, according to which human life has no importance other than the profit that one can glean from it, and the fact that we live in a patriarchal society where male dominance is so significant that women are considered to be little more than objects”.
In Memorias de una infamia (“Memoirs of an Infamy”, 2008), Cacho recounts how she was imprisoned and tortured by the mafia after she denounced a large paedophile ring in Mexico. As I write this article, the courageous journalist has just received further anonymous death threats, no doubt from those that she persistently continues to expose .
Having received numerous prizes, including the national journalism prize in 2002 and Amnesty International’s Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights in 2007, Lydia Cacho continues to give a voice to those who do not have one. She works alongside survivors who – following in the footsteps of Cambodia’s Somaly Man, a “true model of tenacity and shrewdness” – dedicate their lives to rescuing women and children from the jaws of pimps, traffickers and clients. In order to incite her readers to fight against the decriminalization of prostitution, Cacho ends the book by presenting different ways in which we can act, all around the world.
Lydia Cacho’s Trafics – enquête sur l’esclave sexuel dans le monde encourages its readers to react - before it is too late - against the inhumanity that is triumphing over us in the name of pleasure, profit and the limitless male domination over women. This book must be read, and passed on.
Lydia Cacho, Trafics – enquête sur l’esclave sexuel dans le monde, Paris, Nouveau Monde éditions, 2010, 330 p. (French translation of Esclavas del poder : Un viaje al corazon de la trata sexual de mujeres y ninas en el mundo, Debate Editorial, May 2010).
Translated from French for Sisyphe : Emma Bale.
On Sisyphe, September 1, 2011