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vendredi 10 novembre 2006
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
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
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
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
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
The author gave this communication at the International meeting of Women World March, in Lima, Perou, from July 4th to July 9th 2006. She speaks as coordinator of the Coalition against trafficking in women Asia Pacific (CATWAP) and as a feminist activist from the Philippines working with survivors of prostitution.
Coming from the previous discussion on the impact of globalization on women, I would just want to emphasize the need to criticize globalization not only in terms of its impact on our lives, but criticize the very framework of globalization as masculinist given its assumptions. It rides on the gender division of labour, with women subsidizing reproductive work, and with neo-liberalism basing itself on the idea of competitiveness and domination.
Globalization further uses might and arms of states. Military aid is dangled and anti-terrorism bills are pushed down the throats of poor countries by powerful nations to ensure the “security” of foreign investors, in the guise of a fight against “international terrorism.” The World Trade Organization (WTO) itself encourage manufacture of arms, given its exemption on security in Article IX of the GATT, thus the encouragement of Bombardier operations in Canada. Members of the G-8 similarly pressured Massachusetts to reverse its ruling on countries supporting fascist governments such as that of Burma. The point I’m making is that globalization and militarism of states are intimately linked.
Now both globalization and militarism creates the conditions for violence against women, particularly trafficking and prostitution. However, I want to state in the outset that prostitution itself, the buying and selling of women and children’s bodies, is a system of violence against women which determines trafficking. The act of buyers and business establishments of using our bodies in exchange for profit and other consideration is a flagrant violation of our integrity, dignity and autonomy. The acts committed by buyers and capitalists exploit the context of lack of choices for women, whether in the North or in the South. (I will expound on this question of choice later.) Trafficking is merely the means to ensure the supply of women’s bodies towards the demand side - that is, the prostitution industry. Thus, we want trafficking to be more sharply defined to constitute not only those that include the element of physical force, but from the feminist perspective, such acts that exploit or take advantage of compulsions or vulnerabilities created by societal contexts of economic and gender inequality.
The term “violence against women” refers to many types of harmful behavior directed at women and girls because of their sex. In 1993 the United Nations offered the first official definition of such violence when the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. According to Article 1 of the declaration, violence against women includes : Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.
The fact that women are often emotionally involved with and financially dependent upon those who abuse them has profound implications for how women experience violence and how best to intervene. Cultures contain beliefs, norms, and social institutions that legitimize and therefore perpetuate violence against women. The same acts that would be punished if directed at an employer, a neighbor, or an acquaintance often go unchallenged when men direct them at women, especially within the family or when the women are paid, as in prostitution.
Patriarchy and capitalism role in the promotion of violence, prostitution and trafficking in women
I speak here, not only as an advocate with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, but as someone who directly works with survivors of prostitution. In counseling sessions with them, I am convinced on a daily basis that women’s engagement in prostitution are linked to their experiences of incestuous rape, to the cynicism of their families and communities to their experiences, to cultural pressures to be sexually available to men and consider men’s access to our bodies as “empowerment.” When I speak of choices, therefore, it is not just about economic choices. Choices are also about women’s roles in relation to men’s, it is about enabling and disabling contexts where sexuality is defined and determined. Whether in the North or in the South, the common context of women’s lives is patriarchy, where women are raped, battered, sexually abused, where women are seen and treated as sexual objects for use by men, where it is hip for young women to be sexually accessed according to MTVs, where men also believe that women enjoy rape and prostitution - all to the advantage of patriarchy.
And patriarchy intersects with capitalism and the economic inequality it breeds. Whether in the North or the South, women are disadvantaged economically, politically and socially. Poverty and racial discrimination exists in both, although impoverishment is in greater magnitude in the South. And in both hemispheres, we know that globalization affects women worse.
The underlying causes of violence against women lie in patriarchy therefore, aggravated by poverty- in men’s assumptions of dominance over women and ownership of their bodies as sanctioned by social institutions, the denial of women’s equality with men in all areas of life. It is about definitions of masculinity where men are given unbridled access and unquestioned ownership to women’s bodies. It is about myths of men’s uncontrollable urge and right to buy or rape women whenever they feel the urge. So even when there is no cash involved as in prostitution, there is rape. Particular groups of women are also targeted because of their race/ethnicity, class, culture, sexual orientation, or if they are coming from marginalized communities.
Prostitution, a violence against women
The health consequences, the violence, and the sexual abuse suffered by trafficked women and girls are also the same as to those who were battered and raped. The problem is that when women and girls are subjected to this kind of violence in prostitution, it is viewed as "sex" (Raymond, et al, 2001). Contrary to the contention that prostitution is akin to any other kind of work, prostitution which is the end destination of most trafficked women, is a notorious site of violence. In prostitution, women are assaulted, raped, beaten up, subjected to sadistic acts , sexual harassment, verbal abuse, sexual use by numerous men and other inhumane acts. Living under a climate of fear, many women survive by drugging themselves or resorting to alcohol abuse to forget the trauma of their everyday lives. Several studies have already established that women who have been in prostitution for some years suffer PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that is normally associated with people who had traumatic experiences in war.
It is therefore imperative to question the demand side, the definitions of masculinity, and globalization — the ideology of which promotes and aggravates the buying and selling of women.
Demand for prostitution
Let me illustrate this unbridled demand for men’s access to women’s bodies :
Having illustrated in concrete terms the role of patriarchy in creating and maintaining sex trafficking or prostitution, let me now reiterate the role of globalization in promoting prostitution and trafficking. The most recent General Agreement on Trade in Services within WTO agreements provides for liberalization of tourism. As such, the unbridled investment in this sector has been and will continue the use of women as exploitative “resources” in the tourism industry being sold to tourists. Even before this, we already know that globalization has impoverished millions of women, laying them off or contracting them in 3-month or 6-month jobs, giving them the lowest of salaries, or throwing them off their lands that have to be converted into cash crop agriculture.
Given massive impoverishment of women, the system is further globalized with the globalization of economies and grown to be a multi-billion global industry :
? Global trafficking is a $7 Billion industry (UNICRI)
The demand is created by both patriarchy and globalization, but also by militarization of countries by US forces and the growing competition within the globalized sex industry. In Korea alone, 5000 Filipinas and even more Russian women are in prostitution around the US military bases. Competition, meanwhile, creates the pressure to “import” younger and younger women from more “exotic” backgrounds, thus victimizing our indigenous or aboriginal girls.
Let me put some attention now on pornography. There are feminists who argue that pornography is a form of sexual expression. Again, there is utter disregard for the harms of pornography to those used in it and even those who consume it. There is cynicism towards the women who are paid yet re-sold in pornographic advertisements, those who are used in pornographic literature and again to us women as a group whose subordination is eroticized in pornography. In our researches with young men, it is clear that the lies they learn about what women want, their myths that women enjoy rape and prostitution are all learned in pornography. Their abuse and use of women are derived from “sexuality” fed to them by the media and the men who share with them what they have read.
Let’s refuse the legalization of prostitution and criminalize the demande for prostitution
The challenge right now is about governments themselves legalizing prostitution, delinking trafficking from prostitution. It has been so in many states in Australia, New Zealand, in the Netherlands, Germany, and tolerated in many countries where civil society only criticize the so-called worst forms of child labour or “forced” prostitution. Why do sectors qualify violence against women as only prostitution that is ‘forced’ ? Is there such a thing as “free” prostitution ? How do you locate free prostitution in the context of cultures forcing women to accept that when all other avenues fail, making our bodies accessible also uplift our self-esteem and power ?
The challenge right now is to oppose the global ideology normalizing prostitution as women’s empowerment, citing it as sex work. This is a very recent phenomenon, concurrent with the rise of postmodernism, the refusal to locate pornography and prostitution within the context of patriarchy and structural economic and political inequalities. Refusing to locate it in a continuum of rape, hetrosexism and use of rape in war as conquest.
The challenge right now is to oppose the legalization or decriminalization of prostitution. To shift criminalization from the women and children whose vulnerabilities are exploited towards criminalization buyers and business, towards weakening patriarchy and global capitalism in the prostitution industry. The challenge is to criminalize the demand side.
The challenge right now is pressuring states not only to provide programs for survivors of prostitution, but to address the root causes of prostitution and sex trafficking - patriarchy where men define their sexuality through their superiority over women and access to women’s bodies, as well as global economic inequality operationalized by neo-liberal globalization where women’s work is exploited as they remain impoverished without control over resources.
? To end, let me cite these figure : 30 M women & children in Asia (UN, 1998)
Our alliances therefore, are with survivors of prostitution. In our direct work with them, they testify that if options are available, if the world is different, if prostitution is not the catch-basin of wounded and impoverished girls, they will not be in prostitution. Prostitution therefore, is not something they dreamt of as a little girl.
At this very minute, as I talk, millions more of women and children are trafficked to and from Asia, South America, Africa and even the North. Our vision is for a world where women are not prostituted, where women are not considered an underclass as a
We must act on the causes of prostitution and trafficking
As feminists, it is our duty to work for a world free from violence against women - from rape, from battery, from prostitution and trafficking ; to address the root causes of sex trafficking and prostitution, and not be complacent with victims’ statements that there is nothing that can be done and just accept trafficking and prostitution as women’s work. As some slaves have spoken before that slavery is alright, we did not rest to accept, instead we struggled to abolish slavery. Do we dare rest and allow women and girls, our daughters and granddaughters be treated as sexual slaves, and just call their situation as work ?
I am not talking of forcibly removing women from the brothels, I am talking about organizing them, and together with them, fighting for alternatives by criticizing the power structures. As in the Philippines, we organize together with the survivors, deepen our feminism through education, provide health and other psycho-social services not limited to HIV-AIDS education, and fight WTO policies that exacerbate the vulnerability of women and girls, and seek to abolish structures of inequality and replace them with feminist and socialist alternatives.
On Sisyphe, November 18, 2006