Prostitution & Human Trafficking
Think global, act local
According to Wikipedia, prostitution (from lat. prostituere "up front, forward and to offer for sale") describes the performance of sexual actions for money (..).
With regards to the term "sex work" Mag. Dr. Alexandra Weiss from the Agency for Equal Opportunities and Gender Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, writes: "The term sex work was originally meant as a provocation. In this context (referring to the context explained in the previous article of neoliberal transformation of politics, society and economy that fundamentally shifted the perception of power and dominance relationships), it is, of course, part of a normalization that classifies prostitution as a "work like any other work" and blanks out structures of social inequality." (Schwerpunkt Soziales im Magazin 20er, 07/08/2015)
Ridehere-Ridenow exclusively uses the term prostitution given that the term sex work as described above already implies an ideology, and this ideology is completely contradictory to our philosophy.
Prostitution is de facto an exploitative system that enables people via a payment to have other people's bodies at their command (like goods).
10 facts and comments on common points of discussion
"Prostitution is the oldest business of the world and will always remain in place": Apart from the fact that this is not true from a historic perspective: No one would refer to history – starting with Kain and Abel – to argue for a legalization of homicide as a phenomenon that has been present throughout the entire history of mankind... What prostitution definitely is, however, is one of the oldest systems to sexually exploit girls and women. And, fortunately, the fact that slavery had played a role in human history over a very long time could also not keep us from eliminating it!
The "strong male sex drive" that serves as a basis for the "examination of the measurable demand" – which is inexplicably still carried out in the Austrian state of Tyrol in the application process for new brothels – and labels men as weak, ticking time bombs and potential rapists at the mercy of their instincts, has long been proven wrong by sexology. In addition, the share of regular sex buyers in the total male population is evidentially very small.
Human trafficking, mafia structures, associated criminality, drugs, violence, prostitution of children, social inequality, and gender relations (95% of sex buyers are male, prostitutes are almost exclusively female) are inseparably linked to prostitution and cannot be viewed in isolation from each other. Those who call for gender equality (and Austria is obliged under Article VII(2) of the Federal Austrian Constitution to promote the implementation of gender equality for women and men as well as to work towards the elimination of existing disadvantages) can thus not advocate prostitution as a system that is oriented exclusively towards the satisfaction of male needs!
The group who ultimately finances this exploitative system – that is the sex buyers – was, unfortunately, almost completely excluded from the discussions in Austria. While the situation of prostitutes indeed was and still is being discussed, so far nearly all of the sex buyers' actions were legitimated with the overpowering male sex drive as described above. Albeit the research on sex buyers is still a relatively young scientific discipline and lacks sources, there are already several enlightening – and alarming – insights on their motives: Sex that is easily available at all times and in any form desired, but also power, violence, dominance, contempt for women, and misogyny.
The most sensible solution strategy with regards to the available findings is based on the so-called "Nordic Model (Sweden, Norway, etc.)" and incorporates the decriminalization of prostitutes (including the promotion of exit scenarios, retraining measures, etc.), the penalization of sex buyers, as well as a substantial increase in the penalties for pimps and human traffickers.
This exact strategy to reduce the demand was requested by the EU states in a resolution of the European Parliament in February 2014! In the view of the EU members of parliament, sexual services in exchange for money always present a violation to human rights and human dignity. Data of the EU Commission show that 62% of human trafficking victims were kidnapped with the objective of sexual exploitation, while 96% of all identified or presumed victims are women and girls.
The unrealistic theoretic fabric of prostitution as a service like any other service – based on the neoliberal logic of individualization and self-responsibility, i.e. a contract that is concluded between "equal counterparties" –, as a form of emancipation, and a suitable opportunity to secure one's livelihood is wrong, discriminating and degrading. The lobbyists of the sex work model simply blank out the prevailing social and economic power relations as well as the questions of real violence and dependence.
The profiteers of prostitution are (in addition to the sex buyers) solely the brothel owners, the pimps, and the human traffickers who get rich with the sale and exploitation of women and girls. Victims to the patriarchal prostitution system are first and foremost the prostitutes and subsequently all women, who are turned into permanently sexually-available objects, as well as all men, who – as described above – are degraded to weak and instinct-driven monsters without a free will, girls and boys, who witness women being treated as objects on the streets (and if legalized – as demanded by the sex work ideologists – are presented with the prostitution business as a career choice at school), and thus ultimately the entire society that dismisses the accomplishments of human dignity and human rights.
Last but not least (and unfortunately very topical): The majority (about 95%!) of prostitutes are migrants from poorer European, African and Asian regions (ironically in Germany – the model country for sex work lobbyists – only few German women opt for a great life as a self-determined and free prostitute; instead, the country, similar to the Netherlands, turns into a hub for trafficking in women). As soon as they come of age, they vanish from their countries en masse, unable to support the backbone and economic force of their nations, only to return later traumatized, addicted, ill, exploited, and just as poor as they had been before. According to a survey of the Austrian health ministry, 90% of those questioned wish to back out!
While the pressure of sex work lobbyists – primarily a marginal feminist splinter group in the vicinity of the Green Party – continues to grow in Austria, there is a growing opposition in Germany where strong voices make the increase in forced prostitution and human trafficking a clear topic of discussion, as a motion in the Bavarian parliament shows: "Rationale: Along with the legalization and growth of prostitution, forced prostitution and human trafficking have risen significantly. These crimes have very serious consequences for the victims." Antrag bayrischer Landtag
On the occasion of the 2nd World Day against Human Trafficking on 30 July 2015, the UNO has called for action. According to the UNODC Annual Report 2014, more than 150 states are concerned and 33% of known victims of human traffickers are children, of which 75% are girls. All in all, 70% of those affected are women and children. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), gangs of smugglers earn 150 billion USD per year (nearly 136 billion EUR) from forced labor and sexual exploitation, of which forced prostitution accounts for 99 billion USD. 4.5 million people are victims of sexual exploitation.
According to UNODC, many countries have inadequate legislation and often only take lax actions against human traffickers. This makes millions of people "vulnerable". In many countries, there are only few or no convictions at all. Impunity is "unacceptable" and shows "that human traffickers currently get away with their crimes".
No country is immune, including Austria: The Annual Report 2014 lists 127 cases in 2012, more than 200 suspects, and 20 convictions.
With these shocking official figures, it is hard to imagine how high the dark figure must be: "Naturally, this is just the tip of the iceberg", UNODC expert Alun Jones said to the APA when the report was published. No one can tell how big the non-visible share might be.
In Austria, up to 350 victims are looked after every year – Austria is a transit as well as a target country. The number of suspected child trafficking cases is increasing rapidly. Unfortunately, the high number of human trafficking victims is only met by few convictions. The Task Force Human Trafficking, founded in 2004, is working to improve this.
The inseparable connection between prostitution and human trafficking is also proven in a study published by the European Commission in 2016: "Study on the gender dimension of trafficking in human beings" (available for download below at "sources and literature").
Amnesty International's resolution to decriminalize all aspects of prostitution came as a shock: Obviously, the marginal feminist splinter group of sex work lobbyists, in cooperation with advocates of pimps, brothel owners, and sex buyers, achieved to make a NGO previously known as a human RIGHTS organization move into an inhuman direction. Hope remains that the massive protests in the social media etc. can induce AI to rethink its decision. Sign petition!
Think global, act local
Today's rapidly increasing supply of prostitution which, combined with the shrinking demand, leads to an aggravation of the competitive situation and thus among other things to an increase in violence in the form of associated criminality, power struggles between pimps, as well as another precarization in the situation of prostitutes, is – like many of today's challenges – a consequence of unregulated globalization and the lack of just distribution. In this sense, the phenomenon in its entirety can ultimately only be solved globally.
Nonetheless, this does not exempt us from our obligation to also implement local measures in order to actually solve the problems. Statements such as: "We will not be able to solve the problem as such anyway, hence we accept it and try to make the situation more bearable with euphemisms", are deeply unjust and cowardly.