Human Trafficking: This is a Man’s World.

The aspect of human trafficking that gets the most attention is trafficking for sexual abuse. Of those taken for sexual exploitation “98% are women and girls”.  . As mentioned on the previous post it is a vast money-making criminal enterprise, raking in an approximate $32bn a year. Therefore it ranks in the top three, beside drugs and gun smuggling. The only way to defeat this monster is to declare war on it, literally or severely hammer its profit margin.

He said, ‘I look for butterflies

That sleep among the wheat:

I make them into mutton-pies,

And sell them in the street.

Lewis Carroll: Through the Looking Glass Ch. 8.  Apologies for using out of context.

Sections of the UK press allow their journalists to scream about the nation’s past association with the slave trade. They harp on about the legacy of past indignities, of brash colonialism, of how we should never forget the damage we have inflicted on other cultures and people. On the other hand I seldom read of today’s problem with slavery, of the magnitude of the horror that exists. It is one thing to preach human rights, it is quite another to practice what you preach. I have not seen any expose on India for ‘bonded labour’ or on the whole of Asia for its part in this crime of crimes.  I have not seen demands that: Nigeria, Vietnam, China, Rumania must do something about their gangs involved in human trafficking. On slavery, the human rights army, roars like a lion with tonsillitis!

Is the truth that there are places in dark corners where even the press won’t go? On so many other issues that affect human rights they become the proverbial child having a tantrum. They will bash anyone, castigate any politician, and howl abuse at those who do not share their holy vision. Yet out there in the mists and fog are 27 million souls trapped in slavery and nothing louder than a whisper can be heard. Hypocrisy is a road that has no end and those who travel it do so without vision.

For the media in general, the truth may be quite as simple as is the logic; if you cannot immediately affect the situation, leave it well alone. The world is thriving on instant gratification and me-ism, anything else is a distraction. However, a mass-media campaign is the only way we can wake up our politicians and force them to take action. Unfortunately, we don’t have a Mandela, a Ghandi, a King or a Wilberforce to galvanise opinion.

We know from Interpol that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal business. Add corruption of officials to that and you have the answer as to why not a lot is done about the heinous crime. The general public for the most part are too busy trying to make do in their own lives, and if trafficking does not affect them directly they don’t have the time to worry about it; unless it is brought to their attention on a regular basis.

Money and sex are a pair of gloves that fit any hands. They both create an overpowering lust in some, and share the power to corrupt just about anyone. That’s the pull and the fire in this crooked business. It is bereft of conscience and therefore rational dialogue cannot penetrate the minds of those involved in the human trafficking world. Force and penalty may be the only way to deal with them but it must be done with guile and good intelligence. But when the guillotine is released it must do the job it was designed for, without the intervention of the human rights lobby. I am a firm believer that those who seriously violate another’s human rights relinquish their own.

Two and a half million human beings trafficked every year is a staggering number. All over the world even in countries that consider themselves ‘civilized’ the barracuda swims. In Canada, it is reported that 7oo annually are trafficked for the sex trade and that is the tip of the iceberg. In the USA it could be as many as 50,000 used for slave labour and sex.

There are ‘hot spots’: Brasil, Australia, the Netherlands and France are cited.   “In 2010, Thailand and Brasil were considered to have the worst child sex trafficking records”. Wikipedia Brasil gets a number of mentions in studies but not in the press. Why not? The USA State Department (June2013) brings Russia and China to our attention concerning their failure to combat trafficking. While, “Japan is considered the largest market for Asian women trafficked for sex”.  Perhaps these countries should be asked to post a health warning on all tourist information.

Meanwhile, the LA Times (Oct: 2012) suggest that sex trafficking of the young is a growing problem. That some gangs are moving away from drugs and into forced prostitution because it makes them more money. Also in California, the FBI recognizes three (3) cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego as high intensity child sex trafficking areas.  In Texas, State Highway 1-10 is viewed as a human trafficking hub.

In the UK the BBC report (Oct: 2012) that 946 victims were recorded in 2011 of which 712 were adults and 234 children. They cite gangs from: China, Nigeria, and Eastern Europe as the main perpetrators. That is only the recorded number; in the shadows there may be as many as 10,000. It is known that many Vietnamese people are brought to the UK to harvest cannabis and females are trafficked to manicure women’s nails during the day and service men at night. Sunday Times

Next year 2014 the UK government plan to introduce a new law against human trafficking and will appoint a “Modern Slavery Commissioner”. The details are sketchy at the moment but it will be interesting to view the final draft of the new law to see if it covers all the bases or just increases punishment for those apprehended.

As I have come to expect things are happening in America. It is reported that 21 States have anti trafficking laws. My question would be how uniform are they or are they a higgledy-piggledy mix? California, which has been identified as a child sex trafficking hub have adopted a new law, Proposition 35. The new law gained a massive 81% approval at the ballot. The law imposes much harsher penalties on criminals and forces all of them to register on the sex offenders list.

While support was very high those opposed may have had a case. The newspaper, Modesto Bee described it as, “overboard and misdirected”. The Fresno Bee, considered it, “…not the right approach to the problem”. And the LA Times called for a no vote.

The contention of the opposition was that the law focussed on sex trafficking to the detriment of forced labour and the welfare of the migrant worker and was therefore too narrow. Also, that the argument that harsh punishment would encourage victims to come forward was erroneous. Moreover, that the legal propositions were weak. Indeed aspects of the law have been challenged in court and been upheld. It would seem that in California they have opted for force as a deterrent. An alternative view suggests:    “…law-and-order approach to this problem has not worked,”.

Houston Texas in contrast has adopted what appears to be a considered approach. Much of the work has been promoted by State Representative, Senfronia Thompson. She has championed the cause and achieved a series of local statutes: a law that permits the confiscation of proceeds from the illegal business. A ‘Hotline’ posting law whereby any bar, club or lodging establishment that has been cited for nuisance violations must show a poster warning of human trafficking and prostitution. The poster includes a ‘hotline’ number and other information to get help. To date (Sept: 2013) some 35,000 establishments in Texas post the hotline.

In addition the law treats the victims with respect; it gives positive and practical assistance via rent and relocation benefits. The package also has a ‘compensation program’. If it works as well as it reads then this would seem a good programme to copy. As for the criminals the punishment is harsh, as it should be.

In 2010 and each succeeding year, Barack Obama has proclaimed January as, National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. I am not aware of any impact it has had but it is a positive step. Perhaps the Prime Minister in the UK ought to endorse it. Some may dismiss it as political gimmickry; even so, it could yield a positive outcome.

Once a year it would bring the topic to the fore allowing the agencies and charities associated with prevention to remind our politicians of the urgent need to do something. Also the general public can be kept abreast of the latest news. January being the first month of the year it can be linked to New Year resolutions. People may decide to give a small donation, £2 – $3 per month; a business may sponsor the up grading of a charity website to tackle the tragedy of slavery. Hm, Barack Obama, I might become a fan.

What I have learned from looking at the various ways the issue of human trafficking has been dealt with in USA is that people do care. Give the public something to get involved with that helps others and they will. It reminds me of an old English proverb:                “Where there’s a will there’s a way”.

Man before sex!

Man before sex!

The downside is that from Neanderthal times to the present day sex dominates men’s thinking. It probably

Man after sex.

Man after sex.

causes more disruption and damage to people’s lives than drugs. Men will go behind anyone’s back for a 5 second bash. All the talk of political correctness, of equality, of human rights slips beneath the Tsunami of men’s sexual desire.

Leonard Cohen: Famous Blue Raincoat;

You treated my woman,

To a flake of your life

And when she came back;

She was nobody’s wife.

There is nothing wrong with a healthy sexual appetite but paying to have it with a slave or a child is, oh, so depraved. To stop human trafficking for sex has an ocean to cross and as with everything it comes down to you.