Prostitution & human trafficking
… BOUGHT & SOLD AGAINST YOUR WILL
‘’To be deceived or taken against your will, bought, sold and transported into slavery. For sexual exploitation, forced begging, sacrificial worship or removal of human organs, as child brides or into sweat shops, circuses, farm labour and domestic servitude.’’
(Photo and text source: http://www.stopthetraffik.org/what-is-human-trafficking)
I am so mad about this world, a world where human trafficking is possible. It is a world which we still have to work on!
I think that prostitution is perhaps one of the oldest professions in the world, but it is one in which women and men are exploited, and where their youth is robbed from them.
The repulsive face of prostitution in the heart of Europe:
In the year 2000, the Netherlands lifted the ban on brothels. An important aim of this policy was to stamp out human trafficking. So if you visit Amsterdam and its famous Red Light District in the evening you will see hundreds of living objects behind windows waving to you, trying to convince you to step closer and come in. Half naked women, most of them from Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, or Asia, that have been transformed into sexual objects.
On my summer holiday I went to see the famous and beautiful city of Amsterdam. I was curious to see a modern, liberal and reformed country. And after two days I went to see the Red Light District just around the block. I could not look into the eyes of the women. It was shocking to see so many women from Eastern Europe, many Bulgarian and Romanian women. I saw a pimp in an expensive car, with a Romanian number and a very young girl. I don’t think that she was older than 16.
Many of these young girls have been victims of human traffickers who promised them a better life, a good job in a restaurant or a bar. There are estimates that say that there are about 15.000 to 30.000 prostitutes in the Netherlands. 10% are supposed to be streetwalkers, 30% in window prostitution, 30% working in a sex club, 15% in an escort service and 15% work in their private residence. Male homosexual prostitution is estimated to count 1300 men, of which a large group must be relatively young.
And if some women make it out of the hands of their pimps, they have to start their life all over again marked by the past that has robbed their youth and health.
However, it is not clear what kind of assistance those victims were given in places like Romania, or who provides assistance for the victims. According to the Ministry of Administration and the Interior the police send women to the shelters in Piteşti, the Alternative Social Shelter in Iasu, SCOP in Timişoara or to the local or government shelters in Mehedinţi and Timişoara. There is no information available about the number of women sent to the shelters, but probably fewer than 50 women among those who were identified as victims of trafficking received assistance in the shelters. According to the Ministry of
Administration and the Interior, many victims do not ask for assistance and do not want to be placed in a shelter. All children are placed in a shelter (an emergency care placement centre) until their family situation is assessed.[i] How do I, as a Romanian, understand this? The government does not care about these people and leaves them in their misery. I know that other countries like Germany have special dropout projects for all women and men that want to start a new life after prostitution. It makes me so mad that the countries the women come from do so little.
I started looking at the other girls in the windows with the red lights in a different way.
Don’t look away, because you will see your sister, your schoolmate, the girl you went to university with, the woman from the grocery shop… behind the windows of the red light districts…
I would never forbid the sex industry and prostitution, because that wouldn’t stop it from existing, it would just move to the underground of society and become even worse for the prostitutes and easier for the human traffickers. If we want to stop human exploitation and get people out of the black holes that they are kept in we have to act!
I can’t accept prostitution that is based on exploitation and steals the dignity of so many people. It takes away their youth, dignity, freedom and happiness. It has to be one of the worst things that can happen to a person, to lose your freedom and not be able to decide what you want to do, where you want to go… and every person should have the right to be free!
I could not stop looking at the women, and thinking that I may have seen one of them in Romania before. And all those women, Eastern European, Caribbean, African or Asian, are exploited.
Here I found a story that many women share…
‘’SOPHIE – UK
“Two years ago everything changed. I was trafficked. I was fooled. I was deceived by a man who said that he loved me. The tragedy is that I believed him. Now I know that love is not shown by forcing me to work on the streets, beating me up, force feeding me and turning me into someone with no mind of my own. I had become like a frightened rabbit. I was terrified that he would kill me. Death too often felt like my only way to escape.
People are product.
I was one of them.
But I am a survivor.
I have a new life but I am haunted by the faces of those who used me, those whom I did not choose, those for whom I was nothing more than a ten-minute thing.
Please join STOP THE TRAFFIK and make a difference to people’s lives… … people like me.” (http://www.stopthetraffik.org/real-life-stories)
We have to become sensitive and hear, see and speak out against human trafficking, so our children, siblings, school mates and neighbors can live in peace and don’t become sexual objects or products.
(source of pictures: http://www.stopthetraffik.org/what-is-human-trafficking)
“Invisible Slavery: Human Trafficking in Europe” conference was sponsored by European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.