Re: NEWS: U.N. body urges governments to recognise sex trade

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Slavica Stojanovic (sstojanovic@sfj.opennet.org)
Wed, 19 Aug 1998 16:57:58 +0200


Will some next Japanese government apologize to the South Asian women as to
the Koreen women from the war brothels?
Where does the money go: is it a vicious circle only. Is there any plan
that the women really get the money, plan and structure to invest it to
move their lives on, plan about not only supporting males in the families
and the children and reproducting the girls for next generation without
choice. Who will develop a responsible strategy?

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> From: Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network <jkanics@igc.apc.org>
> To: Multiple recipients of list <stop-traffic@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU>
> Subject: news: U.N. body urges governments to recognise sex trade
> Date: 19. avgust 1998 16:22
>
> 08:03 PM ET 08/18/98
>
> U.N. body urges governments to recognise sex trade
>
> By Elif Kaban
> GENEVA, Aug 19 (Reuters) - The United Nations labour
> organisation on Wednesday urged governments to officially
> recognise the booming sex industry and treat it like any other
> business.
> The International Labour Organisation, in a survey of
> Southeast Asia, said prostitution in the region had grown so
> rapidly that the sex business was now worth between two to 14
> percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in regional economies.
> The ILO stopped short of calling for prostitution to be
> legalised.
> But it spoke of the advantages of recognising prostitution
> as an economic sector for ``extending the taxation net to cover
> many of the lucrative activities associated with it'' and to
> formulate labour policies needed to deal with an estimated
> several million people working in the sex industry.''
> The report may be controversial to those governments and
> people that believe prosititution must be considered a crime.
> The author of the report, Lin Lim, said the ILO wanted
> governments to apply labour regulations and standards for social
> protection ``where prostitution is recognised as legal work.''
> ``The sex sector is not recognised as an economic sector in
> official statistics, development plans or government budgets.
> (But) the revenues it generates are crucial to the livelihoods
> and earnings potential of millions of workers beyond the
> prostitutes themselves,'' said the report.
> ``The ILO suggests that the official recognition of the
> activity, including maintaining records about it, would be
> extremely useful.''
> The ILO reiterated its call for the elimination of child
> prostitution. Estimates on the number of child prostitutes,
> though not fully reliable, ranged from 50,000 to 70,000 in the
> Philippines and as many as 800,000 in Thailand, it said.
> The ILO survey of the sex business in Indonesia, Malaysia,
> Philippines and Thailand found that between 0.25 percent and 1.5
> percent of all women in these nations were prostitutes.
> In Thailand, a 1997 government survey found 65,000
> prostitutes but the ILO said the unofficial figure could be as
> high as 300,000. Indonesia had 140,000 to 230,000 prostitutes,
> Malaysia 142,000 and Philippines nearly half a million.
> The sector is expanding beyond borders with many sex
> establishments in the Philippines found to have foreign
> financial backing including the international trafficking of
> prostitutes, the ILO survey said.
> The surge in recent years in the number of women in Asia's
> migrant workforce -- where they now equal or outnumber male
> migrants -- has fuelled the growth in the sex industry, the ILO
> said.
> Because of the shadowy nature of the sector, smugglers were
> increasingly trading in women. Some 80 percent of Asian female
> migrant workers who legally entered Japan in the 1990s were
> ``entertainers,'' a euphemism for a booming sex industry, it
> said.
> In Indonesia, the ILO estimated the financial turnover of
> the sex industry at up to $3.6 billion annually, including close
> to $100 million a year it said was generated in the capital
> Jakarta alone from activities related to the sale of sex.
> In Thailand, ILO said urban prostitutes were transferring
> $300 million in net income to rural families annually. It put
> the annual income from prostitution at more than $20 billion.
> Elsewhere, the ILO said prostitution grossed some $30
> million annually in Australia while in Japan, the sex industry
> accounted for one percent of GDP.
> Japanese men were the leading sex tourists in Asia, the
> report said.
> The survey found that earnings from prostitution were higher
> than in other unskilled jobs in the middle range -- averaging
> $800 a month in Thailand, and more than $600 in Indonesia.
> The actual number of prostitutes enslaved, trafficked or
> kept in prison was no more than 20 percent of the total.
From Gbdiaspora@aol.com Thu Aug 20 22:56:57 1998
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Dear Jo: You make some good and valid points. But, I think the suggestion is
a good one that there is room in cyberspace for more than one list on issues
related to the one so aptly defined in the original "mission" statement of
this list . That is not to say there cannot be communication among and
between persons with related, but different, perspectives. Such collaboration
and informative sharing is not only useful but essential. However, there is
also a strategic strength in having a clear and fairly narrow group focus. It
is a more direct path to successful action to narrow the field, not enlarge it
beyond the capacity of the group to deal with it.
The women's movement has grown precisely through the proliferation of groups
that focus on parts of the movement's overall goals, not all of them at once,
and these various "Task Forces," while allied in basic values, are more
effective and efficient than one octupus with too many tentacles. I speak as
one who went through the experience of the early days of NOW when it tried to
be all things to all people, and failed to serve any of them effectively. As
each new group "spun off" to concentrate on its particular interests--whether
it was women in public life, women in the clergy, women in business, women in
the workplace, or whatever, the pervasiveness of feminist reasoning and
understanding exploded exponentially. There is room for every group that
forms and undertakes its own action program while keeping in touch with the
movement as a whole. Nor do we need to create artificial barriers by
distinguishing among "victims" and "volunteers." In one way or another, we
are all victims and we are all volunteers. Let us avoid critical judgments of
each other. It is not constructive. GBD
From jkanics@igc.apc.org Mon Aug 24 16:41:38 1998
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From: Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network <jkanics@igc.apc.org>
Subject: news: What Modern Slavery Is, and Isn't

What Modern Slavery Is, and Isn't
By BARBARA CROSSETTE
26 July 1997 New York Times

              Slavery has been in the news a lot lately. Last week, New York
               City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said a Mexico-based ring had been
          holding deaf Mexican illegal immigrants in "virtual slavery" in
New York.

          A few days later, the mayor himself was accused of condoning slavery
          by requiring at least some of the city's million-plus welfare
recipients to
          work at community jobs. "Rudy, we will not be your slave drivers,"
said
          posters held by representatives of religious organizations and
voluntary
          agencies who refused to participate in the city's workfare plan.

          Slavery is a label applied to low-wage workers in the garment and
          sportswear industries abroad and sweatshops in American cities. It is
          invoked to condemn the sex industry and prison labor.

          But what is slavery nowadays anyhow? It is a question the United
          Nations has been wrestling with for decades by assigning experts to
          look at what are called "contemporary forms" of enslavement. There
          have been conventions signed and conferences held, and still the
word is
          open to considerable interpretation.

          When scores of Thai workers were found confined to a compound
          behind razor wire in a garment sweatshop in California two years ago,
          an American Civil Liberties Union official said the news should hardly
          have come as a surprise, since slave labor in the state "is one of
those
          dirty little secrets everyone knows about."

          Really?

          Slavery is older than recorded human history and probably occurred in
          some form or another almost everywhere in the world at some time. It
          was common in ancient Babylon, Persia, Egypt and the Roman Empire.
          It was found in Asia and Africa. It did not disappear in Western
Europe
          until late in the Middle Ages, and was still present in the Western
          Hemisphere when the early Spanish explorers arrived. Press-gangs
          rowing ancient Mediterranean war boats, captive victims in
          pre-Columbian sacrificial rites, Africans brought to the Americas in
          chains -- all are recognizable, indisputable examples of enslavement.

          But as slavery seems to take new forms -- or as the word is applied to
          more conditions -- there is a danger that its meaning will be
diluted or
          even diminished, said Mike Dottridge, the director of the world's
oldest
          monitor of forced labor, Anti-Slavery International (formerly the
          Anti-Slavery Society) in London.

          "The word slavery is abused," he said, "and it is abused so much that
          people begin to feel that real slavery doesn't exist.
Unfortunately, it
          does."

          Slavery is identified by an element of ownership or control over
          another's life, coercion and the restriction of movement -- by the
fact
          that "someone is not free to leave, to change an employer," Dottridge
          said. Short of that, he added, there may be terrible situations,
but they
          are not slavery.

          Low-paid factory work is not necessarily slavery, he said, though
it may
          exploit the poor and socially disadvantaged. The United States,
vaunted
          land of immigrants, was largely made from generations of such toil.

          Child labor does not always fit the category either, Dottridge said,
          though there may be hundreds of millions of children at work, most of
          them in Asia. "Some people will go so far as to say that all cases
of child
          labor amount to slavery," he said. "For us, looking as we do at real
          cases of slavery, we think that's rather a mockery of the word."

          Jemera Rone, legal counsel for Human Rights Watch in New York,
          said, "Contemporary slavery has never been really defined with any
          specificity." But she added that in her opinion "workfare," meant
to get
          people off welfare, does not fit the description of slavery
because there
          is no physical coercion.

          "The definition of slavery has been expanded by conventions signed by
          almost all countries in the world to include trafficking in women and
          bonded labor, which did not exist under the 19th-century definition of
          slavery," Ms. Rone said. "But there always are efforts by other
affected
          populations to see if their situations fit into the definition of
slavery."

          Slavery is one of several terms that have suffered "word
inflation," said
          Felice Gaer, the director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the
          Advancement of Human Rights. "Genocide" and "holocaust" are two
          others, she said. In an age when there is little that is really
shocking,
          people reach for such words to draw attention to their causes or
          strengthen them.

          When outsiders seize on the word slavery to describe some forms of
          labor, they can seem patronizing. Many can't imagine a poor village
          woman in Bangladesh or Indonesia working arduously in a garment
          factory for little pay unless there is some element of compulsion. But
          down at the ground level, women who choose such work, however
          odious to the foreign eye, frequently see their jobs as more like
          opportunities.

          On the other hand, expanding a definition of abuse does not always
have
          negative consequences. Ms. Gaer said that the recently broadened
          interpretations of women's rights have given women in many countries
          legal ground on which to fight conditions that may indeed be forms of
          slavery. The prostitutes whose bodies were found chained to their beds
          after a fire in a resort town in Thailand a decade ago did not
have the
          same standing to demand better treatment that others have now.

          The old term "white slave trade" was well chosen, said Ms. Gaer. "We
          politely call it trafficking in persons, but today in fact it is
right to see this
          as a form of slavery," she said.

          Contemporary slavery is not always easy to identify or root out
because
          much of it is accepted within a society. "Debt bondage is
practiced on a
          huge scale in certain parts of the world, particularly in South Asia,"
          Dottridge said. In India and Nepal it is buttressed by a caste
system that
          makes subjugation socially acceptable, he added. Advocates for the
          rights of outcast and low-caste people agree.

          Asma Abdel Halim, a Sudanese who is Africa's director of Equality
          Now, an international women's rights organization, said real slavery
          exists in the Sudan, a contention supported by the United Nations and
          independent human rights investigators. Islamic tribes in southern
Sudan
          regularly raid villages of non-Muslim animists and take away captives
          who must work for them as unpaid labor unless they are bought back by
          their clans. Race is not the issue. "We are all black, just
different shades
          of black," she said.

          Anti-Slavery International has also found traditional,
18th-century-style
          slavery in West Africa, where children in poor countries like Togo and
          Benin are seized from villages and sold into domestic servitude in
          Nigeria, Gabon and elsewhere in the region.

          In Asia, a well-organized begging industry mutilates Indian
children and
          transports them to Saudi Arabia to plead for money outside mosques.

          Illegal immigrant rings tend to operate within their closed cultural
          systems, like the Mexican networks placing trinket-sellers in New York
          and California. Migrants within their own countries are also
vulnerable,
          among them poor Brazilians lured to the Amazon to work on
          plantations. "Exploiters have created a complete subculture, because
          after the migrants leave home, they are unable to look to the
authorities,
          the rule of law, to protect them in any way," Dottridge said.

          This fate appeared to befall the dozens of deaf Mexicans discovered in
          Queens last week, so they seem to fit the new definition of
slavery. Their
          freedom of movement and action was curtailed, the authorities said, as
          they were crowded into apartments and monitored at work in the
          subways by enforcers of the smuggling ring that brought them here;
they
          seemed unable to escape. Closed Systems

          Dottridge says the upswing in migration around the world, a
hallmark of
          the age, is behind a substantial amount of enslavement today.

          "It is fair to say that in the 1990s, the more oppressive forms of
slavery
          are affecting migrant laborers who are traveling and already
vulnerable
          because they moved from their own societies into quite different
          societies, where they perhaps don't understand the language and are
          much more easy to exploit," he said. "The minute a migrant worker
          leaves home, the odds are that some form of slavery will emerge."


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