Re: Comment: ILO report wins award

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Subject: Re: Comment: ILO report wins award
mditmor1@email.GC.cuny.edu
Date: Wed Feb 24 1999 - 13:35:16 EST


having read the report I must underscore jyothi's sentiments.

Melissa

e

On Tue, 23 Feb 1999, Jyothi Kanics wrote:

> Dear List,
>
> I would encourage anyone who can to read this ILO report before writing =
> in support or against it.
>
> If marginalisation, stigma, exclusion and dependence on agents increases =
> vulnerability among trafficked women then the recommendations of this =
> report could offer considerable opportunities to address such =
> vulnerability by offering women in sex work adequate labour law =
> protection.
>
> Best regards
>
> John Davies
>
> ILO Home=20
>
> INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION
>
> 1998 PRESS RELEASES=20
>
> ILO Report on Sex Sector Receives Prestigious Publishing Prize=20
>
> at Frankfurt Book Fair
>
> Saturday 10 October 1998
>
> ( ILO/98/36 )
>
> FRANKFURT (ILO News) - A prestigious publishing prize, the 1998 =
> International Nike Award, has been awarded to Ms. Lin Lean Lim of the =
> International Labour=20
>
> Office (ILO) for a recently published study on the sex industry in =
> Southeast=20
>
> Asia. Ms Lim, who authored The Sex Sector: The economic and social bases =
> of=20
>
> prostitution in Southeast Asia(Endnote 1), will accept the award on =
> Saturday, 10=20
>
> October at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.=20
>
> The prize was launched in 1997 by feminist writer Shere Hite at the =
> Frankfurt=20
>
> Book Fair to honour nonfiction writing by women which contributes to the =
>
>
> advancement of thinking about the situation of women in the world. The =
> ILO=20
>
> publication was chosen by a jury including women from five continents, =
> all of=20
>
> whom are renowned for their writings and activism.=20
>
> The ILO study examines the social and economic forces driving the growth =
> of the=20
>
> sex industry in four Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the =
>
>
> Philippines and Thailand. It says that the provision of sexual services =
> has=20
>
> assumed the dimensions of a full-blown commercial sector, one that =
> provides=20
>
> direct and indirect employment to millions of workers and contributes=20
>
> substantially to national incomes throughout the region.=20
>
> Ms Lim, an ILO researcher and employment policy expert, thanked the jury =
> on=20
>
> behalf of the ILO for its decision and said that she hoped "the award =
> would=20
>
> focus attention on the many misunderstandings and the huge public policy =
> void=20
>
> surrounding the sex sector as well as on the plight of its many innocent =
>
>
> victims, including trafficked women and children."=20
>
> She said that "the growing scale of prostitution raises alarming =
> questions, not=20
>
> only about public health, morality and gender discrimination, but about =
> the=20
>
> basic human rights of the ever-increasing numbers of commercial sex =
> workers,=20
>
> most of whom would appear to enter the business willingly, but many of =
> whom are=20
>
> forced, trafficked, tricked or exploited into sex work." She said that =
> migrant=20
>
> women were a particularly vulnerable group and evidence abounds of =
> "ruthlessly=20
>
> efficient international networks directing trafficking of migrant =
> prostitutes=20
>
> throughout Asia and beyond."=20
>
> Lin Lim added that while the conditions of adult sex workers differ =
> greatly,=20
>
> ranging from freely chosen and highly remunerative to exploitation and =
> virtual=20
>
> slavery, "there is no such ambiguity concerning child prostitution," =
> which she=20
>
> said should be considered as a much more serious problem than adult=20
>
> prostitution.=20
>
> "Adults can choose to become prostitutes or to work in pornography. =
> Children=20
>
> cannot. Children are much more vulnerable and helpless against the =
> established=20
>
> structures and vested interests of the sex sector and much more likely =
> to be=20
>
> victims of debt bondage, trafficking, physical violence or torture. They =
> are=20
>
> much more susceptible to diseases, including HIV/AIDS and suffer =
> lifelong=20
>
> physical and psychological trauma. While there is a range of possible =
> options=20
>
> for coping with the increase in adult prostitution, there should be only =
> one=20
>
> goal for child prostitution - to eliminate it."=20
>
> The report estimates that anywhere between 0.25 per cent and 1.5 per =
> cent of the=20
>
> total female population in the study countries are engaged in =
> prostitution.=20
>
> Related activities (including the numerous bars, hotels, entertainment=20
>
> facilities and tourist agencies that thrive on prostitution), employ =
> literally=20
>
> millions more workers. Large segments of the population in Southeast =
> Asia -=20
>
> notably the rural-poor families who often send their daughters to work =
> as=20
>
> prostitutes - rely upon remittances from prostitution for their =
> well-being if=20
>
> not for their outright survival. However, in spite of the size and =
> economic=20
>
> importance of prostitution, it is almost entirely unregulated and goes=20
>
> unrecognised in official statistics, development plans and government =
> budgets of=20
>
> almost all countries worldwide.=20
>
> The report emphasizes the economic bases of prostitution, highlighting =
> the=20
>
> strong economic incentives that drive women to enter the sector, despite =
> the=20
>
> social stigma and danger attached to the work Sex work is often better =
> paid than=20
>
> most of the options available to young, often uneducated women. The =
> report also=20
>
> highlights the many vested economic interests that derive profit from =
> the=20
>
> activities rather than the women and children who are the ones who are=20
>
> commercially sexually exploited. The report stresses that in order to =
> come to=20
>
> terms with the problems of prostitution, it is necessary to tackle these =
> various=20
>
> vested interests. These include a wide range of social actors, including =
> the=20
>
> families of the women and children who depend on the revenues generated =
> by=20
>
> prostitution and who sometimes sell their children into prostitution, =
> the=20
>
> various sex establishments which include large swathes of the =
> entertainment and=20
>
> travel & tourism industries and corrupt officials without which =
> international=20
>
> trafficking networks could not operate with impunity.=20
>
> The report argues that the growth of prostitution is probably linked, =
> albeit=20
>
> inadvertently, to the macro-economic policies of governments which have =
> a=20
>
> tendency to spawn rapid urbanisation at the expense of rural =
> development, to=20
>
> promote cheap labour for industrialization, to facilitate the export of =
> female=20
>
> labour for overseas employment and to promote tourism as a foreign =
> exchange=20
>
> earner. All these features of modern, export-oriented economies, =
> combined with=20
>
> the pervasive lack of social safety nets and deep-rooted gender =
> discrimination=20
>
> against females, probably contribute to the growth of the sex sector.=20
>
> The report says that "measures targeting the sex sector have to consider =
> moral,=20
>
> religious, health, human rights and criminal issues in addressing a =
> phenomenon=20
>
> that is mainly economic in nature." However, the report states =
> categorically=20
>
> that it is outside the purview of the ILO to take a stand on whether =
> countries=20
>
> should legalize prostitution. According to Lin Lim, "recognition of =
> prostitution=20
>
> as an economic sector does not mean that the ILO is calling for the =
> legalization=20
>
> of prostitution." The book takes pains to explain the different possible =
> legal=20
>
> approaches - criminalization and total prohibition, legalization which =
> involves=20
>
> registration and regulation of the sex establishments and the =
> prostitutes, and=20
>
> decriminalization which treats the prostitutes as victims and imposes =
> stronger=20
>
> criminal sanctions on those who traffic in, exploit or abuse =
> prostitutes. But=20
>
> the ILO insists that it is for countries themselves to decide on the =
> legal=20
>
> stance to adopt.=20
>
> The ILO is the United Nations' specialised agency for workplace issues =
> and for=20
>
> the development and implementation of international labour standards. =
> Founded in=20
>
> 1919, it is the oldest United Nations agency. The ILO counts 174 member =
> States.=20
>
> Endnote 1:
>
> The Sex Sector: The economic and social bases of prostitution in =
> Southeast Asia=20
>
> edited by Lin Lean Lim, International Labour Office, Geneva, 1998. ISBN=20
>
> 92-2-109522-3. Price: 35 Swiss francs.=20
>
>
>
> For further information, please contact Bureau of Public Information =
> (PRESSE)=20
>
> at:
>
> Tel: +41.22.799.7940 or Fax: +41.22.799.8577.=20
>
>
>
>
>
>


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