Subject: Re: [Stop-traffic] News/US: Opinion -- COMBATING MODERN SLAVERY
From: Migration Research (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Nov 24 2000 - 17:48:12 EST
Regarding penalties it should be thoroughly understood that when you have a
crackdown that sweeps up a few lackies or even catches the occasional Mr.
Big you actually do not deter anyone, but substantially add to the myth of
invincibility that surrounds those men who are never caught.
In Lyon the police caught several Albanian men, one of whom was of some
substance but then he was still just a subordinate for the main group of
three prime organisers. Each of the three main organisers left France for
another European country prior to the arrests and even now no arrest warrant
has been issued for any of them.
So the impact of the huge anti-Albanian mafia trial in Lyon hasn't
initimidated anyone except the women. It has added to the myth of
invincibility of the main organisers and as such shown the women that
resistence via the criminal justice system is useless.
Paulo Freire wrote in the Pedogogy of Hope, "...the more the oppressed see
the oppressors as 'unbeatable' endowed with an invincible power, the less
they believe in themselves."
Women in Lyon now see themselves vulnerable to arbitary arrest and
imprisonment as pimps, and the authority and power of the main organisers
has never been greater. However because of other interventions, groups like
Femmes de l'Est are becoming a catalyst for resistence.
I was interested to listen recently to a senior French police officer
responsible for vice issues describe why he felt repression of foreign
street sex workers was appropriate. His argument was if there were no sex
workers there would be no exploiters, so remove the sex workers and end
He also said France didn't need witness protection for trafficked women
because they didn't need to appear in court after making their complaint or
statement so after that act they could go home or leave for somewhere else
they certainly were not needed in France. Another officer later implied any
sex worker who didn't denounce her exploiter was most likely an exploiter
herself, and possibly an exploiter of herself. So are we going to see women
arrested for 'trafficking' themselves?
Criminal justice initiatives are very poor tools for empowering woman or
More time and effort should be made to engage with migrant sex workers and
help them work through their own solutions to trafficking.
However I think that the infalliable logic of ending exploitation by
repressing all prositution is just too attractive to certain sectors.
I would encourage everyone to visit the www.FreeElona.com site.
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