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A Humanitarian Mission Becomes a Disaster …

A forthcoming report documents United Nations workers exchanging relief goods for sex.lead_large

If anything could stand to rival the devastation of the natural disasters to strike Haiti, it would be disasters of the manmade variety.

Just over five years after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake killed well over 100,000 people in the country and destroyed countless government, religious, and cultural landmarks, Haiti’s recovery is not only far from over, it’s far from certain. An ongoing domestic political crisis is just one culprit.

Other sources of considerable trouble are the very humanitarian organizations that are supposed to help revive the country. Much of the food aid given by the United States in the wake of the 2010 earthquake—totaling well over $100 million—is believed to have actually harmed struggling Haitian farmers, who were already trying to sell corn and rice against cheaper imports. Continue reading

All Your Clothes Are Made With Exploited Labor ….

Patagonia tried to stop human trafficking in its supply chain, but, as recently as 2011, internal audits found continuing abuses. Is the problem too massive for companies to solve?

In the more than 40 years since its founding as a clothing company, Patagonia has become a symbol of well-heeled outdoor adventure. But the apparel and sporting company, which sells everything from fleece jackets to smoked salmon, thinks of itself as more than just a retail company. Patagonia is an accredited and founding member of the Fair Labor Association; its website is as much an educational tool about environmental and social responsibility—filled with information on issues such as preservation of land in Chile, labeling GMO products, and responsible sourcing—as it is an online store. In a note launching the company’s food division, Patagonia Provisions, company founder YvonChouinard restated the brand’s central ethos: “We aim to make the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and perhaps most important, inspire solutions to the environmental crisis.”

And yet, despite these aspirations, four years ago internal audits turned up multiple instances of human trafficking, forced labor, and exploitation in Patagonia’s supply chain, according to Cara Chacon, the company’s director of social and environmental responsibility, and Thuy Nguyen, the manager of supply chain social responsibility and special programs.

The audits examined not Patagonia’s first-tier suppliers—the factories that cut, sew, and assemble Patagonia’s products—but the mills that take raw materials and produce the fabrics and other parts that later become jackets, backpacks, and so on for the world’s adventuring class. About one-quarter of those mills are based in Taiwan, and the majority were found to have instances of  trafficking and exploitation.

The problems stemmed from how those mills found the people to work their factory lines. They didn’t hire workers themselves and instead turned to so-called labor brokers.These labor brokers charged migrants exorbitant, often illegally high fees in exchange for jobs. There were other red flags, too. Suppliers would open bank accounts into which the workersdeposited their paychecks, so that fees for labor brokers could be automatically deducted. Workers’ movements were also restricted through the confiscation of passports. The recruitment and hiring process used by many labor brokers can create a cycle of fear and debt that leaves workers neither able to leave their jobs nor to make a decent living.

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Sex trafficking and forced marriages flourish under China’s one-child policy …

Thanks to a shortage of women created in part by China’s one-child policy, the country has become a hotbed of human trafficking. Desperate men pay exorbitant rates to marriage brokers who trick women into coming across the border and sell them like slaves.

Despite the country’s failure to crack down on the practice, the U.S. State Department last year moved China from Tier 3 status (where it can be sanctioned on non-trade and non-humanitarian aid) to Tier 2 watch list (countries that consistently fail to meet minimum standards, but make promises for future compliance) in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. This year’s report is due out this month.

More than 30 years since its inception, the unintended consequences of China’s one-child policy, coupled with its long-standing preference for male babies, have created a significant gender gap. The advent of sonograms allowed families who wanted a son to abort unwanted girls, a practice that became more frequent with the one-child policy. Experts now say China’s skewed sex ratio contributes to the trafficking of women and forced marriage.

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Malaysia Finds 139 Graves in Horrifying Human Trafficking Camps ….



A Malaysian policeman carries human skeletal remains inside plastic bags exhumed from graves following the discovery of numerous grave sites and detention camps near the Malaysia–Thailand border in Wang Kelian on May 25, 2015.

The migrant crisis of Southeast Asia was already horrifying enough. Now it turns out the depth of terror and inhuman action that smugglers are imparting on their victims may actually be worse than many predicted. Malaysia said on Monday it had found 139 graves, and signs of torture, in a cluster of around 28 abandoned camps in the jungle. “It is a very sad scene,” National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said, according to the Associated Press. “I am shocked. We never expected this kind of cruelty.”

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Men and Boys in Sex Trafficking Overlooked …



Key points from three different resources:

* Males remain a largely invisible population within the dialogue on sex trafficking. According to a 2008 study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in fact, boys comprised about 50 percent of sexually exploited children in a sample study done in New York, with most being domestic victims.
* Experts say that the law enforcement’s attitudes toward male victims are still weighed down by gender biases in trafficking discourse, which pins females as victims and males as perpetrators. Therefore, male victims in custody often fall through the cracks of services that could be offered to help them because they are not properly assessed for sexual exploitation.
* “Responses are more or less the same – how can a boy be trafficked, they’re much stronger than girls, they could get out of it if they wanted to so,” says Genna Goldsobel, state policy coordinator of ECPAT-USA, a national anti-trafficking organization based in New York.

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A former sex slave’s terrifying ordeal: “As soon as he put the blindfold on, I knew something was wrong”

Jill Brenneman


I met Jill Brenneman in 2011 at a conference for sex workers in Asheville, North Carolina. Standing behind a podium ironically flanked by crosses, jill_brennemanthe tall redhead delivered a presentation so spellbinding that the audience seemed to breathe and gasp in unison. Her story of brutal rape, of slavery, of dungeons, of “50 Shades of Grey” bondage gone horribly awry, was so dark and harrowing that one wondered how she had even survived, much less summoned the strength to stand before us.

As I came to know her over the years, to enjoy her dry sense of humor, her keen intelligence, her blunt manner of speaking that forces you to take off every mask, I learned the other side of her story too. Her real story is not a tragedy. It is a lesson of redemption and courage, second chances and taking chances. Above all, it is a story of empowerment. Continue reading

Criminalizing the buying of sex in Nordic countries: a model for Romania


On April 22nd, 2015, Bucharest hosted, at the Parliament building, the international conference “Politicians and Civil Society against human trafficking”. The event participants on behalf of Western European civil society organizations warned that legalizing prostitution has made impossible to combat human trafficking, as it proved in countries such as Germany or Holland. A more efficient measure to combat human trafficking is to criminalize people willing to pay for sexual services. Studies shows an amazing success rate of this approach, as it was implemented in Norway and Sweden.

Presentation by Maria Ahlin, General Secretary, Freethem

Kotsadam, A, and Jakobsson, N. (2010). “Do laws affect attitudes? An assessment of the Norwegian prostitution law using longitudinal data”


• This paper uses longitudinal survey data from Norway and Sweden, collected before and after the implementation of the sex-purchase law in Norway, to asses the short-run effects on sex-purchase attitudes.


• Although they found that in the general population, the law did not have an affect on the moral attitudes toward prostitution (note: in the short run!) they found that in Oslo, where prostitution was more visible before the reform, the law made people more negative toward buying sex.

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Prostituția și supremația masculină

de Andrea Dworkin

(Feminista Andrea Dworkin a tinut acest discurs la un simpozion intitulat „Prostitutia: De la Academie la Activism”, la Facultatea de Drept a Universitatii din Michigan, 31 octombrie 1992. Apărut în Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, Vol I, 1993. Facem mentiunea ca desi atitudinea si vocabularul sunt tipice feminismului modern agresiv, publicam acest material pentru a arata ca raul prostitutiei este atat de mare incat el a fost inteles pana si de cele mai „progresive” persoane si ca noi – „conservatorii”, adica – nu suntem singurii care ne opunem in mod rational si cu argumente legiferarii prsotitutiei. De altfel, prostitutia legiferata este in regres in toata lumea, asa cum aratam la )

Sunt foarte onorata sa ma aflu aici impreuna cu prietenii si surorile mele, sustinatorii mei in aceasta actiune.

Simt, de asemenea, si un teribil disconfort, pentru ca este foarte greu sa vorbesti despre prostitutie intr-un mediu academic. Este, cu adevarat, foarte dificil.

Presupunerile academice sunt departe de a reda imaginea reala a vietii pentru femeile care practica prostitutia. Viata academica se bazeaza pe notiunea ca exista un maine, si o noua zi, si o alta noua zi; sau ca cineva poate veni, din frigul de afara, aici, ca sa studieze; sau ca exista o contradictie de idei care iti poate aduce neplaceri, dar care nu te va costa viata. Acestea sunt premise dupa care se ghideaza, zilnic, cei care invata sau cei care predau aici. Dar ele sunt in antiteza cu vietile femeilor care practica sau au practicat prostitutia.

Daca ati merge vreodata pe acest drum, nu ati cunoaste ideea de maine, pentru ca „maine” este un moment foarte indepartat. Nu poti sti, de la un minut la altul, daca vei ramane in viata. Nu poti presupune si nu poti fi sigur. Daca presupui asta, esti un ignorant si a fi ignorant in lumea prostitutiei inseamna a fi mort. Nici o femeie care se prostitueaza nu-si poate permite sa fie atat de ignoranta, intr-atat incat sa creada ca va mai vedea lumina zilei si maine.

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Este „lucrătoare sexuală” o denumire corectă?

Acest comentariu tratează un termen aproape necunoscut (deocamdată!) în limba română, acela de „lucrătoare sexuală”. Preluat, la fel ca majoritatea aberațiilor lingvistice și constructelor demne de Noulimba orwelliană, din engleza americană, „sex worker” este un termen care desemnează femeia prostituată.

Disputa din jurul acestuia reflectă de fapt războiul pro și contra prostituției, care se duce în chiar sânul mișcării feministe: o bună parte, probabil majoritară, dintre organizațiile feministe cer abolirea prostituției pe motiv că aceasta este, în fapt, o formă de viol plătit și afectează grav demnitatea femeii și lupta acesteia pentru egalitate (cum anume propun să se ajungă la această abolire e o cu totul altă poveste!), în timp ce zona radicală consideră că prostituția trebuie să fie liberă, prostituata să fie acceptată ca orice altă persoană care muncește cinstit, iar autoritățile să asigure controlul anti-abuz și posibilitatea femeilor de a intra și ieși din această „meserie” după buna voie.

Spuneam mai sus că, probabil, feministele „aboliționiste” sunt majoritare; aceasta și pentru că, confruntate cu dezastrul adus de aproape 20 de ani de experiență a prostituției legalizate (vezi în special Germania și Olanda – detalii pe ele au început să înțeleagă natura înrobitoare și înjositoare a prostituției legalizate și complicitatea pe care, în acest caz, autoritățile o au la abuzarea femeilor și la prăbușirea moralei publice.

Interesant este că, deși în engleză expresia se referă – nediscriminatoriu și egalitarist, nu-i așa! – la persoanele de ambele sexe care „lucrează” în prostituție, de fapt, imensa majoritate a celor care se prostituează sunt femei.

Este „lucrătoare sexuală” o denumire corectă?

Mary Rose Somarriba *

Contrar retoricii grupurilor de lobby pentru lucrătoarele sexuale, marea majoritate a femeilor care se prostituează nu au adoptat această meserie de bunăvoie. Traficul de ființe umane este o problemă gravă, iar cei care încearcă să îi minimalizeze prevalența au deseori motive ascunse.

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