‘Sex Slaves’ Or ‘sex Workers’? Cross-cultural and Comparative Religious views on sex, Subjectivity, and Moral Identity in Anti-sex Trafficking Discourse

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The international trafficking in females and kids (chiefly girls) for prostitution and intercourse work is becoming a multi-billion buck industry in present decades, particularly in areas of Southern and Southeast Asia. Despite their typical objective to remove or reduce the sex trafficking industry and help the victims, the many entities involved with anti-sex trafficking efforts have sharply disagreed about a number of dilemmas, including a fundamental concept of intercourse trafficking as well as the appropriate approaches for fighting it. In this essay, I examine one main section of disagreement, which revolves across the problem of the morality of prostitution as well as other types of commercial intercourse work. This problem brings along with it divergent, also antithetical, views regarding ladies’ sex functions, self-identity and ethical agency in reference to intercourse work. We reveal how a spiritual proportions of the problem have now been inadequately dealt with by showing just how discourse that is anti-trafficking devoid of non-Western spiritual views. Since Thailand happens to be the centre for sex trafficking plus the commercial intercourse industry when you look at the Asia-Pacific area, where in fact the percentage that is greatest of intercourse trafficking occurs, this short article will talk about Thai Buddhist views to illustrate the way the anti-sex trafficking discourse has ignored social variations in its analysis.


1. Another supply states there are ‘some 200,000 intercourse slaves worldwide bringing their slaveholders a profit that is annual of10.5 billion’ (Leuchtag , 1). The US State Department recently revised its estimates of persons trafficked into the United States down from 50,000 to between 18,000 to 20,000 annually, with the explanation that differences from the original US Government estimate in 1997 were due to ‘improvements in data collection and methodology rather than trends in trafficking’ (US Department of State ) to illustrate the difficulties of accurately estimating the numbers of trafficked persons. This covers men, females and kids trafficked across borders ‘for forced labor or exploitation’ that is sexual that are defined into the US Trafficking Victims Protection work as ‘severe types of trafficking’ (US Department of State ).

2. Eighty nations finalized the Protocol in December 2000, while the needed 40 nations necessary for ratification signed by the termination of September 2003, therefore it joined into force on 25 December 2003 (Agalawatta ; see Signatories towards the UN Convention against Transnational Crime as well as its Protocols UN, )

3. Brock additionally contends that changing our comprehension of intercourse trafficking and prostitution ‘means noting the long Christian that is pathological legacy sex, power, and ladies’ (Brock 2000, 256).

4. Nevertheless, recent years have actually witnessed a significant boost in trafficking in other areas of this globe too, particularly previous Soviet Republics and African countries.

5. The research is significant in being mostly of the documents that are english-language reveals the motivations, chatavenuefree experiences, and voices of real trafficked females, something which is regrettably frequently lacking from analyses of trafficking carried out by governments and NGOs, even as we will dsicover later on in this paper.

6. Included in these are the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948 ), the UN Convention in the Suppression associated with Traffic in individuals and of the Exploitation associated with the Prostitution of other people (1949 Trafficking meeting; UN, ), the UN Convention for Civil and Political Rights (UN, ), The Women’s Convention (UN, ), the UN Convention from the legal rights of this young child(UN, ), the Platform for Action (UN 1995) and, of late, the UN Trafficking Protocol (UN, ). As an example, the UNIFEM comes with been developing a gender-responsive approach that is rights-based trafficking (See UNIFEM 2002a).

7. More considerable conversations with this past history are contained in a few sources, including Irwin (), Doezema () and Bindman ().

8. Although each one of these defined trafficking differently, they certainly were all abolitionist within their orientation to protecting ladies and kiddies from doing prostitution. Prostitutes on their own are not prosecuted under this method, because they had been regarded mainly (if not basically) as victims (Bindman , 6; Derks , 4).

9. As an example, states are because of the discernment to guard only those victims whom consent to appear as witnesses within the prosecution of suspected traffickers (GAATW 2001).

10. Doezema claims that the analysis associated with discourses of trafficking and prostitution reveals that ‘the genuine concern when it comes to public and policy-makers just isn’t with protecting feamales in the intercourse industry, however with preventing “innocent” ladies from becoming prostitutes’ (Doezema 2000, 18).

11. The philosopher Martha Nussbaum shares this view in contending that whereas a number of the sensed evils of prostitution won’t be remedied through criminalisation, a number of the harms that prostitutes experience, such as for example real punishment, chance of HIV along with other intimately transmitted conditions, as well as stigma (to some degree) might be relieved through legalisation (Nussbaum , 278).

12. Certainly, Ben Svasti, the coordinator of TRACFORD, a joint task force created with US help in 2002 to strike intercourse trafficking in north Thailand, admits that ‘Its hard to find out that are the victims’ and that he is heard ‘of the exact same migrant intercourse employees being rescued from brothels 2 or 3 times’ (Montlake , 2). To some extent, the reason being the conditions among these ladies’ everyday lives at ‘home’ could be far even even worse than abroad as intercourse employees, like in Myanmar, in which the systematic rape of cultural Shan ladies by Burmese soldiers happens to be documented (Montlake , 2). This kind of circumstances, ‘being invest the tactile fingers of traffickers could be the smaller evil’ (Montlake , 2).

13. Buddhist communities today include Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka also significant areas of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Japan, and historically included Asia, the birthplace of this historic Buddha, and mainland Asia. These are all regions by which intercourse trafficking happens.

14. The exclusion of females through the Sangha (the state monastic establishment, that is recognised and sustained by the federal government in Thailand) forecloses an essential method for them to produce merit this is certainly available to their ‘brothers’, and plays a role in the denigration of females in Buddhist countries by giving ‘evidence’ of the religious inferiority (Eberhardt , 78). The causes with this are historic. Females had been admitted towards the Buddhist monastic institution or Sangha through the very first times of the Buddhist faith. Your order of nuns faded away centuries ago in Theravada Buddhist countries and contains perhaps maybe not been reintroduced, to some extent due to the opposition associated with the orthodox male monastic establishment (and even though male purchases have already been reintroduced in a number of other Buddhist nations after having disappeared).

15. As she states elsewhere: ‘To enable me personally as being a intercourse worker you assume the part of functioning on me personally and also you assume that we see myself as a person involved in intercourse work. If I do not see myself in this way, I quickly have always been disqualified from the empowerment project …’ (Agustin , 1).

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