The faces in the photographs on the front page of the newspaper
startled me. They were laid out in rows. The first photo in the series was
invariably of a young girl, maybe with a mischievous smile or a rebellious
glare, but with a decided look of innocence. By the end of the series, that
same face was battered, bloated and bruised.
Most prostitutes do not make a conscious choice to go into that way of life. Many are led into it by a childhood experience of sexual abuse. Others turn to it as the only way to earn a living. Especially in the developing world, prostitution is often a means of survival. “I would rather die of HIV/AIDS” than starve, a 17-year-old girl in Uganda said.
The International Labor Organization estimates that 12.3 million people worldwide are in forced labor, bonded labor or sexual servitude. Approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders each year. Up to half of trafficking victims are minors, and 80 percent are female. A majority are women and girls trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation.
I arrived at the Bangkok airport at midnight, made my way through customs, and was greeted by an airport information agent who helped me arrange transportation to my hotel. I was astonished when he asked me if I'd be interested in “the company of some ladies” during my stay. I was groggy from traveling and unsure of what I’d heard, so I asked him to repeat himself. Yes, I'd heard him right the first time—he was offering to arrange “something nice” for me.
Restrictions on contraceptives and abortion referrals
Feb 10, 2009
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the federal government, charging that it allows the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to use taxpayer dollars to impose its religious doctrines on victims of human trafficking.
Those who want to make lots of money and don’t care about breaking the law to do it have three main options: they can deal in drugs, deal in guns or deal in humans beings. Of these dubious but lucrative businesses, trafficking in humans is the fastest growing.
More than 100 organizations have urged President Bush to “stand firm on legislation and policies” to ensure that groups receiving certain federal funds provide written proof that they oppose prostitution. The letter to Bush criticizes unnamed groups that demonstrate lenience toward prostitution by, for example, providing condoms to prostitutes or conducting AIDS education programs.
Catholic Sister Clare Nolan stood before a packed audience at the City Club of Cleveland and asked her audience to think about some numbers: Somewhere between 700,000 and 2 million women and girls are taken beyond their national borders and forced into prostitution each year. One million children are channeled into the sex industry annually, starting as young as six.