Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Shelters are not solutions" ???? What the what?!?

An article came out yesterday that stated, "Shelters are not solutions".... Here is a link if you want to read the article, but below are my comments which I sent in to the paper.

This article is incredibly disturbing and disappointing. It is so poorly written and uninformed I had extreme difficulty in finding a starting place for my rebuttal. I figured the best response was to try to address each point in the article, individually.

Senator Wyden should be esteemed for his efforts in trying to pass this bill. He is also correct in stating that $50 million is a modest sum of money. When you consider there are nearly 27 million individuals who are enslaved around the globe, and the FBI estimates there are 300,000 American minors who are trafficked within the US every year, or that Human Trafficking is a $32 Billion business (more than Nike, Google, and Starbucks combined), $50 million is a drop in the bucket.

Moreover our Government’s “Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons” only spent $23 million last year on the fight against trafficking in the US, which is $76.66 per American girl, per year. So, this money is desperately needed.

As one of the readers had mentioned, “This article is an adventure in missing the point.” The reader could not have been more right. Demand is definitely an issue, but to say that, “Shelters are not solutions” is simply an ignorant statement.

Officials in Portland have said recently that we have 2-5 minors who are trafficked every week. Simple math would show, that is a minimum of 104 victims a year. What should we do with these individuals? These individuals have been raped 5-20 times a day by 5-20 different men. Most of us know someone who has dealt with rape or molestation and we know how bad that damages the rest of their life. Just imagine being abused to the level that these girls are experiencing. Yet "Shelter are not solutions."?

Siddarth Kara is quoted in his book, “Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery”, as saying, “If the 27 million people who are in slavery today were set free, where would they go?”

The writer of this article doesn’t seem to understand that, “Freedom without a future is simply another form of slavery.” (James Pond, Transitions Global)

The writer goes on to pose the question, “... could there be benefits of legalized prostitution?” The answer is yes! Legalizing prostitution absolutely could be beneficial.... to the Trafficker . If the writer had done proper research it would have been discovered that in places where trafficking is legalized (which in correction to the writer, prostitution is legal in parts of Nevada, but not legal in Las Vegas) it only attracts traffickers. Which naturally makes sense from a business stand point. If you are a business owner, wouldn’t you go somewhere that your business is not being scrutinized and under constant threat of being shut down? 

The writer continues to create conflict in the article by pointing to Sweden’s model of legalizing the selling of sex, but outlawing the purchase (which I think could be a good model) and seemingly aiding the plight of the trafficking victims. By using this model as an example the writer is saying that, “ ... without men’s demand for and use of women and girls for sexual exploitation, the global prostitution industry would not be able to expand.” This is great, but what about all the girls who are left?

The writer quotes The Council for Prostitution Alternatives and points out all of the damage being done to these women “in our own city of Portland”, not to mention all the underage victims, yet still makes the statement that, “Shelters are not solutions”. This is without taking into account that, “Interviews with prostitutes around the world revealed that two-thirds suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), in contrast to fewer than 5 percent of the general population, and in a higher percentage as well as more severe form than that suffered by Vietnam veterans.” (Farley, 1998)

To make the statement that, “Shelter are not solutions” after knowing the horror which takes places to these women and little girls in our nation and around the world, is unbelievable!

Shelters might not be THE solution, but it is definitely a primary facet!

Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Human Trafficking is a horrible injustice that is ravaging women around the globe and in our own backyard.

Everyone should find a way to come to the aid of these women and girls for the sake of our humanity, and Senator Wyden deserves to be applauded for his work not questioned.

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