Thursday, 7 May 2015

Stop the traffic

Well this is a huge topic I have been waiting to write about, which I'm sure you have guessed is human trafficking. One thing I've found very interesting is seeing and experiencing how human trafficking is different everywhere you go. From Las Vegas, to Tijauna, to Bangkok, to Phnom Penh every place is different. I think so easily we try to box in this issue and put labels on it, but it's so complex and deep it's almost impossible to do that. One thing that struck me in Bangkok is that they are open about selling sex but at the same time there is an entire other realm of sex slavery, and prostitution you wouldn't see unless you sought it out 
   So first I will talk about my experience in one of the red light districts here in Bangkok. Honestly it's crazy. Tourists are everywhere, parents with kids and all around the shopping, food, and excitement there are people exploiting and selling women and girls. We would be walking down the crowded streets while men would try to usher you into bars and clubs to see sex shows, and women do completely inhumane acts for others enjoyment. None of this is hush hush either, you can walk by and watch women dance half naked dancing on bars while men hassle them. When you look those girls in the eyes they just look so dead, and lifeless. All of them are so young and have so much potential but right now they are dancing on bars because they have no other options. Another big part of the visible sex industry are massage parlours and karaoke bars. Usually massage parlours in certain areas are used as means to get a prostitue or to have a place to "relax" sexually. And karaoke bars are places where you can rent a women to sing and have fun with which could then potentially lead to renting her for other purposes. It's honestly just sad, it's so sad. It's ridiculous to see how many tourists go to see these shows, and to take advantage of women, but it's also sad to see people sell other people. 
   Another form of human trafficking and at times freelance prostitution is some who work the streets without ties to a strip club, bar, massage parlour etc. this for the most part is the more hidden aspect of prostitution. It's interesting because we were informed that some of these women do it freelance for reasons like lack of a better job, need more money, pays better; and some women work for pimps and may be forced into what they are doing. We were also told that there are also a lot of freelance male prostitutes in the area, and that there are a lot of people who may not look like your stereotypical prostitute out selling their body. Another crazy thing we found out is the amount of pay by hour hotels which are used as places for prostitues to do business. Again going back to the fact that this is such a complex issue., it's so hard to wrap my head around all the different types of exploitation and how I need to respond to them. Although it's heartwrenching to see, I can't wait to see more in Cambodia just to get a better understanding of this issues and why it is something every single one of us needs to pay attention and care about.   

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