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Going undercover as a sex worker (aljazeera.com)
295 points by simonebrunozzi on June 22, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 213 comments



When reading works like this one I tend to find three stories being merged into one. It focuses on slavery where most of the evil aspects of humans tend to come out, as in order to reduce a human person into something that can be traded, everything that gives that person a social context must be torn down. This is where the "break down" period comes from and it's a common theme in everything from the African slave trade to forced labor camps. Slaves are broken down, displaced, and controlled in order to place them outside the social economics shared by everyone else.

The second story is one about social stigma. We live in a society which views sex trade to be worse than going into a life of crime. From a social standpoint, it means that providing a sexual service in return for money is worse than breaking the law and social order that society is built on.

The third, although one which often is used as an introduction, is one about poverty. In order to get food on the table people will agree to many kinds of dangerous, dirty, and unwanted lines of work. People have entered the death sentence called a coal mine, gone into work which has a life expectancy of months, but in contrast to prostitution those are often viewed as sacrifices rather than something shameful. I suspect this has something to do with gender roles, where a man who is forced by poverty to unwanted work is a hero while a woman doing the same is a victim.


Many (most?) of the women involved in these situations don't go there out of choice or with full knowledge of what they're getting involved in; they're either lied to and subsequently trapped, sold by their families (which is where poverty is a big factor, and certainly is not a choice made by the girls themselves), or outright kidnapped. That's the difference in your man vs. woman scenario - someone working in a coal mine may not feel like they have much choice but as you say they are agreeing to the work. Of course this is not to say that some men aren't likewise tricked or forced into such jobs but they too are victims.


> That's the difference in your man vs. woman scenario - someone working in a coal mine may not feel like they have much choice but as you say they are agreeing to the work. Of course this is not to say that some men aren't likewise tricked or forced into such jobs but they too are victims.

They pull the same tricks on men too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6yoBcEXwmQ#t=3m58s


Indeed; another example would be construction workers in Dubai - I seem to remember an article linked on here a few years ago about that.


Take a look at the horrible slave trade story unfolding now involving Rohingya (men mainly) being trafficked to serve as slave labor aboard Thai fishing boats. Some transit camps were recently discovered near the border with Malaysia containing mass graves.


Construction workers in Dubai is a great analogy to "voluntary" sex work.


Is anyone saying they don't?


Are you sure coal mine workers were aware of everything ? You may never know what will happen even if you worked there for long. And maybe previous workers, those still alive to talk, were coerced into silence to avoid being fired, may not want to stress acquaintance trying to earn money, or would like more colleagues to lessen the load. Maybe that wasn't the case back in the days. But today's miners seem rarely given any choice or information (talking about African rare earth minerals miners)


If their choice is to watch themselves or their families starve or die of disease, or to go to a likely death in terrible work conditions where they can at least help their families with the money they earn, it's not really much of a choice at all.


Quite right but it is still a choice, they at least have some agency. I'm not in any way attempting to downplay the awful situations we're discussing, but there is still a significant psychological difference between "I'm doing this to make my life and my families lives better" and "This is being done to me against my will for other peoples' benefit", is there not?


I disagree.

The line between consensual, coerced or exploited are sometimes vague but they are real. It's like the pornography line. It's vague, some things are grey, it's culturally contextual but it is a real line. people usually know it when they see it.

When extremely disempowered, poor and desperate people interact with much richer, more powerful people who see them as just a means to an end and are completely contemptuous of their humanity (their dignity, their desires..), we cannot call this agency. If a university teacher dates a student or a boss dates an employee, we view it with suspicion because we know that dynamic can be abusive, though it is not necessarily so.

Sometimes things are what they seem. Sometimes a name on a dotted line or other symbol of agency means nothing. If you find a dozen girls from rural moldova living in an Istanbul basement, making almost no money, ostracized by society and another group of people making the money and the decisions… I think it's prudent to assume what seems obvious.


I would argue that that 'Pornography line' is a very personal distinction you've made. Pornography still crosses the line into coerced and exploited. Read the firsthand accounts of women who have left the porn industry. Watch documentaries about people going into the porn industry. These are people who are desperate and taken advantage of, hurt and abused. I've seen a few statistics, but all of them have said that the average life expectancy of a porn performer is under 50, due to the high rates of suicide and drug abuse. I really don't see much grey there -- I don't think letting poor people sell their kidneys is moral, just like I don't think pornography is moral.

Completely agree with the rest of your post though.


There's a lot of muddy water here. Self-selection for one. Who knows whether the folks going into the business are already selected for an mtbf of 50?

'Desperate and taken advantage of' is a big category, and those folks often come to no great end. Its not a unique feature of this industry - heck even WalMart employees fit there. Cause and effect might be getting confused here.


However, Walmart employers do not offer their potential addict employees drugs before they go to work. They don't have them participate in labor that frequently compromises their ability to work with no effort to support them when this happens. The employees of Walmart have actual worker's rights and nearly universal standards of employment in this country, while Pornography, especially amateur pornography, has none of this.

The self-selection claim is not independent from the claim I'm making -- in fact I find them to be very correlated. You're getting a specific subset of people who are willing to do Pornography, most notably people who are desperate, potentially addicted/suicidal young women. Providing them this predatory avenue and calling it 'empowerment' is beyond unethical.


You're getting a specific subset of people who are willing to do Pornography, most notably people who are desperate, potentially addicted/suicidal young women.

A common trope, but highly dubious. The majority of women who enter pornography come from relatively stable or average backgrounds, and go in there through their own volition. Quite ironically, the more underground subcultures like S/M are disproportionate examples of this. Regular women who have taken up modeling and promote themselves in the scene, accepting it as their lifestyle.

It should be noted that "porn stars" and plain old "models" intersect a lot. Many of the former also belong to the latter, and vice versa.


I didn't mean pornography's moral/immoral line, I meant the "what is pornography" line. The obscenity line.

I just picked it because it's a famous example of lines that are very difficult to legalistically define, but most people can recognize, at least culturally similar people.


There are many men who agree to go and work for someone, and who are then forced into labour. If they try to leave they are chased and sometimes beaten or mutilated or killed.

People mean different things when they say "wage slave". It's an imprecise term and it leads to confusion.

But bonded labour leads to some horrific abuses of men, women, and children.

Forced child trafficking: http://m.irinnews.org/Report/94721/AFRICA-High-cost-of-child...

Ugandan women forced into sex work: http://m.irinnews.org/Report/95013/UGANDA-Women-trafficked-i...

A sixteen year old woman who escaped the LRA after years of rape is now an entrepreneur: http://www.unhcr.org.uk/news-and-views/news-list/news-detail...


I think that many people go into dangerous jobs with noble goals, but once they realise the reality of it, they want out (but it's too late).


I think the issue is: can one easily come and go from their current state to any one of a set of next best alternatives? For instance, your job as a software dev, you could probably quit and and go be a teacher, or maybe you want to dig ditches, or maybe you want to be a blackjack dealer. Those things are probably all realistically attainable. Whereas, if you are sold into the sex trade and locked in a room, not able to shower for days at a time, you aren't able to swap careers as frictionlessly.


Male hackers doth protest too much, methinks.

I am amazed and saddened how the top comments and comment replies exspend all their energies declaring that men have it just as bad as women, that labelling it human trafficking and the women as victims is so unfair to men!

The next most frequent and popular comments declare that the real problem is that we haven't yet legalized prostitution.

Discussion of the tragedy and moral failings of our modern world and other possibilities that the above two are few and far down.


When they capture a city, ISIS kills all men older than 14 years and turns the women and girls into sex slaves (or force marries them). It seems likely that in situations where women are forced to take up prostitution, men are not living in the greatest circumstances either.


I disagree with your last assessment. men who need to take terrible jobs are often disposable cogs, but when women have to do it they are victims, a call to action is needed, etc.

I had spoken to several women who entered 'the trade'. they got money for flight,plastic surgery,room, and board. because of that, a lot of their money is kept until they 'finish their contract' and go back to their home country. human slavery does happen, but its not the default case. and while its true people are 'exploited' due to not knowing all their options, etc, but thats no different than what happens in other work environments. think: why do employers often forbid talking about pay?

the human trafficking narrative emerges from the idea that when it comes to prostitution, many were starting to realize how senseless outlawing it really was, and that many of the fear claims associated with it were inaccurate. so they changed the topic from prostitution to human trafficking.

as research has been finding out, the negative feelings associated with 'whores' & 'sluts' is most often propagated by wealthy women trying to protect their status.


Please don't make this into some stupid men vs. women debate. If you want to do something about men who are forced to take terrible jobs, go join one of the many labor rights organizations in the world. Don't slander people focusing on a specific kind of coerced labor.


Labor rights organizations cannot change the fact that shitty jobs exist and someone needs to do them. If you actually want to eliminate terrible jobs, become a physicist or a nanotechnologist or an AI researcher or...


It's not a question of eliminating shitty jobs, it's a question of ensuring that people get paid a living wage, or at least work in reasonably safe conditions. For most businesses, the resources exist to keep people safe and well-compensated, but sometimes the people at the top choose to cut corners and that's where labor organizations come in.


How senseless outlawing prostitution is? That's absurd. Look at the efficacy of the Nordic model. Prostitution is coerced sex in which a woman loses her autonomy, and in the case of desperation, her ability to say yes or no to potential 'clients'.

It's a very clear objectification in which not only is the work stigmatized, it's also not productive for the woman -- working in a coal mine is valuable job experience that sets you up to be able to do other manual labor jobs. You have references, contacts, etc. Prostitution does not afford you the same ability.

Men who take terrible jobs are disposable cogs? Is that why these jobs have labor unions, rights, and transferable skills? If you want to talk about disposable, talk about the women who are disappeared after their usefulness as a prostitute is up. Talk about the women who are in their late 20's with no work skills, who are ashamed to be around their friends or family. Talk about the women who enter the sex trade and their drastically increased rates of drug abuse and suicide.


> Look at the efficacy of the Nordic model.

The Nordic model is less efficient than decriminalisation. It drives sex workers underground, giving them less protection.


Legalization has shown an increase in human trafficking to Germany. The use of unions has also been stigmatized by the pimps -- sorry, "Brothel owners" to the point that they're completely ineffective. Surprise, surprise, vulnerable women are still exploited. How can you call that effective?


Germany doesn't have decriminalisation, it has regulation.


Sorry, you're correct and I edited my post to reflect that. Are you arguing for completely unregulated decriminalization? You really don't think that this would cause an increase in trafficking? If an attempt at legalization with measures to curb trafficking didn't work, how would literally letting pimps operate with impunity be a better solution?

Here's a paper with some links to how decrim has worked in Auckland: http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/Report%20on%20NZ%2010-29...

As we've reached the nested reply limit here: It would let pimps operate with impunity because the service which they are having others sell is no longer an issue? While not all sex workers are trafficked, even those who are not trafficked have pimps. The WHISPER study from the late 80's said that almost 90% of women interviewed had pimps during their time in prostitution. Full decriminalization by it's very nature makes pimping legal -- that's one of its tenants. If you think there is going to be a shortage of abusive/exploitative people waiting in line for that opportunity, we live in very different worlds.

Also, the Nordic model gets around that by only criminalizing the sex-work for the person buying it. When arrests are made, the prostitute is asked if they would like assistance with leaving the industry, if they answer no then they are free to go.

@abandonliberty I would argue that it shows that given what we currently know, the Nordic model of decriminalization for sex workers and criminalization of sex buyers seems to be the most effective at reducing the harms of prostitution. Seeing as both street prostitution, which is dangerous, and human trafficking have been on the decline since it's implementation, and the results have not been the same in other countries in which legalization/decrim have been attempted, it's the prudent course of action.


Why would legalising sex work "let pimps operate with impunity"? Not all sex workers are trafficked.

Sex workers can't seek help when sex work is illegal, because they fear arrest.


Your source clearly has an agenda and conflicts with official reports on several counts [0].

While it does have several valid points, they're far more relevant to the approach to decriminalize rather than whether to decriminalize or not.

All the problems it highlights exist just as much in a criminalized environment; reporting is reduced because it is hidden.


My source may have a bias, but the viewpoint is based upon evidence from the New Zealand PRC. The problems it mentions have been shown to be reduced by the Nordic Model, when in every case of legalization/full decriminalization no such claims have been made/substantiated.


So maybe this is a stupid question, but if vulnerable women are "still" exploited then how was keeping it illegal helping anything?


Not a stupid question. The Nordic model is another model of decriminalization that places responsibility on the individuals who buy sex. In this model, the sex-workers are not prosecuted for being prostitutes, and are given the ability to use social programs to leave prostitution if they choose to. The intent is to remove the stigmatization of women in prostitution, and giving them the means to leave the sex-work if they wish to, in stark contrast to our current system (in the US) of making prostitution illegal, typically targeting the prostitutes, which makes getting help scary/difficult. It is essentially a model that tries to help those who have resorted to prostitution out of desperation while attempting to diminish the demand that drives the industry. Also, it is notable that pimping is illegal in the Nordic model.


The "Nordic model" (really, the Swedish one) also makes sex work illegal, and also drives sex workers underground.


What do you mean? "The laws on prostitution in Sweden make it illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them. Pimping, procuring and operating a brothel are also illegal. The criminalisation of the purchase, but not selling, of sex was unique when first enacted in 1999, but since then Norway and Iceland have adopted similar legislation, both in 2009." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Sweden


If you make either side of a transaction illegal, the transaction is illegal, and both sides are driven underground.

There are important distinctions in the resulting power dynamics which mean that the distinctions between prohibiting both sides, prohibiting just the purchasing side, and prohibiting just the selling side significant distinctions. But all of them prohibit the exchange and force the exchange underground; you can't do that to only one side of the exchange.


The third story is that people in desperate situation sometime takes desperate actions in order to bring food to the table. Those people are sometimes victim to circumstances, heroic in their action, and judged by society differently based on gender. Being seen only as victim or only as heroic removes half the truth, and hurting those persons in the process.

I don't think there is a call for action, rather a call for understanding. Labels like victim and hero frames the narrative, which is why they are often found in the introduction.


>>human slavery does happen, but its not the default case.

Which country are you talking about? I can imagine this being true in countries like the Netherlands, where state and police actively regulates and monitors it (instead of simple allowing it and ignoring it), but from the preponderance of media coverage and anecdotes i do indeed think that the majority of women in this industry worldwide are exploited in some form or the other to do this job.


"I read it on HN, so it must be true?" My wife did her master's thesis on sex workers in the Philippines.

TL;DR - for the vast majority of female sex workers in that country, it is an economic CHOICE. The mostly single mothers felt it was their best opportunity to earn an income capable of supporting their families.

Those with agendas (especially those who are after your donations) are always the ones who speak the loudest.


After the war, German families encouraged their children to prostitute themselves to make money for the family. They did this because it was the best "choice" available to be able to feed themselves.

Of course, not every country is the same, not every scenario is the same, and thus we can't say that the choice some German families made after WWII and those single mothers in the Philippines are making the same kind of choice, are they?

Make no mistake - the vast, VAST majority of sex workers in the world are being exploited. Sometimes it's in the form of violence and coercion to continue the job. Sometimes it's due to unfair social and economic pressure on a vulnerable demographic. Sometimes it's just plain-old sexism, misogyny, humiliation, degradation, etc that's taken for granted as part of the career, which some workers have more agency in allowing, while others that have to take whatever abuse comes their way.

For the most part, my friends who are sex workers and enjoy the work are people who have unlimited choice: stable, single, educated, white, middle-upper-class women who could probably get any job they wanted, and choose this career and their clients.

My friends who are sex workers and don't enjoy the work have effectively no choice in the matter, either because they don't have an effective education, they have an inability to get other regular work, are destitute, have no social support structure, or have emotional or psychological disorders. And these are the people who are not being pimped out or sold for slavery.

But I probably don't know what i'm talking about, because I didn't write a master's thesis on it.


>it is an economic CHOICE.

So why couldn't they CHOOSE to be CEOs or middle class professionals?

It's a serious question. Even allowing for IQ and aptitude differences, the idea that this is a genuine choice is difficult to support - because it's only a choice in the sense that they're given very limited options in a social situation that's heavily rigged agains them.

Perhaps it's also relevant to ask:

1. How many would do it given a completely free choice without external economic pressures they have no control over?

2. Why do they not have a completely free choice?


Well, not just HN but i get the point.

That does raise a lot of interesting questions. How did they get into the trade ? - This is usually where the primary exploitation happens. After that, it is not uncommon for women to stay within the industry by choice, (because they don't know how to do anything else, they have debts to pay, shame/stigma and trouble reintegrating with society and family after being outcast). Who are the fathers of the children - Are they from an actual relationship or are they consequences of the trade? Of course, all my statements are primarily from media coverage or anecdotal in nature. I don't know how things are in the Phillipines. Could you share a link to the paper? Might be a good counter-point on the matter which people can cite.

edit : typos


It might even be one of the best economic choice in YOUR country, considering how much money can be made with prostitution.

But I'm pretty sure that you'd have slight reservations if your wife or daughter chose this kind of job. Why? It'd make perfect economic sense.


According to the US state department the Netherlands is among the top 5 countries of origin among victims of human trafficking. (specifically for forced prostitution)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_Nethe...


>social economics shared by everyone else.

Well, this is about social economics in environments where things are decidedly not shared by anyone else, because ruling hierarchies and structures preclude civil rights, duties, and responsibilities. In a place where every single person in your village knows exactly what is going on, what sort of civil duty outside the village can thrive? Alas, for us rich Westerners, it may seem obvious: you have to take responsibility for your own life, and get the hell out of dodge if there is no work, but indeed every single human being alive has to work and feed themselves.

Trouble is, those fore-mentioned "shared social economics". Family life in remote villages can be dire, dire circumstances. Who is doing the selling in these transactions? Totalitarianism starts in the kitchen. Everyone eats, those who provide food and a place to eat it rule the roost. It seems every family needs its kitchen, and alas human slavery is abject cannibalism.

I would support a special kind of "Get out of Dodge" pass for the poor, personally. It seems a lot of kids could benefit from a full tank of gas and a boarding pass.


> in order to reduce a human person into something that can be traded everything that give that person a social context must be torn down

This is one of the ideas explored in Graeber's book "Debt: The first 5000 years". Worth reading.


I suspect this has something to do with gender roles, where a man who is forced by poverty to unwanted work is a hero while a woman doing the same is a victim.

We lionize coal miners somewhat because they literally power our world at great risk to themselves. It was built upon their backs.

I'm sure one could argue prostitution serves a role in society, but coal and coal miners played a tremendous role in building the modern world as you know it. It's not just "heroism of taking unwanted work".


do you have a source for coal mine work having a life expectancy of months?


> I suspect this has something to do with gender roles, where a man who is forced by poverty to unwanted work is a hero while a woman doing the same is a victim.

Not directly. It has to do with the concept of honor in the male culture: a poor man robbing, using violence or selling his ass is still despised because poverty doesn't excuse everything. Endangering your health and life in order to support a family is seen as a noble sacrifice. Renouncing your honor is seen as renouncing the whole culture and your own identity - that's hard to accept.


I really like your story breakdown here. Those are three pretty clear contributors to the overall forced sex trade story. But I feel like there is one more story that is much less obvious. The three stories you identify reside on the supply side of the issue. On the demand side I feel there is a story about how our social expectations of monogamy contribute to the demand for prostitution. How men in sexless monogamous relationships are forced to go underground to get a basic human need met. How even when a marriage isn't sexless men still may feel the need to fulfill unsatisfied desires. They can't do this openly and honestly because monogamy won't let them. I can't help but feel that if monogamy was not the expectation, and violations of it were not perceived as a deplorable offense, sex would be rendered a much less scarce resource and the demand for sex slavery would be significantly reduced.


Or perhaps if they are in a marriage that restricts a resource that isn't supplying enough of that resource, then the marriage should be reexamined. Marriage is a contract, if you don't like the terms you agreed to, attempt to change the contract, not to cheat it.

It's the same for sex as it is for anything else.


> Or perhaps if they are in a marriage that restricts a resource that isn't supplying enough of that resource, then the marriage should be reexamined.

There's a lot of social pressure against this because of the stigma associated with divorce.

> Marriage is a contract, if you don't like the terms you agreed to, attempt to change the contract, not to cheat it.

This is pretty much what I'm saying. The problem is that people are usually woefully naive and uninformed when they enter a marriage contract. Maybe we need to re-examine the societal default for marriage contracts...specifically the portion about monogamy / sexual exclusivity.


> specifically the portion about monogamy / sexual exclusivity

It feel like you are pushing a specific aspect to the detriment of the whole. I agree that if someone doesn't desire, or can't maintain monogamy in a marriage, that they should be upfront about this and make sure their partner is aware and accepting. While that this may require a bit of social change to make it more acceptable, I don't think that's a specific case that needs to be revisited for marriage in general (many people are happily monogamous). I think it's better overall for people to be upfront and and truthful overall. There are many things that can break up a marriage besides infidelity. I'm not even convinced infidelity is the main reason, it may more often be a symptom of some other underlying problem.

> There's a lot of social pressure against this because of the stigma associated with divorce.

Which ties into above, if people can't (or feel they can't) divorce, then they may act out in other ways. I also think this is highly location dependent. In the western US, I'm not sure I've observed much social stigma for divorce.


> It feel like you are pushing a specific aspect to the detriment of the whole.

Maybe. What detriment are you thinking of?

I'm just observing that since monogamy restricts us to this 1:1 gender ratio, and since in some cases one of those 1s is taken off the table (either literally or if not literally, maybe effectively due to low quality) this drastically restricts society's ability to meet a basic human need one a wide scale. To make matters worse, situations like China's gender imbalance add to the challenges that already exist when the gender split is close to 50-50. Wouldn't you agree that these kinds of challenges might be reduced if a many-to-one structure was just as socially acceptable as a one-to-one structure? Could the pigeonhole principle have something to do with the demand for sex trafficking? If this is an unreasonable line of thought, I'd love to understand why.


> Maybe. What detriment are you thinking of?

The marriage as a whole. I see accurate representation of expected monogamy/polygamy or fidelity/infidelity (WRT sex) as just one aspect of many that may cause marital problems. What about a husband that expects the wife to be a homemaker when she is unhappy in that role, or a wife that expects the husband to provide all financial support when the husband is unhappy with that. There are many reasons marriages fail, and I think focusing specifically on one of them may not help as much as making people more aware of marriage expectations altogether.

As for the rest of your comment, I would be happy if marriage as a whole was less strictly regimented by society, but I understand the reasons it is. Marriage is the building block of families, and families are the building blocks of our societies. We optimize for successful families that produce well adjusted offspring. The problem is that I'm not sure exactly how we are defining "well-adjusted". If it's primarily in relation so society and culture (it is, the question is how much), it may just be self selecting. That's not necessarily a way to make things better, just to perpetuate the status quo. I just don't know enough to make a call.


> The marriage as a whole.

How precisely do you think the things I'm saying harm the marriage as a whole? I'm still not seeing your point. I'm not talking here about causes of marriage failure. I'm talking about the graph structure of society's sexual relationships.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have monogamous marriages. I'm asking if changing society's expectations to the point where both monogamy and all variations of non-monogamy were perceived to be equally legitimate (with a likely corresponding increase in the number of non-monogamous relationships) could have an impact on the demand for sex trafficking. I don't think making this change would eliminate sex trafficking, but I think it could plausibly help the situation.


> How precisely do you think the things I'm saying harm the marriage as a whole?

I think focusing on one possible problem with marriages which I view to be a subset of a larger issue may take focus from other, equally important aspects. Not so much in that it harms a specific marriage, but that it may be a less useful way to look at marriage in general if our goal is promote happy and long lasting unions.

> I'm not saying that we shouldn't have monogamous marriages.

I didn't think you were saying that. I'm more conversing than arguing a point. We seem to be mostly in agreement, I just think an approach less focused on a single aspect would be more beneficial overall.


> I just think an approach less focused on a single aspect would be more beneficial overall.

Fair enough. I was focusing on the monogamy issue because it seems a lot more directly related to sexual trafficking and this thread than, say, how a couple manages finances or who cleans up the kitchen. :)


I worked with the author, Mimi, at UC Berkeley and she took enormous risks in the Middle East and Moldovia for the sake of getting her story. Several others did as well including my two collegues who spent two years locked up in Iran after being lured across the border while reporting in Iraq.

Funding for investigative journalism has all but completely dried up, due to disruption for Silicon Valley and other factors. Journalists like this are taking risks on their own now with no backing if something goes wrong.


Maybe I overlooked something in the story, but I don't quite understand how she did it? For example she describes three girls locked into a backroom of a family, living on a couple of bananas a day. How did she get that story? I don't think she posed as one of those girls, nor does it sound as if those girls would ever go out?


She posed as a prostitute sometimes, not only risky, but also subjected her to sexual harassment by the very male colleagues whose help she sought when going undercover. Check out this 10min video if you want to know how she did it http://www.vice.com/video/i-posed-as-a-prostitute-in-a-turki...


My guess is that the local police eventually shut down that brothel and she later was able to interview someone involved - one of the prostitute, family member, police, etc?

It is very reasonable in cases like this for her to leave out some of the details about her sources.


I don't expect her to reveal sources. I just had troubles following the story. I didn't understand how the banana story came into the story out of the blue.


I live in a country where prostitution is legal and not taken as taboo. All I can say is that it makes things easier for everybody.

Many use their bodies as a "small business", having their own personal marketing, credit card processor and online clients, increasing and improving their portfolio.

Because they have such leverage, they end up being strict on what they'd do and even who their client is. In case something goes wrong, they can still go to the police and report the incident.


> All I can say is that it makes things easier for everybody.

Which country is that? The Netherlands, Austria and Germany, for example, all have horrible trafficking problems. In Nevada, the women are ostracised and harrassed by the police at the legal brothels. In New Zealand, the police cannot tell the difference between legal prostitution and illegal pimping.

So which country are you in that is doing better than these with legalised prostitution?


> Which country is that? The Netherlands, Austria and Germany, for example, all have horrible trafficking problems.

Well in Germany the main trafficking problems is Africans. They need to work something and because our rotten legal system prohibits them from working for months after they have arrived, the men end up dealing pot and the women on the streets.

And Romanian/Bulgarians... well, the men work on day-jobs for ultra low pay, often illegal, and the women go on the streets. Everything's better than the conditions where they come from.


Do you have some numbers+sources? I live in Germany and the official statement from the police seems to be that it is not actually a huge problem.


I'm just following links others have posted, but https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Germany#Human_....

Also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Germany links to a US Trafficking in Persons Report 2010. Here are some quotes:

"Ninety percent of identified victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation came from Europe, including 28 percent from Germany ..."

"... approximately one third of identified sex trafficking victims reported that they had agreed initially to engage in prostitution."

"Police estimate that gangs brought around 1,000 Chinese people to Germany over the past decade and forced them to work in restaurants under exploitative conditions."


So about 700 victims uncovered per year? Although it would also be interesting how it is defined.


>The Netherlands, Austria and Germany, for example, all have horrible trafficking problems

So, just like every other country then?


Depends who you ask because people disagree on the definition of "human trafficking". But according to some people, no, the Netherlands is actually worse than every other country.


It's wrong to deny women a means to safely practice a trade and participate in the greater economy. When you make it illegal, you force them underground and remove any protections they could have had.


The Netherlands is great in that respect. The sex crimes rate is very low because of it. I think Belgium also has the same "system" as NL.


>I live in a country where prostitution is legal and not taken as taboo.

I can't think of any country that doesn't take prostitution as taboo. Even in Germany and the Netherlands it is...


Australia? It is legal here. It isn't something people talk about much, but that doesn't mean it is a taboo.


it is legal, however we still have problems with trafficking. many women from china or hong kong come out here, then the pimps just take their passports. they can't speak a word of english, so there's not much they can do.


Do people exchange tips on brothels to visit at work roughly as easily as they do about restaurants or movies?

If not, there is a taboo, if not about visiting a brothel, then about talking about it.


It depends on where you work and who you work with. For the most part I'd say it is discussed with about the same frequency as masturbation. That doesn't mean there is a taboo - just that it is often inappropriate to discuss at work.


Are the prostitutes in Australia typically poor immigrant women? Wealthy, powerful women with a broad spectrum of choices do not typically choose prostitution.


Urban brothels are the most common type of sex work in Australia, and are legal, inspected (and frequented) by the police, very well paid, and generally women of all classes, primarily born in Australia but also China and other Asian countries.

See http://www.nswp.org/sites/nswp.org/files/NSWSexIndustryRepor... There are other interesting things including 'Sex workers’ reasons for choosing current workplace' was 'Hours are flexible' and 'the LASH study found no evidence that any of the women had been coerced into working in a brothel'

Street walking prostitutes are generally illegal, and unregistered brothels are illegal.

Check out http://www.scarletalliance.org.au/research/ for more research.


According to that study, only 27% of all women are historically from Australia and recently only 18% are. The rest are from China, Thailand, and "other Asian". A few stragglers from elsewhere. A majority of them are unable to speak English competently.

It does seem like it's primarily foreigners who cannot get a job. This seems exploitative. And the article you cite doesn't paint a rosy picture of everything being great with legalised prostitution.


> Wealthy, powerful women with a broad spectrum of choices do not typically choose prostitution.

Wealthy, powerful men with a broad spectrum of choices do not typically choose cleaning the toilets at your office.


I bet he's referring to Japan.


Much like with drugs, the best way to reduce human trafficking and abusive prostitution would be to fully legalize and regulate sex work. In countries where prostitution is accepted and legal, it's safer for both the sex workers and the customers, with less risk of disease and abuse. Sex workers are treated humanely and not condemned. Society in general benefits too, through properly paid taxes, lower crime rates, and reduced healthcare costs.


That wasn't the case with Germany. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Germany

It seems to reduce the violence against workers, but increases human trafficking, because Germany now acts as a safe haven for traffickers. Maybe trafficking would disappear, if all societies made prostitution illegal and not a looked down profession, but I somehow doubt it[1].

So if your goal is to reduce human trafficking, it might not be the most worthwhile of means.

Also there is the silly issue, of woman losing her unemployment status because she didn't refused to work as a prostitute.

[1] Even if all countries made prostitution legal, nothing stops a gangster from kidnapping a woman and dragging her from say Mexico to US to serve as sex worker. She could escape and there would be less stigma; but it sounds to me like those poor workers trapped in Dubai/Quatar and they had no reprieve. As someone mentioned, there is a supply/demand problem that can't be solved via prositutes.


I don't agree with your points - they echo the recent campaign by Spiegel Online; looking at your Wikipedia article, it seems more to be an issue with open borders and no passport control, and the fact that Germany is in the "middle" of Europe and a relatively rich country, which makes Germany a good target for trafficking.

The numbers of yearly cases seem to be fairly low (about 700-800 cases per year in your Wiki-article), and pimps who force people into prostitution are arrested and jailed.

If anything, I'd say that legality makes it much better for these forced prostitutes to escape - they don't have any fear of persecution.

>Also there is the silly issue, of woman losing her unemployment status because she didn't refused to work as a prostitute.

That was a single mistake - the Arbeitsagentur accidentally sent along a job offer which was from a brothel, and the media made it into a big case (see http://www.spiegel.de/karriere/berufsleben/arbeitsagentur-in... ). Of course she didn't have to take the job, there have been rulings that you can't force unemployed to work as prostitutes (see same article).


You do make a fine point that case regarding unemployment status.

But, I think there is a difference between legalizing prostitution and preventing what's essentially human enslavement.

I'm not saying legalizing prostitution won't help or shouldn't be done, I just don't think it will have as big impact as people claimed, and that it will have possible negative impact if other states don't adopt it.

IMO it's akin to legalizing drugs, just legalizing it won't make drug problem disappear. For instance in cases where some states legalized drugs and most didn't; a state that legalized drugs can become safe haven for criminals from other countries, where drugs aren't legal.


Good to see somebody who's willing to look into things. Most of these comments in here are like the one you replied to, very superficial.


Human trafficking seems by evidence to use prostitution as the way to generate money out of slaves, and anyone that wish to legalize sex work should also have a plan to address trafficking. I don't know the laws in Germany, but banks has a responsibility to combat money laundering so why not require brothels to implement some industry standards to counter trafficking? Signs of trafficking should then be followed up by police and slavers should be stopped and sentenced by the courts.


> Also there is the silly issue, of woman losing her unemployment status because she didn't refused to work as a prostitute.

This did not happen. There was a sensationalised story in a paper that it could happen, but as far as I know, it was just that: sensationalised conjecturing.

The persistent human trafficking problems are real, though. Proponents of legalised prostitution argue on the meaning of "trafficking" and say that the almost invariably foreign, poor, and immigrant women who are prostituted in Germany are doing so voluntarily.


They have agency, jordigh, agency!

They aren't in a new country, with typically no job skills, no hope of getting job skills from their current employment, coerced into taking sex work because they are desperate for money!


In countries where prostitution is accepted and legal, it's safer for both the sex workers and the customers, with less risk of disease and abuse.

Do you know any good studies that back this up. While I certainly want to believe it and it does fit nicely with my own general political/economic narrative of the world, I've yet to find any conclusive evidence for it.


You might want to read the execute summary of this report [0]. It was produced by a panel whom the New Zealand government commissioned to examine the effect of legalising prostitution in New Zealand. The results are perhaps more ambiguous than anyone would like, but at least you know that the report isn't politically slanted.

(For a little bit of context: prostitution became legal in New Zealand in 2003.)

[0] http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/commercial-property-and-re...


Not to state the obvious, but it's considerably more difficult to traffic anything to New Zealand than it is to Holland or Germany.


Prostitution is legal in the UK, and has essentially always been legal. Running a brothel and pimping are illegal. A government report estimated "that 6% of prostitutes were 'deceived and forced' into the work".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_the_United_Kin...


Unfortunately, it is not true. In germany prostitution was legalized a few years ago and what mostly happened was a massive increase in it. The situation of prostitutes barely improved and human trafficking went up.

But you have to keep in mind that that is also the effect of only one country doing it. What would happen if the whole EU legalized prostitution is a different question.


This is a complete BS narrative made up by people campaigning for the criminalization of prostitution.

Prostitution has been legal in Germany since before WWII. That is, neither the offering nor the use of sexual services was a crime (pimping was and still is). What changed in 2000 is merely that prostitution lost its "unconscionable" status, meaning that it can in principle be the subject of enforceable contracts.


Well, here, in Algeria, prostitution isn't illegal. Many think it is, but the law doesn't incriminate the sex-worker, it incriminates the person who lives off of a sex worker or her handler if she has one. In fact, I think there are still establishments authorized by the State that have been up for more than 50 years or something, but those appear to be very drastic in their internal policy stuff.

A lot work for themselves. When I was in college, there were many girls who used it as a way to have some fun and some money (college is free, and a lot live in dorms that are also free)).

Also, it is not like in the U.S. (movies) in that you won't find sex-workers on the streets.

This stuff is pretty organized. Happens mostly in night-clubs or in dedicated places that are guarded with security, where you will be thrown out if you cause any problems or are too drunk to behave.

They generally have a compound with the club and the hotel inside, convenient if you plan to get wasted as you won't have to drive. Just a few yards and you're in bed.

These compounds offer a sort of "Security as a Service" and the girls "lease" the place (the client pays an additional fee). And many girls will just go from club to club, compound to compound. They have usual taxi-drivers who take them, etc.

The biggest hazard would be the fact they won't properly put a condom on a man. The usual way would be to put it while he's erect, and some need help, so the girls will perform fellatio on a limp phallus with a condom on and the phallus grows into the condom. They also use cheap condoms that are way too tight for anyone older than a 13 year old (crappy 52mm condoms).

Also, most of those who do anal don't have the proper lubes; so they'll have whatever makes it easy and it is often an oil based hair product, or something. They're not really aware of how latex reacts to that, etc.

And again, some clients are just idiots and want to have protection-free sex at all costs. The girls are reluctant to talk if they have a disease because there's a whole procedure and they'll lose their job, so they comply, infecting the person.

And as for Al Jazeera, is amusing that a Djihadist Channel doesn't even cover Qatar. They used to let nut-jobs go on for hours on their waves inviting people world-wide to kill Algerians because we're not "Arabs or Muslims". It's a channel that has glorified terrorists despite the atrocities they committed. Whether they're trying to make themselves a new virginity is another story.


a bit too informative post for my taste, but apparently you never know what you'll learn on HN :)


It may be 'nsfw', but this is a real issue, and how they handle it. It's also a great example of viral propagation, and how it applies to viruses via the sex trade (Rather than a social media phenomenon).


Seems to me that the real issue is pimping and how difficult it is to control.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/human-traffickin...

The women go there knowing that they will trade sex for money. What they do not know is how difficult and exploitative the work is.


The German system seems odd to say the least.

They have legalized the activity, but they seems to not want to get involved with the operational rules.

To borrow the drug comparison from further up, this would be like legalizing hard drugs but not putting down any ground rules for labeling or certification of content.

Consider alcohol. Most places it is legal to sell, but there are still regulations in place, and hopefully policed, detailing when and to whom it can be sold.

When people talk about legalizing drugs, they likely envision a similar system of regulations surrounding it.

Similarly regulations have to be put in place regarding working conditions etc for prostitutes as part of the legalization process.

Removing the sex aspect and the article reminds me of some of the shit the construction business has with exploiting foreign workers.

I recall reading about people living 6 to the room in what was supposed to be a single occupancy apartment etc.


> They have legalized the activity, but they seems to not want to get involved with the operational rules.

That's exactly the problem. Campaigning for tougher laws against sex trafficking is great voter bait, but actually enforcing the existing laws? That costs money!


I've heard that the human trafficking numbers increase with legal prostitution since volume increases also, even if the percentage is lower. The Netherlands has huge problems with drug smuggling and human trafficking despite both being largely legal there.

While I don't disagree that prostitution should be legal, it's a bit more complicated than the utopia you just painted.


The situation in the Netherlands is also a lot more complicated.

Drugs are not largely legal at all, they're largely illegal. In fact, they're entirely illegal, there's just a gray area when it comes to a few soft drugs (pretty much just weed now - and I believe truffles in some head shops possibly... but no longer mushrooms.) Bringing weed into the country: still technically illegal. Other drugs: very much illegal. Regarding drug law, I would suggest looking to Portugal as a closer representation to that perfect utopia.

Regarding prostitution, I don't know enough to have much of a personal opinion on whether legalisation would help.

I used to think very strongly that it would. Last year I visited (as a tourist, not as a customer) Europe's largest brothel [0], in Germany, and came away with the opinion that if people are going to pay for sex, in a legal system like this is the best way for it. And I still see the benefits, but I've also since read up a little and found out many of the girls in that brothel were still trafficked over, still have pimps, etc.

But... don't be too quick to jump to one conclusion or the other. Maybe the NL situation would be better if the entire world also legalised it? Maybe there are different ways of doing it to the way NL has done it. Etc.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascha_%28brothel%29


I find it insane that coffee shops in NL still have to source their weed from the black market.


It is. You can run a "legal" business, but still have to deal with the mob on your back door. I know someone who quit running a coffeeshop for only this reason.


While i'm not sure whether legalization or the Swedish approach works best(criminalization of purchase), but if we want to prevent trafficking, maybe it's possible to use some sort of lie detector(standard, fmri, P300), etc - and ask girls whether they work for themselves, or are forced , or trafficked - and only let girls who work for themselves work in legal brothels ?

It won't be perfect, but maybe it can reduce trafficking ?

EDIT: please down just downvote, explain what's wrong with my line of reasoning ?


Lie detectors are nonsense. It's dangerous to promote their use. The US is the only Western country where it's routinely used.


While regular polygraphs are not reliable, I think usage for P300(i.e. brain fingerprinting) is more reliable, and even used in some courts.

for some numbers ,see[1]- "With both P300 and P300-MERMER, error rate was 0 %: determinations were 100 % accurate, no false negatives or false positives; also no indeterminates. Countermeasures had no effect. Median statistical confidence for determinations was 99.9 % with P300-MERMER and 99.6 % with P300"

So maybe this could be a good starting point for something useful for trafficking prevention ?

[1]http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11571-012-9230-0


Alas, lie detectors don't work.


They have an error rate - which makes them in admissable as a tool for deciding whether someone should go to jail. That's reasonable.

On the other hand, their are routinely used in classified agencies for some tasks.

So maybe ,even with this error rate, we could see reduction at trafficking , at some risk of loss for freedom of profession. Maybe the benefits are big and the disadvantages are quite small(depending on error rates, etc) ? Maybe it's a worthwhile tradeoff ?


You make it seem as if lie detectors somewhat work, except that they have a stochastic failure rate of x%. They don't, they're snake oil. Whole libraries have been written about it, one can start at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygraph and follow the literature from there. No civilized country allows lie detectors to be used for any 'real' purposes except the US.

So no, it's not a worthwhile tradeoff, because it's hardly better than rolling dice.


> EDIT: please down just downvote, explain what's wrong with my line of reasoning ?

Nothing wrong with your reasoning, many people on HN stupidly enough think that the downvote button is for when you disagree with a comment.


Downvoting for disagreement has been explicitly stated as a proper use of the downvote button by the site founder.


Yeah, people like HN's founder, pg.


I have also heard that human trafficking increases after legalisation. This makes sense to me since other relatively unpleasant jobs are also done by illegal immigrants in many countries.

My remaining question is how we draw the line between voluntary illegal immigration and human trafficking for this class of work. I'd guess from my perspective even the voluntary immigration would seem beyond harrowing and carries risk of abuse and death along the way, so it would be easy to paint all of it as bad, yet clearly many think this is the best chance for them and their families.


The Netherlands have some of the biggest harbors in Europe. So all kinds of goods go through here, including drugs.


Unfortunately, that is not statistically true. I can't find the study, but it has been proven that legalizing prostitution does not reduce human trafficking. While it's still the right thing to do -and its benefits are numerous- reductions in trafficking are not one of legalization's benefits.


Just jobs being legal doesn't reduce human trafficking of immigrants, people who pay good money upfront to some trafficker and end up working like slaves in their destination countries to repay him.


The problem I have with this logic, is that I suspect with legalization/regulation, supply increases to meet or exceed demand, and drives prices down. This isn't a tremendous economic problem with drugs, because it should be relatively straightforward to ramp up production (and employment and tax revenue increases with it). With prostitution however, trying to increase the supply and driving down costs creates problems. Willing prostitues no longer earn as much, making the job much less appealing, and trafficing potentially increases in order to meet new demand or a decreasing supply of willing prostitutes.


If people quit, then supply goes down. If it goes down, the price would rise until more people willingly take up the job again.

A decrease of price isn't going to cause more women to be trafficked. Instead, the opposite would happen because there is less money to be made.

I suspect whats happening here is that its easier to bring women over, willing or not because before, this kind of work was illegal, so if caught they'd just send them back.

This whole sex slavery thing seems like hyperbole to me, though. If you've ever been to a third world country, you'd see that prostitution is rampant, even in countries where its technically illegal. There really isn't any shortage of girls, so I suspect they wouldn't have any trouble finding prostitutes willing to go to somewhere they could make more money, that they'd need to kidnap someone and force them into it.


Hmm, I wonder if making semi-realistic sexbots would be the solution to this supply/demand problem. You can make them way, way faster than you can breed humans.

I know it sounds icky, but urge for sex often drives technology.


The Japanese may already be on the case.

I recall seeing a video where someone had combined a early Rift headset with a robotic arm holding what i believe they call a tenga.

Strap on the headset, sit in the proper location, and have a 3D anime style girl give you a session...


Also worth mentioning we shouldn't limit ourselves to domestic legalization.

Because prostitution would still be illegal in developed countries, human trafficking would continue to happen, as prostitutes will need someone to "take care of stuff".

If they could become independent with technology, they wouldn't be vulnerable to violence, rape,...


Does it help anyone to put out statements one has read somewhere on the internet without being involved with the topic at all?


Seems to work well in Switzerland. Every now and then there's a trafficking bust that usually involves Asians that aren't legal workers. Prostitutes have to be able to legally work in Switzerland which means that nearly all of them come from Schengen countries. For the most part it seems to work well, with most of the workers independent and temporary for 30 days at a time.

Pimps are illegal, prostitutes must be legal and independent. Brothels are often integrated in neighborhoods and not confined to red light districts, although there are some areas where there are more brothels, like around the train stations. Brothels are nothing more than a place where the prostitute rents out a room for the night or week - there's no madam or anything like you see in the movies. Prostitutes can't advertise on the street.


Not to sure about this. Street prostitution is a common thing in Genève.


like this little country that got most of the things just right called Switzerland


What makes me very uncomfortable is that are enough men that not only not care about, but actually enjoy rape to make it a huge market.

This is not something that happens "between two consenting adults". If you read the article you'll see that there is no way in hell that they don't know what they are participating in. In fact many seek out the worst treated girls.

There looks to me that there are more than one type of prostitution and maybe going after a particular type of John is very reasonable.


The sad truth is that rape (like many disturbing behaviours including murder and child abuse) is entirely natural, it's not actually aberrant behaviour. Of course we're capable of recognizing it as harmful behaviour we would rather not see happen, but that's a matter of "ought" not "is".

I think the best bet at preventing rape is education and empathy (violence becomes more difficult if you can relate to your victim). But with human trafficking the situation is a bit more difficult than with "rape culture" at large: the victims are in a uniquely helpless position, legal (or social) consequences are practically absent and as a "customer" you're already engaging in a highly illegal environment. Psychologically this is entirely different from overpowering or drugging a free person and raping them.

Our best bet at preventing rape in human trafficking is likely just to eliminate human trafficking -- which seems like a worthy enough (if Herculean) task in itself.


By your definition, everything that ever happens is natuaral. That makes the word completely meaningless.


Yes, but what gave you the idea that "natural" equals "good"? I'm using the term entirely objectively.

Of course everything that happens in nature is "natural". That's what the word means. The distinction I'm making should be obvious: a behaviour that happens in other, closely-related animals, especially if it happens quite frequently, and especially if it is "beneficial" in natural selection (like lions killing their young, chimps raiding and murdering other groups or dolphins engaging in gang rapes), is by definition "natural" and shouldn't be surprising if it occurs in humans. Non-consensual sex (i.e. rape in the most straightforward sense) is one such behaviour.

That it shouldn't be surprising doesn't mean we should tolerate it or that we can't do anything about it. We're in the quasi-uniquely privileged position that we can reason about our collective behaviour and decide what kind of behaviour we do or don't want to tolerate and what we can do about it.

In other words, because we're capable of sculpting our own human nature, yes, the term "natural" is pretty arbitrary when it comes to human behaviour. But it's entirely appropriate when looking at how other species behave without our interference.


You're trying to be reasonable and logical, which is good. But I think you err in looking to animals to define what is natural behavior for humans. Doing that collapses the enormous gulf which lies between animals and humans. And it also generalizes across all humans.

Instead, I think it's better to consider what is "natural" for certain societies and cultures. For example, most people in average, relatively prosperous Western countries (and many Eastern ones) would not "naturally" treat another human being the way the "clients" in the article do. A few sociopaths, but that's a very small percentage of the population.

Why? I think it's pretty simple: it's how people are raised. Children who are raised by loving parents, taught to treat others well, disciplined when they don't, grow up to be adults who wouldn't dream of doing such a thing. But a child who is raised by abusive parents, who witnesses the parents treating others like animals, may grow up and emulate that behavior. If they are taught that it's acceptable to treat other humans like animals and property, then that is what they will do.

Nature vs. nurture is a bit of a false dichotomy. No one grows up in a vacuum. People are shaped by family, society, culture. People tend to emulate what they see. Getting people to change their behavior and values by reasoning with them is very difficult, and impossible with some people.

This is an element that seems sorely lacking in the article: there's no mention of cultural and societal values. She mentions corruption in police and judicial systems, and she calls for unilateral, cross-border action--which would effectively be going to war. She doesn't recognize that you can't fix those problems by going to war, because war doesn't rewrite societal values. (On the other hand, one might point to Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and post-WWII as counter-examples, but I think that is a bit different: it was a world war, and the nations were occupied for many years afterwards, and a government had arose which lead the people in evil ways. The cultures weren't necessarily innately evil in their values.)

The reason human trafficking flourishes in these places and police and judicial corruption allow it to continue is that the societal values are corrupt. There's an element of oppressive governments not accurately reflecting the values of the people as well, but still, the government isn't forcing these atrocities to occur.

And to bring it back to where we started: by defining "natural" by what seems natural to animals, you perpetuate the problem. Animals have no concept of right and wrong. Human trafficking and slavery are wrong because they are wrong, because they are evil. You might say that that's circular reasoning, but if we agree on that basic morality, regardless of where it comes from, then it stands.

And therefore, the reason these other places continue to allow it is because of defective moral values in a large percentage of the population.

That isn't a popular thing to say, because it's "judgmental." Well, yes, I do judge that that behavior is abhorrent, and that the people engaging in it and permitting it are acting abhorrently.

And if you want to argue that it's not a result of defective cultural values, you'll have to do better than an "animal nature"-based argument, because that would logically erase cultural differences. And, no, a few outliers in cultures that largely don't have the same problem do not wash away the distinctions. Some cultures do have better moral values than others. (If you disagree with this, you're a moral relativist, and there's no basis for discussing it.)


I don't think we're fundamentally in disagreement, but I object the notion that people raised in Western countries wouldn't behave like the "clients" in the article do. "Culture" isn't as simple as that -- social norms differ widely within Western cultures and even at the regional or family level. Based on older stories about human trafficking, a lot of "patrons" hail from countries we would consider better than that, and many of them are middle-class or even upper-class, so it's not just a matter of social status either.

Yes, it's difficult to change someone's behaviour by talking at them. The only reliable long-term change in behaviour can be brought about during childhood. Just consider religion: sure, there are adult converts, but a fraction of adults converts from the religion they were raised in to another. A person's religion (and religiosity) is mostly an artefact of how and where they grew up.

> Human trafficking and slavery are wrong because they are wrong, because they are evil.

Evil is an intuitive but ultimately ineffective concept. These behaviours are harmful both to the individual and to society at large. They unilaterally violate the personal liberty and human rights of the victim. That's why we consider them evil, not the other way around.

I'm defining natural in terms of animal behaviour because it's the closest we can get in order to draw conclusions about how humans would behave in the absence of ethics and a functioning society. Rape and murder in cold blood are what we see in extreme situations where society has effectively collapsed (e.g. during war, starvation or epidemics).

There's a reason we say people act like animals in these situations: it's because they do. Starvation, anxiety, duress, etc, they all impact a person's capability of rational thought and lead to people following their most basic instincts. Many people still act "human" in these situations, but in general, you're going to see far more horrific behaviour than otherwise (especially if "one thing leads to another", e.g. because of group dynamics).

Also, if we understand that slavery is wrong not just because it is evil, but because it is demonstrably incompatible with a notion of right and wrong based on minimizing human suffering while maximum personal liberty, it is obvious why it is objectionable to tolerate cultures that consider this behaviour acceptable.

In other words, aside from the ethically neutral aspects of a culture (e.g. creation myths, funny hats and silly rituals), one culture can be objectively better or worse than another.

Of course changing worse cultures for the better is a long and time-consuming process. The recent failures in the Middle East and the Arab world are good examples of why you can't just invade a place and force the inhabitants to adopt modern values.

But teaching someone to be a good person is much easier when they're well-fed and don't have to fear for their life, health or fortune.

(For the record, this isn't about Islam or Christianity or even any religion at all -- any culture that perpetuates harmful values has to change, whether those values are based on religion, tradition or mere lack of consideration; religions just tend to get more offended when you try to tell them they are wrong.)


I think you're right that we mostly agree. And you make some good points about there being people in Western cultures who would do those things. Of course, there are evil people in every culture and place in the world. Sociopaths are a fact of life to a certain degree.

What I meant was, it seems to me that these evil practices are far more culturally accepted in these places compared to an average Western culture. And I think there are reasons for that other than mere poverty. People have lived in poverty throughout history, throughout the world. Poverty is essentially universal. But selling one's own children into sex slavery is not. Plenty of people living in poverty still have strong moral values.

> Evil is an intuitive but ultimately ineffective concept. These behaviours are harmful both to the individual and to society at large. They unilaterally violate the personal liberty and human rights of the victim. That's why we consider them evil, not the other way around.

Respectfully, I think this is a narrow view. There are other cultures which place much lower value on personal liberty and individual rights, but would still consider such practices abhorrent. Now you are right that these behaviors do violate personal liberty and rights, and so to us, that is another reason why they are wrong. But there are groups who have little concept of personal liberty and rights, yet would never consider such a thing acceptable.

In fact, this is part of the problem: here we have people divided into two groups, geographically at least. One group can exploit the other--with no cost to its own society. These evil men get on a plane, have their fun, and return home, thousands of miles away, leaving their wake of destruction far behind.

And the families of these exploited children do not care about their children's personal liberty or rights. They sell them and then shut the door in their faces when they return. To them, it's acceptable to dispose of one family member to get a few dollars that the rest of the family can use.

> That's why we consider them evil, not the other way around.

I don't think it is a one-way function. Violating personal liberty and individual rights are innately evil. If this were not so, then whether they were evil would only depend on whether you valued personal liberty and rights. If you don't--and many people don't!--then they would not be considered evil. And this is exactly what we are seeing here.

You can go to them and try to convince them that they are harming optimal social interactions, but why should they care? To them, the people being harmed are not even part of society. They are...no better than animals.

Maybe what I'm trying to say is that, what is considered "natural" is irrelevant. People can "naturally" behave one way or another, depending on how they were raised, genetic disorders, mental illnesses, brain injuries, etc.

What matters is right and wrong, good and evil. These behaviors are not merely suboptimal--they are innately wrong. They are not wrong because they are inefficient--they are wrong because they are wrong. (Yes, circular, unless you want to go into the sources of morality. And ultimately that is probably required.)

The reason I want to emphasize that is that defining evil by harm to society is completely relative. If you exclude someone from society, then whether something harms them no longer matters, and then it would no longer be evil. And then when you try to tell someone to stop doing it, they look at you funny and say, "Why?"

Utilitarianism and relativism lead to tyranny. If something works, and the victim doesn't count, then they aren't a victim, and it isn't wrong. And for the people on the safe side of the line, without external, absolute moral values, they have no reason to change their behavior.


I'm not arguing for moral relativism, quite the opposite.

I'm arguing for ethics based on fundamental axioms, most of which can be broken down to the Golden Rule. This isn't Western, this is just frequently obscured by irrelevant "morals", like those set forth by various religions.

Heck, the international human rights are a pretty good rendition of it: every human is equal (i.e. disregard kinship bias), every human is free, personal freedoms end where they impact the freedom of others. Yes, the hard questions are hard, but the level of the vast majority of real world problems does not even come close to them.

If anything, I'm arguing for Kant's Moral Imperative, but that's just me being German.


While we do know that there are more people acting in repulsive fashion w/ relative impunity in some foreign cultures, there's likely a cowed majority who are at least telling their sons not to buy sex from human slavers. Re: your moral philosophy I don't mind people thinking in such absolute axiomatic terms as long as their conclusions+actions are agreeable.


I agree with that rape itself is natural. And there are many instances in which even consenting sex is more exciting because it contains rape fantasies like calling the other one nasty names, hurting each other, bondage games etc. Stories like 50 shades of grey show that it is not just a male instinct to rape but also a female instead to be conquered. Power and sex are hard to separate.

Education and empathy is a really strong step to fight rape, I also believe that. I remember to have been reading that seeing and understanding another person's pain can result in us having the same emotional reaction as when experiencing the pain ourselves. Therefore increasing empathy might make the experience of raping someone as unpleasent to the rapist as for the victim.

I don't believe in that we are able to stop trafficking people, drugs, or anything else. When there's demand there are people who want to deliver. But it's true, when there are two impossible task at hand, which could you choose? I also don't believe that it's possible to break that sex-power relationship which results in rape.


Human trafficking is, essentially, modern slavery. As far as I know the two biggest sources of victims are:

1. people (frequently children, especially girls and women) being "sold" into slavery out of financial desperation or pressure from organized crime.

2. emigrants being tricked by traffickers, thinking they're buying a ticket to freedom in a better place but actually accruing "debt" they are then forced to "pay off" doing illegal sex work.

Both of these are social problems in as much as they are crime problems. Crime thrives on social and economical instability.

A naive plan of action would include:

1. Decriminalizing sex workers and illegal immigration to empower the victims who are too afraid to go to the police even if they could.

2. Improving the socio-economical situation in the victims' countries of origin, especially by curbing corruption and improving their human rights situations (e.g. reducing sexism) but also by improving social welfare and socialized health care.

But I'm just navel-gazing, really. I have no experience with human trafficking and I'm just a middle-class white male so I can only make rough guesses at best.


> Human trafficking is, essentially, modern slavery.

Almost all "human trafficking" is willing migrants paying someone to help them cross a border (into US, EU, etc).


There seem to be multiple definitions.

I'm specifically talking about human trafficking the way it is described in the article: people either being moved against their will or tricked/forced into a situation where they are being held against their will (e.g. by taking their papers and forcing them to "pay off" their debt as sex workers). This meaning is called "Menschenhandel" (literally "trade of humans") in German.

Calling illegal migration "human trafficking" isn't particularly helpful though it's probably a valid use of the term (the analogy being drug trafficking, or the illegal transfer of people or objects across borders).


Sure about that? I thought the term refers to people who are brought against their will or by lie to another country.

Definition from google:

the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation.


Smuggling immigrants across a border is still "the illegal movement of people" and counted in the trumped up "human trafficking" statistics that are bandied about.


So what? Even if the numbers are inflated it's a real problem. Forced prostitution and force labour are valid problems in their own right, even outside human trafficking.


I applaud the courageous comment. Everyone should take a moment out of their day from time to time to take a whack at the idea that natural equals good.


> 'Going undercover as a sex worker'

This article is about human trafficking, not sex work. The title makes as much sense as 'Going undercover as a construction worker' and then writing about a construction worker kept as a slave in Dubai.


And yet, that's exactly what occurred.

The journalist had to pose as a prostitute to get close to other (unwilling) prostitutes who had been trafficked into the country.


Well yes. The point is the journalist tried to get close to unwilling prostitutes, not prostitutes per se.


Sure, if going undercover as a slaved construction worker was commonplace among developed countries, I'd say you're right. Sex work and trafficking are inextricably linked in today's society, and arguing otherwise is asinine.


Sure, if being a slaved construction worker was commonplace among developed countries, I'd say you're right. Sex work and trafficking are inextricably linked in today's society, and arguing otherwise is asinine.


This has been going on for a thousand years in the region. The Ottoman empire was constantly capturing slaves from the Balkans and East Europe. It was a cornerstone of their civilization. Slavery was abolished in the 19th century but the market just moved underground.


Even their military was based on the enslavement of children from their conquered territories.


What is the level of opportunity for these young women (and lets call them women that is what they usually, calling them girls makes them sound like less human and more of a commodity) in the origin countries.

Fighting pimps and such is all good but cut off supply then there is no need to deal with pimps. Are hiring laws enforced in these countries?


Cut off supply? When the women get into trafficing from kidnapping... How?


He likely means border control. The USA only has security theater for the middle class victims and none for everyone else, the rest of the world varies greatly in its enforcement level. Also regardless of paper laws, corruption levels at border control vary greatly by country. If you can't get them into a country, you cut off the supply, which cuts off the supply of money to kidnappers and traffickers eventually, etc.


Some are kidnapped but plenty are coerced in to it by circumstance. How many people with decent opportunity does this happen to, a lot fewer.


I can't really fully comprehend this. Did she actually work as a sex worker and exposed herself to all sort of STDs? And not only that - having to deal with all sorts of nasty people... what a brave woman.


She posed as a prostitute, but thankfully I don't believe she actually worked as one, or at least she doesn't talk about about it in the documentary.

I do strongly recommend watching it, though not if you're depressed - it's very heavy for the petite bourgeoisie like me, not used to seeing this kind of misery.


Problems like this one, and other that rank as high in crimes against humanity, make me wish we had a global citizenship and effort, that everyone should have the right for safe passage into any place in the world.

Global rights of free passage would be a goal for all people under extreme opression and ilegality, from North Korea, ISIS, slavery, sex trafficking, people trafficking. If people could leave where they are and go somewhere: maybe not everywhere, but somewhere. A place they know they can go to.

Maybe someday.


Global citizenship requires global government which comes with its own set of problems. What if the majority favored a certain behavior, such as this one? Then it would be globally legal. Maybe it's not globally favored now--that doesn't mean it will always be this way.

Compartmentalization is better than globalization. Humans are fallible and often evil. That is not going to change. The best thing to do is compartmentalize people and government to prevent cancerous evil from affecting everyone.

Anything else is wishful thinking. History shows that evil's not going anywhere, and contemporary events do as well.


It doesn't work if there is no free movement from one "compartiment" to another. Im not saying the whole world should be the same, as far as we know we live in a bubble as much as NK does. But I cant go in there freely and people there definitely can't go out. The guarantee of being able to flee would have helped a lot of people in all the humanitarian crisis of the past, and all those current. In these days, having simply global funding to move refugees and provide safe passage into open immigration countries (to the which there are many) would help a lot.


I'm not sure what you mean. Don't a lot of nations already receive refugees and those seeking asylum?

How could anyone make a guarantee of being able to "go in" and get someone out without infringing upon other nations' sovereignty?


You can't, but sovereignty isn't holy.

Today war is waged for oil, might as well be fought for actual freedom. I'd say that providing safe exit from ISIS might be infinitely more effective than bombing them.

An exit from extreme poverty and abuse would render vast criminal organizations without victims or workers.

The consensus to provide "right of exit" or "passage" should overpower any single country's decision, though in this world only what the US wants is military relevant for the moment. Replacing one of the military planes might be enough financial relief for thousands of refugees.


I still don't understand what you mean. You seem to assume that all the evil acts in the world are motivated by poverty and injustice; that if ISIS only had enough money, they'd stop kidnapping and torturing and killing and destroying.

But ISIS is actually well-funded--that's part of the reason they are able to do the things they are doing. They don't need money; they have plenty. They are motivated by evil, not by poverty.

Also, are you comparing ISIS to mere criminal organizations, like organized crime? If you are, I think that's ridiculous. These are two different kinds of problems. ISIS is not committing identity theft and credit card fraud.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but you seem to think that erasing borders would result in peace and prosperity. Again, not sure that's what you mean, but I think that doing so would have the opposite effect. Borders and separation help prevent tyranny from spreading. They do also permit evil to take root here and there--but evil is never going to go away for good. Just like it's never going to stop raining on this planet, so putting us all in one giant bathtub would only ensure that we all drown when it floods.

What do you mean by "replacing one of the military planes"? If you mean taking the money it costs to build one and giving it to refugees: well, sure, money helps, but many charities are already doing that. And the U.S. military itself spends a lot of time and money helping people. In fact, American soldiers have died recently on pure aid missions in remote places. You don't see the Chinese or Russian military (or ISIS) flying food to starving people free of charge and giving their lives in the process.

So please be careful not to simply vilify the U.S. and its military. There are serious problems in the U.S. government right now, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. That's trying to take the easy way out, and it's based on half-truths at best.


If you want to read more about modern day slavery, human trafficking and sex workers, I highly recommend "A Crime So Monstrous" by Benjamin Skinner.

http://acrimesomonstrous.com


I think the whole thing is very difficult to deal with while it is all criminalized and taboo, in the dark and so shameful. "It" can mean sex in general, not just prostitution.

I heard recently that prostitution in "the west" has gone off a cliff over the last few generations. Recreational sex, including homosexuality and other stigmatized tastes became a more normal part of our culture and demand for prostitution declined. We stopped demonizing extramarital sex (or women, really) and the "problem" got a lot smaller. Thousands of years and thousands of cultures and god-knows how many gods worth of banning, ostracizing, preaching and tut-tutting about prostitution or promiscuity and the one thing that actually made a dent makes a difference is getting sluttier as a culture.

I think this is a metaphor for (or a specific instance of) a bigger principle.

an example

I was at university when grameen bank won a nobel prize for micro-lending. This was around the same time many governments and regulators (in a bunch of places) were trying to pressure out "predatory lending practices." Normal banks got out of the high risk, small loan business. They had a reputation to maintain and $400 loans to the broke and unemployed is not particularly lucrative anyway.

The market was left to "payday loan" shops who tended to be a lot shadier. Then the financial crisis happened and business boomed. If payday loan shops get banned (as some want), the market will almost certainly be reborn as loan sharking, a traditionally criminal trade. The deeper the taboos & bans, the worse it will get. The actual thing won't go away though. Taboos, laws or fiery political rhetoric can't make it go away. The harder these things squeeze, the worse it will get. Terry Pratchett would have been the person to describe but alas…

This is all quite ironic considering that a nobel prize was won by a bank basically doing payday loans, but with a totally different attitude. Ironic, but informative. Grameen bank has high interest rate and uses social pressure tactics to improve repayment rates, practices considered unethical in the larger financial world. Practices shared with others in this "sector" of small high risk loans to the people no "real" lender would bother with. The practices seem to be part and parcel of the market.

But, Grameen bank is not like loan sharks or payday loan shops at all, culturally. Their impact on their customers and their relationship with them (and society) is far more positive. So is their impact. They won the nobel peace prize.! The people working at grameen bank think and act completely different than the culture of the payday loan industry. Perception matters. It shapes the thing. The perception of the employees, society, etc. are all interlinked.

Criminalize an industry and it becomes more criminal (with violence, abuse and all the other things that go with criminality). Label someone a pariah and they will act like one.

Banning, or even stigmatizing payday loans doesn't make the industry go away, it just makes it uglier. Give it a nobel peace prize, and they become humanitarians. I'm simplifying, I know. But, I think this is a decent low resolution description of the concept.

It works the same way with drugs. Same with prostitution. The public perception of prostitutes, johns, madams and pimps. The taboos and laws, the disdain and ostracization. I think these things are a big part of why it is all so dark. Society tells us that it's dark. That might keep some people away, but if it doesn't… The johns walk into it knowing they are doing something bad and act like it. The pimps act like pimps with the characteristic dehumanization of prostitutes and the prostitutes, knowing that they are the lowest of the low.. they act like it. Suicide, depression, drug abuse and general self abuse and self hate.


You might want to google "rescue industry".


I wasn't aware of those keywords, they mostly direct to a book titled "Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue" and the works of Dr. Laura Agustin.


[flagged]


Have you read the article? I agree that your comment is valid for a lot of articles on the topic. But what I've been reading is a valid analysis backed up with real investigation.


I wasn't arguing the merits of the article. Let's give it the benefit of the doubt - checks out to be glowingly academic, ground-breaking.

It's still coalescing around these politically charged "all or nothing" terms; begging the question. As if I don't grab a pitch fork and swallow any of the "human rights" pablum, I'm a heretic.

I have a bias learned from being in America and being forced to jam puff pieces down my throat without ever cross-examining it on the merits. Every liberal term is hoarded up for some self-serving reason that has little to do with people's betterment.


>I could elaborate

Please do.



Of course someone would do that. People will do all kinds of shit for money, and it's especially disheartening when people fraudulently profit from a cause that involves fighting financial interests. But, you know, you'll find these fuckers everywhere. Anywhere where there's any kind of money, and quite a few places where there's none, you'll find frauds. Frauds prove nothing about the kind of people that they pretend to be.


I am not saying they do. I was just providing an example to the question that was asked.

I am not as pessimistic as anon3_ but it seems good practice to examine the claims of companies and organization no matter if they are bad (Big Tobacco) or good (charities).


This is a perfectly valid comment until it's proven wrong. I don't think it should be "LA LA LA I'm not list-en-ing"-downvoted.


No it isn't.

First of all, it is weaselly. It is saying that "there is a counterargument" without actually making it.

Then, it sort of vaguely draws the conclusion that because there are instances of lying related to human trafficking in the world, the whole concept of human trafficking is a lie. That's like taking the case of a false rape claim and encouraging everyone to understand that women lie about rape.


"Human trafficking" and "Human rights" - I disagree, those words are weaselly.

It's trying to sneak away imagery of pain and powerlessness, for selfish interests. How dare these people intrude on the lives of others and act as if they know what's better, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

You want to know how to make money? Go into business spitting liberal epithets and get funded by UN, governments and NPO's. These guys are frauds that need to be exposed. They distract us from the real victims.


The burden of proof is on the one making the claims. There's very little value here as there's no substantiating evidence, but rather 'I could elaborate', which in itself just sounds like an attempt to spread disinformation. If you can elaborate then please do, otherwise you're not adding anything.


It is conspiracy theory bollocks until they provide some urls to support their bizzare claims.


[flagged]


There were two good things about this bigoted comment and the nasty subthread it set off: one was that it fell straight to the bottom of the page, and the other was the good HN users around—who made it clear, via flagging and calm replies, that HN is not the place for this.

A third good thing is that, for such difficult and intense subject matter, the rest of the discussion on the page managed to be substantive and civil.


Actually most of the human trafficing in Europe and Asia has nothing at all to do with Muslims. Not to mention human trafficing in the US and Latin America...


that's incorrect


Do you have any evidence to support your claim?



That paper argues that a lack of compliance with Islamic law promotes human trafficking. I also don't see where it shows that trafficking in Europe is mainly caused by Muslims. How exactly do you see it supporting your case that Islam is the problem?


Please don't bring religious flamewars onto HN.


Sorry. Won't feed the trolls again.


Thanks. But it's clear you were trying to help, so don't be sorry.


Oh noes it's all teh muslamics fault!

I don't know how much of an idiot you have to be to fall for this right wing fear mongering bullshit. It's not politically incorrect - it's just incorrect!


[flagged]


Actually it's more like a small subset of Group A intends to kill us all (highly doubtful that they actually have the capability to actually kill us all).

Group B is using the undeniable fact that some factions of Group A intend us harm to claim that all of Group A is responsible for all the the worlds evils. (The deleted post claimed that Islam was responsible for all the human trafficking in the world for example).

Some members of Group B (the despicable Britain First in the UK) have some completely bonkers beliefs that credulous idiots like the op retransmit without apparently giving them a nano seconds critical thought - e.g. "TEH MUSLAMISTS WANT TO MAKE ARE WATER HALAL" or "TEH AVERAGE MUSLAMIC WOMAN HAS XX CHILDREN - THERE TRYING TO BREED US OUT" (spelling mistakes intentional).

So therefore, while I don't disagree the Islam has some serious problems as a religion and an ideology, I reject as bigotry and narrow minded hatred the message that the OP originally posted.


[flagged]


You're right, my meme-trolling was a bit childish. However I have read some of Britain First's facebook pages and the comments there are hateful, vitriolic and most of the time barely literate.

I actually agree with most of what you said here. I believe that Islam does have some serious structural problems, along with many other religions. Muslim friends say that indeed the Quran is pretty transparently calling for non-muslim's death, and it seems to be seized upon readily as the raison d'être for many of these terrible groups.

As for the asian sex grooming, this is exactly this kind of thing that far right groups jump on. Suddenly it's muslim grooming gangs vs a group of men abusing children. Don't forget that within the Catholic church there has also been widespread abuse that's been covered up by the church. Somehow there isn't a pervasive implication that being Catholic means that you're more likely to be a child abuser. In case there was any doubt, yes grooming children for sex slavery is more despicable than whipping up hatred for an entire religion based on said abuse.

I believe the way to counter "lumping people together, generalizing and stereotyping" or othering is precisely to point out the flaws in logic and call it bigotry and hatred when you see it.


[flagged]


Thank you for standing up and telling it like it is. We need more voices like this to offset the censorious, intimidating ones on the other side.


[flagged]


Religious flamewars are not welcome on Hacker News. Please stop this now and don't do it again.


Am I the only one puzzled by this comment?


You shouldn't be. I'm a Muslim and I've dealt with numerous such individuals painting Muslims as backward and illiterate. Muslims are the scapegoat of this generation, as the Jews, Blacks were before them.

Their entire worldview is constructed of an us vs. them ideology rather than understanding that we're fundamentally the same regardless of our ethnicity/faiths/inclinations/etc.


I promise you that most of us, regardless of our faith (on HN, that will mostly be Pastafarianism), are embarrassed by bigoted comments like those.


Saying dumb things like that (now flagged) post is yes dumb.

That being said religion is not the same as race. Clearly people do believe different things. Most of the time with a little understanding conflict can be avoided. But some difference are real and then yes it is a us vs them.


> I'm a Muslim and I've dealt with numerous such individuals

Sorry. It must be annoying.


[flagged]


For those playing along at home, the "flag" button appears if you click on the timestamp on the above comment. When you see bigoted trolls on HN, don't have a conversation with them, just flag them off the site.


[flagged]


In my entire tenure on HN, I have never wanted to reply to a comment with something that would get me flagged so strongly as this.

That deserves some kind of award.


ameen, may I ask how you regard people who call themselves reformers such as Maajid Nawaz https://twitter.com/maajidnawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali https://twitter.com/Ayaan?


Can we not pretend that a thread started by a hateful comment about locking an entire culture out of Europe is a good venue for a discussion about religion? Actually: the whole of HN is a bad venue for that discussion.


The thing is that I'm genuinely interested in how people of certain groups regard themselves. I follow both of those individuals on twitter and they seem to an outsider to be talking sense. I would however like to know the opinion of people who are Muslim before I decide that though.

I agree that HN isn't the forum for this, but surely the best place to rebut such thinking is when it arises? You can hopefully see from my other comments on this thread that I certainly don't condone what the op said..


This isn't the time or the place.


There is no good venue for that discussion, Thomas.


Why all the down votes at an honest attempt at dialogue?


It is not only the imbalanced lust of few men that this horrible ecosystem is built around, the whole social structure is equally responsible for its existence and growth. Lack of strong social bond, lack of respect to the existence of other humans, lack of proper education on ethics and humanity, hypocrisy in the name of freedom, idea of living in the moments, greed etc are the reasons behind the existence of prostitution, pornography, and other sex related abuses. No government in the world can end this until the society acts as a whole to reject it. Perhaps the effective starting point to minimize it is to avoid double standards.

"O faithful! Why do you say one thing and do another? It is most hateful to God that you do not practise what you preach" (61: 2-3) -- the holy Quran

“Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you.” -- Confucius

(Couldn't Quote from the Bible for the lack of knowledge in it.)


Pornography is not a "sex related abuse".

Nor is the reason behind prostitution's existence the lack of a strong social bond. In fact, prostitution was relatively out in the open and brothels widespread during the medieval period, though views on it ranged variably from reluctant acceptance in the name of compromise (by the Catholic Church) to a more complete one, like in East Asia. Brothels often served as an attraction for travelers, too. Some were even run by women, and ironically enough most European countries didn't ban brothels until the 20th century. U.S. states also mostly had them legal in the 19th century.

Prostitution is weaker now than ever, in a time when social bonds are supposedly at an all time low according to most demagogues. Furthermore, nothing about ethics that is intrinsically opposed to it.

Islam has always been against it, though. So it's no surprise you don't think of it highly.


The origin of girls allured to both industries (prostitution and pornography) is probably the same. The recent documentary of Rashida Jones, "Hot girls wanted", sheds modest light on this issue. On the other hand, prostitution is not weaker than before, it has been outsourced far away, so the victims' voices cannot be heard. An example- prostitution business in the East and South East Asia are stronger than ever. There are several documentaries on how children and teenagers in those countries are taken by the prostitution rings to sell to pedophiles, sex abusers and addicts from all over the world. Western European addicts go to the East in groups for orgy and sex trips. And this article uses few cases in the middle East to clearly show the extremity of hypocrisy. These are few documented stories I am talking about. There maybe hundreds of different sort of incidents yet to be documented.

Sex industries have been evolving. And none of these industries treat girls as human beings, rather as sex tools. None of these industries produce respect to any human kind. Prostitution at least has physical boundaries, porn doesn't. And that makes us and our future generation more vulnerable to sex related abuses, not only the people involved in those businesses, but also sometimes out close ones as well. And I don't see why we should not stand against both.


> I was given an award for courage at the Lincoln Center in New York. I said they should have given me an award for anger instead. There is nothing courageous about what I've done.

That is courage. Not being afraid of dangerous things is not courage: it's stupidity.




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