Friday, August 13, 2010
By uniting we stand. By dividing we fall. George Washington
There exists a trend within anti trafficking circles to attack prostitution and get it outlawed. While I think prostitution is a rotten deal and I would hate to see anyone devote their life to being used for money, I choose to devote my efforts to aiding the most helpless in the trafficking scenario: The victims.
All trafficking isn’t about sex. Forced labor also plays into the trafficking phenomenon. I don’t see anyone out there trying to outlaw work as a means to stop labor trafficking.
It’s not the fact that there are abolitionists who want prostitution outlawed in every country that bothers me so much. It’s when we allow differing ideas about prostitution in general to divert us from the one point we all agree on: Trafficking and selling human beings and using them for forced sex and forced labor is just wrong. The possibility of outlawing prostitution is an issue, but it’s a separate issue and it should be treated as such.
It’s saddened me in the past few years to see the division that has sprung up in anti-trafficking circles. Have we gotten sidetracked?
When trying to accomplish any goal, it’s more effective to focus on what we agree on than to magnify our differences. Our goal to aid victims of human trafficking and prevent future victims is the same.
Jesus, in his encounter with the woman at the well gave the woman what she needed. She needed forgiveness and the living water of His spirit to see that things could be different for her. Should our approach to those who are living in circumstances that exceed their worst nightmares be any different? They need forgiveness and compassion. They need education. They need jobs.
By uniting we stand. By dividing we fail.
Remember, as always, your comments are welcome.
Following is new excerpt from Unstoppable Redeemer
(continued from Chapter I)
…“We’re going to pay you and your mother a visit. If the daughter is this good looking, the mother must be a real piece. She’ll be stretched out enough from birthing you to accommodate our huge Romanian manhood. Soon, you will be too.”
The verbal cruelty of Alex’s boss churned a familiar anger in me. Somewhere, somehow, it had to stop. I began to gather clothes and food.
Armed with a basket full of shirts, pants, sandwiches and apples, and my big mouth, I headed out the door. I poked at the elevator button. It brought no response. I caught the tipping basket and trudged down five flights of stairs and walked to the police station.
The accusations hurled at me so long ago spun furiously with the words of Alex’s boss. My stomach tightened until vomit rose in my throat.
What gives them the right to intimidate people like this? Yes, many women agree to leave the country. Some seek relief from days without food and from seeing a parent or grandparent suffer with untreated diseases that costly medication could cure but they can’t afford. Others longed to escape an abusive alcoholic spouse or a parent. For most, selling their bodies wasn’t the motive.
I understood them. When my father and I had tried to leave, we wanted to escape from winters with little or no heat. We left to escape scavenger hunts for food and the overnight lines for milk followed by early morning work schedules. We longed to escape the secret police that stood outside on the street watching people’s comings and goings. Our desire for a better life proved strong enough to leave family and friends to seek one out.
These women also hoped for a better life. For this, they were being treated like dogs. The injustice of it nearly strangled me. I arrived at the police station like a coiled snake ready to strike.
“Where are they?” I demanded before the door closed behind me.
The officer at the desk shrugged his shoulders and picked at his fingernail before answering. “The whores are in there,” Without looking up, he pointed down the hall and to the right. When he made no move, I grabbed the keys hanging off his desk and stormed down the hall by myself.
I opened the cell but couldn’t see anything in the windowless room. I fumbled for the light switch. A bare bulb hung by a wire revealed the room. Is this room empty except for a table and chairs? When my eyes adjusted I saw a blanket-covered mat on the floor in the far right corner. The blanket concealed three little mounds. One by one, each of the mounds stretched out.
They were girls! What are they doing here? Why are they dressed in short skirts and tiny tube tops? This has to be the wrong room.
“Where are the prostitutes?” I yelled down the hall.
The officer got up and walked toward me. “That’s them on the mat.”
“Vai, Doamne! (Good God) Who did this to them?” Although their hair was matted and their faces smeared with make-up, it was their bruises that horrified me. One girl’s eye was swelled nearly shut. Another girl had a big bruise on her left arm. The last one tugged at her short skirt, but not before I saw the line of raw cigarette burns on her upper thigh. Her bare shoulder was black and blue.
I sucked in my breath. “These are children.”…
Posted by Iana Matei at 3:15 PM
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Society is in a coma when it comes to trafficking.
TRAFFICKING AND FORCED PROSTITUTION are NOT OK AND IT'S UP TO US TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Girls are out there, screaming day and night. For some girls, no one hears or comes to help them. After a while, they stop screaming. They learn that less resistance results in fewer black eyes and fewer broken bones. They smile on the street corner and beckon men as if having sex with strangers is their own idea. Meanwhile, a pimp lurks in the background. Afterwards, he collects the money and she collects the STD's.
The idea for the book and the blog is to open up discussions on the subject, so that our collective input can be used to stop the most humiliating form of slavery. After working for 10 years in this field, I've concluded that here is no political will to really put an end to it. So I decided to find ordinary people to do extraordinary things (people like you and me) and try to help the girls.
Thanks for joining me this week. Following is an article from Reader's Digest that describes the situation and the area in which I live and work. Below that, you'll find a continuance of the excerpt from Unstoppable Redeemer.
Remember, your input matters. Please share your thoughts and post your comments by clicking on the red comment button. Also, if you would like notification of new postings, become a follower of this blog.
Posted by Iana Matei at 10:55 AM
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
My stomach tightened and my breath quickened. The conversation had taken me back to what I’d spent years trying to forget. Ignoring it proved impossible. I knew I needed to get moving to pull some things together if I were to be at the police station in an hour. Instead, I sat and rubbed my temples.
It was 1978. I was 17. Huge flakes of snow settled on our shoulders as my father and I showed up at the Romanian Embassy. He was Serbian. For him to leave would have been possible, but for my mother and I things were different. Travel outside the country was either extremely limited or prohibited, depending on who you were and who you knew.
My father and I planned to pretend he and I were going on a holiday so I could meet his parents. We would send for my mother once we gained political asylum. As we approached the embassy gates, the guards poked at each other with their elbows and nodded in my direction.
“Hey, you with the blue scarf. Come over here.” As I moved forward, my father stepped right in behind me. “No, you wait over there.” The guard pointed to my father and then indicated a place a few paces away.
The tall one approached me. He stood very close, his face in my face. “Turn around.” When I hesitated, he pushed at my shoulder with the butt of his gun. “I said turn!”
I did as I was told. He stepped back slightly.
“Do you want to leave here because you’ve screwed all the men in Romania? Now you want foreign men to satisfy you?” A hard chiseled face outlined his squinted eyes and jutted chin. He leaned way in toward me. I stepped back to avoid him. He moved in closer.
“I know girls like you. They just can’t get enough... And your father over there, he goes along with it. He goes along with it because he’s been with all the women in Romania. You two make quite the pair.”
I started to protest. He held his hand up in front of my face. “I’ll do the talking here. You don’t need to say a word.”
“Come over here guys. All of you.” At this, five other guards came to his side. Their eyes were slightly glazed over, like wild animals ready to bite into fresh meat. A couple of them breathed so hard they had to catch their breaths.
“We’re going to pay you and your mother a visit. If the daughter is this good looking, the mother must be a real piece. She’ll be stretched out enough from birthing you to accommodate our huge Romanian manhood. Soon, you will be too...”
Posted by Iana Matei at 12:43 PM