Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trafficking again....

Just a short one with another tidbit of information:

Forced Labor

The majority of human trafficking in the world takes the form of forced labor, according to the ILO’s estimate on forced labor. Also known as involuntary servitude, forced labor may result when unscrupulous employers take advantage of gaps in law enforcement to exploit vulnerable workers. These workers are made more vulnerable to forced labor practices because of high rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, discrimination, corruption, political conflict, and cultural acceptance of the practice. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable, but individuals are also forced into labor in their own countries.
- A very official link -> http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2009/123126.htm

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The extend of sexual slavery....

My second post about trafficking. In my first post about this topic I blogged about forgotten male victims and that trafficking is merely seen as sex-trafficking, where victims are almost always women or girls. It is always interesting to hear contrary voices.

The profits generated worldwide by all forms of slavery in 2007 was 91.2 billion American dollars. That is second only to drug trafficking in terms of global, criminal, illicit enterprises. 40 percent of this money is produced by the 4 percent of slaves that work in the sex industry. [Kara, Siddharth (October 2008). Sex Trafficking - Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231139601.]

4%?!? Quite contrary to that:

Due to the illegal nature of trafficking and differences in methodology, the exact extent is unknown. According to United States State Department data, an "estimated 600,000 to 820,000 men, women, and children [are] trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 70 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also illustrates that the majority of transnational victims are trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation." However, they go on to say that "the alarming enslavement of people for purposes of labor exploitation, often in their own countries, is a form of human trafficking that can be hard to track from afar." Thus the figures for persons trafficked for labor exploitation are likely to be greatly underestimated.
From Wiki

Greatly underestimated...there seems to be a mixing of terms as well. As victims of sexual-trafficking doesn´t necessarily mean being exploited, but can also mean to choose working as a prostitude:

There is no universally accepted definition of trafficking for sexual exploitation. The term encompasses the organized movement of people, usually women, between countries and within countries for sex work with the use of physical coercion, deception and bondage through forced debt. However, the issue becomes contentious when the element of coercion is removed from the definition to incorporate facilitating the willing involvement in prostitution. For example, In the United Kingdom, The Sexual Offences Act, 2003 incorporated trafficking for sexual exploitation but did not require those committing the offence to use coercion, deception or force, so that it also includes any person who enters the UK to carry out sex work with consent as having being trafficked.

Save the Children stated "The issue gets mired in controversy and confusion when prostitution itself is considered as a violation of the basic human rights of both adult women and minors, and equal to sexual exploitation per se..... trafficking and prostitution become conflated with each other.... On account of the historical conflation of trafficking and prostitution both legally and in popular understanding, an overwhelming degree of effort and interventions of anti-trafficking groups are concentrated on trafficking into prostitution"


In Japan the prosperous entertainment market had created huge demand for commercial sexual workers, and such demand is being met by trafficking women and children from the Philippines, Colombia and Thailand. Women are forced into street prostitution, based stripping and live sex acts. However, from information obtained from detainees or deportees from Japan, about 80 percent of the women went there with the intention of working as prostitutes
From Wiki

We can now assume that the huge number of 70% also include a lot of women who willingly enter prostitution. And it gets more bizarre, now women get rescued by anti-trafficking groups, against their will, an example from Thailand:

Over the past three years there has been an increased international and national focus on the situation of women who have been trafficked.

However, the focus on trafficking in persons has meant many groups with little or no experience on the issues of migration, labor, sex work or women's rights have been created to take advantage of the large sums of money available to support anti-trafficking activities. Their inexperience and lack of contact with the sex worker community has meant they are unable or unwilling to differentiate between women who have been trafficked and migrant workers. They also show a great deal of trouble differentiating between women and girls, often applying identical standards and solutions for both. It is obviously inappropriate to treat a girl as an adult and just as obviously inappropriate to treat an adult as a child.


Prior to the 2nd of May women from a brothel called Baan Rom Yen had been studying Thai daily with Empower, joining our outside activities e.g. attending a workshop on migrant's rights, going to swimming lessons, going to a local water fall. Women also had access to the public health weekly and were provided with safe sex equipment and skills by Empower. None of these women had talked about being trafficked and when they discussed their work, plans and dreams none showed any need or wish for outside rescue.

On the 1st of May three of the women collected their savings from the owner and contacted a van in order to take them home to Burma on Friday 2nd of May. One of these three went with a customer on the 1st of May and didn't come back. Her friends and employer were worried for her. The other women postponed their trip home in order to wait for her.

At 11 pm May 2nd women heard people yelling "police". Those that could get away did and the others were "caught". Everyone, including the brothel owner saw the missing woman in the police car, saw her name on the arrest warrant and assumed that she had gone to the police.


Journalists and photographers also accompanied the police and "rescue team". Photos of the women were taken without their consent and appeared in the local papers and TV the next day.


Women who were "rescued" understood they had been arrested. They had their belongings taken from them.


In all 28 women were "rescued". Some of the women were not employees of that brothel but were simply visiting friends when they were "rescued". Women were transported by Trafcord and the police against their will to a Public Welfare Boys Home. Nineteen women were locked inside and have remained there for the past 31 days. We have no information on the whereabouts or situation of the other ten women.


They are only permitted to use their phones for a short time each evening and must hide in the bathroom to take calls outside that time. They report that they have been subjected to continual interrogation and coercion by Trafcord. Women understand that if they continue to maintain that they want to remain in Thailand and return to work that they will be held in the Public Welfare Boys Home or similar institution until they recant. Similarly they understand that refusing to be witnesses against their "traffickers" will further delay their release.


They were shocked to hear that the raid had not been about arresting women but rather in order to 'rescue" those women who were victims of trafficking.

Each of the women were emphatic that all the workers were well informed before coming, had made satisfactory salary arrangements with the employer, had the freedom to leave and all were 19 years and over.

One woman who has a 50,000 baht advance from the owner had traveled home twice in the past two months to visit family etc. Although she had borrowed the money as an advance against her wages she felt no fear or threat. She and the others were all supported by the management to refuse customers, attend to health care, access safe working equipment, education and training. They were receiving an average of 600 Baht a day (the minimum wage in Chiang Mai Thailand is 133 Baht a day) They now find themselves unable to work.


They had fled the brothel leaving their possessions and savings behind. The brothel was now locked and they were unable to regain their goods.


These women have nowhere to stay, no money and therefore are unable to access basic needs including medical care and education.


All the women being held plan to return to work as soon as possible after their inevitable deportation. This will of course result in them paying yet another transport fee and facing more risks, including the risk of being "rescued" again.

Traffickers and many anti-trafficking groups employ very similar methods to achieve their goals. Both groups deceive women, transport them against their will, detain them, and put them in dangerous situations.
From here

Unbelieveable. Those women above willingly earned 4.5 times the average and life has been made far worse by the rescue. One blogger hit the nail on the head:

It’s the season when the United States issues its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP). Having named sexual slavery as a particular evil to be eradicated, the United States grades other countries on how they are doing.

On the one hand, it sounds like an obvious way to do good: Describe the ghastly conditions you as a rich outsider observe in poor countries. Focus on places where sex is sold. Say all women found were kidnapped virgins and are now enslaved; announce to the world that you will liberate them. Organize raids. Denounce anyone who objects - even if their objection is that you are intervening in their country’s internal affairs. Ignore victims who resist rescue. Use lurid language and talk continuously about the most sensational and terrible cases. Justify your actions as a manifestation of faith, as though it exists only for you. Mutter about “organized crime.”


For crusading politicians and religious leaders, a rhetoric of moral indignation is effective in uniting constituents and diverting the collective gaze away from familiar problems at home. So the culprits, those who get bad grades in the TIP, live far away from U.S. culture, which is assumed to be better. Intransigent local troubles - prisons overflowing with African Americans, millions of children malnourished - are swept aside in the call to clean up other people’s countries.

This moral indignation emanates from people who live comfortably, who are not wondering where their next meal will come from or how to pay doctors’ bills. These moral entrepreneurs do not have to choose between being a live-in maid, with no privacy or free time and unable to save money because the pay is so bad, and selling sex, which pays so well that you have time to spend with your children or read a book, money to buy education or a phone.

It is easy to haul out sensationalistic language (sex slavery, child prostitution), but it is much harder to sort out the real victims from the more routinely disadvantaged and trying-to-get-ahead. Those who know intimately the problems of the poor in their own cultures rarely deny that they can decide to leave home and pay others to help them travel and find work, in sex or in any other trade.

“But sex for money is disgusting and degrading; no one should have to do it.” And should anyone have to clean toilets all day? Risk being maimed in unsafe fireworks factories? Should children have to spend their lives in lightless tunnels of mines, or women have to remain married to men who are cruel to them? The world is full of things we wish we could eradicate - but isn’t starvation the first of them? Why is there no equivalent moral furor over hideous poverty? Are we meant to believe that sex without love is worse than military violence? All over the world, selling sex pays better than most jobs readily available to women, and many do not believe it is the worst possible experience they can have.

What’s questionable about the TIP is not the defense of children or anyone else against true violence - it’s one government’s assumption that it has the right to judge everyone else and apply a draconian definition of exploitation that does not ask people whether and how they would like to change their lives. Questionable is the focus on the photogenic, cowboy moment of rushing in to rescue slaves, with no interest in what will follow.


From the standpoint of social science, the TIP is gravely faulty. It never explains how data were gathered and compared across so many languages and cultures, or who did it exactly under what circumstances. A raft of other research shows enormous diversity among people who sell sex, and a wide variety of experiences in the sex industry among both migrants and people who stay at home. Studies show that the worst kind of trafficking can happen to people doing other kinds of jobs - and to men. Women all over the world, including the poorest, repudiate being characterized as above all sexually vulnerable.
From here

It turns out the war against trafficking is nothing more than a crusade against prostitution, which leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth when thinking about forgotten labour slaves.

You got mail....

This will be a personal one. But let us first talk about the feminist view of privilege, which basicly means, if you have no penis you are a second class, opressed person, chained to the kitchen sink. While a penis grands you rights and privileges a woman can only dream about. Of course this is a warped view. Warren Farrell hit the nail on the head:

Farrell points to the over-representation of men among groups such as the homeless, suicides, alcoholics, the victims of violent crime and prisoners.

He argues that men disproportionately occupy the most dangerous and unpleasant occupations and that “if a man feels obligated to take a job he likes less so he can be paid more money that someone else spends while he dies seven years earlier, well, that's not power.”

In addition, he points to spheres of discrimination against men in such spheres as the military draft, family law and the criminal justice system. Far from being privileged, he argues that policies such as conscription, the women and children first rule and the over-representation of men among the most dangerous occupations illustrate men’s status as ‘the disposable sex’.
From Wiki and from "The Myth of Male Power"

Anyhow what irks me the most is, that feminist have a habit to forget privileges their genitalia grants them in this society and for once the positive side-effects of "being chained to the kitchen sink".

And now we get personal.

Today I received an Email from my wife. The Email started with "Weeeeeeeee" which is usually a good sign. So I was informed that my daughter learned to sit today. I was excited and as usual, I was not there. It reminds me of the Email I got when she uttered the word "papa" first. And I guess there will be Emails in the future where I will learn that she starts crawling or walking, because I was not there. Kind of depressing. And speaking of "patriarchial oppression" one has to wonder that men (especially fathers) fight tooth and nail, for the privilege to not see their children grow up. If we keep in mind that women tend to marry up we begin to understand why it is the way it is.

At last, many many women choose to be mothers and reject feminist theory. For example, I compared the international feminist site feministing with a huge German board based on motherhood, parenting and becoming pregnant. Alexa tells me, both sites have roughly the same reach (keep in mind that Germany is smaller than the USA where most of the users from feministing are from). Most of the users of both sites are women and one is surprised how much opinions differ on those boards. In short if you try to act pro-choice on the mothers board you will not gain many friends. And while feminist on feministing will complain about workplace discrimination, the mothers will talk about the joy of being a mother.

Very interesting.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


An interesting article:

Of the 5.2 million people who've lost their jobs since last summer, four out of five were men. Some experts predict that this year, for the first time, more American women will have jobs than men. And that's just furthering the decline of the endangered male.

Consider this: A 2007 government survey found that of the 36.8 million American adults who lack health insurance, 56% are men. But given the tremendous percentage of lost jobs that were held by men, that number could skyrocket. For family men, at least, there's a built-in safety net: The preponderance of two-career couples means that women, and their secure jobs, often provide the benefits. It's men who are single or divorced and who, studies show, live shorter lives than their married brethren who now make up the largest segment of the unemployed and uninsured. The impact of this in the form of untreated illness and injury will follow single men around for a generation.


As the Obama administration contemplates its strategy for health care reform, it isn't just the unemployed and uninsured we need to keep in mind. We need an overhaul of the system to take care of the hardworking people who do hold on to their jobs and pay a dear price for it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, men make up the majority of those injured on the job. In the manufacturing, mining and construction fields, 86% of workplace injuries and illnesses occur to men and 92% of workplace-related deaths are men as well.


98% of the Iraq wounded are men, and for many of them, their war-related health problems will continue for a lifetime.

Psychological issues again, often left untreated because of a lack of employment and insurance affect men in much greater numbers, as well. Almost 70% of homeless adults are men, and the suicide rate for young men is five times that of young women.

These factors help explain why, in 2006, the average American male could expect to live 5.1 fewer years than the average woman; a black American male will likely live 11 fewer years than a white American woman. (By contrast, in 1920 men and women could expect to enjoy about the same lifespan.)

Despite the overwhelming evidence that men are being left behind, the U.S. government has never made a concerted effort to address male health issues. Right now, there are seven (seven!) offices of women's health in the U.S. government: six in the Department of Health and Human Services and one in the Department of Agriculture. And the Pentagon makes huge investments in women's health research. Yet there is not a single federal organization that encourages and disseminates physical and mental health research for and about men.


One argument for funding so many health service organizations targeted to those citizens who already enjoy the best health, the most insurance, the longest lifespan, and the safest and most plentiful jobs that would be women is that it's payback time.


The Obama administration showed great eagerness in addressing the problems of women soon after it took office, with the establishment of the White House Council on Women and Girls. We applaud that move, and we now look for equal time for the males of the species.

So as momentum for health care reform builds and melds with the president's economic agenda, let's think about the Americans who are most likely to face unemployment, a lack of insurance, and the untreated physical and psychological problems that make their lives that much shorter and harder. In other words, let's think about men. It's about time we caught a break, and a he-covery would be just the thing.

All in all a good overview and I must admit I would have missed this article, if I hadn´t read the answer by feminists on feministing. If you think about this factum: "Of the 5.2 million people who've lost their jobs since last summer, four out of five were men." you can only conclude that the best way in dealing with this men who do not have a job anymore is to give them one again, to use the human capital that is not working. Well the feminists have a different opinion:

While men in fact are losing jobs at a higher rate than women, what the author isn't taking into account is that not only are women paid less and generally have worse jobs than men, but are economically behind men in so many other ways.


unemployment isn't the only indicator of economic struggle. Women are one-third more likely than men to have sub-prime mortgages, nearly 60 percent of impoverished children are living in female-headed households, and the poverty rate is higher among women than it is among men of any race. Undergirding all that is the stubbornness of the pay gap between men and women, meaning that women still earn just 78 cents on the male dollar--even for the same work, with the same educational background and number of years on the job. Advocates say that given these disparities, it is actually women who are harder hit by the recession, despite more staggering joblessness among men.


How about the fact that 70% of people in poverty are women?? Sounds to me like job loss and economic disenfranchisement only became relevant when men started to become victims.

These parts were so full of misinformation and lies I had to research a little. The 70% poverty rating for women made me wonder as there are more homeless people that are male. While I was searching for the actual rates I came across this:

Women in America are more likely to be poor than men. Over half of the 37 million Americans living in poverty today are women. And women in America are further behind than women in other countries—the gap in poverty rates between men and women is wider in America than anywhere else in the Western world.

The difference must be huge, so when I came across real numbers, I was shocked.

Adult Poverty Rate by Gender, states (2006-2007), U.S. (2007)
Female: 17%
Male: 14%

A difference of 3%? That is what all the fuzz is about? I couldn´t believe it and searched further.

In 2001, 12.9 percent of the female population and 10.4 percent of the male population lived below the poverty level.

Not surprisingly the gap is raising the older the age group is getting as more and more men die which leads to poor widowed women and are basicly a result of the shorter life expectancy men have.

Elderly women are far more likely to be poor than elderly men. Thirteen percent of women over 75 years old are poor compared to 6 percent of men.

Roughly one quarter of poor women are single mothers which brings us to the factoid that nearly 60 percent of impoverished children are living in female-headed households. It is quite simple remove discrimination in divorce courts and allow men to see their children and you will see that this difference of 8-9% will even out.

The last part about the wage gap is a direct lie. I will talk about the wage gap in the future again but in the meantime wiki gives us a good overview. Even though the feminist article and wiki have the same source the result is quite different. Compare:

meaning that women still earn just 78 cents on the male dollar--even for the same work, with the same educational background and number of years on the job.

"in 2004, women's wages were 76.5% of men's wages," or "in 2004, women earned 23.5% less than men earned." This statistic does not take into account differences in experience, skill, occupation, or hours worked.

Ouch...have we been caught lying? Some factoids from the Wiki article that do not work with the discrimination theory:

An article entitled "Gender Wage Gap Is Feminist Fiction" from the libertarian Independent Women's Forum stated: "A study of the gender wage gap conducted by economist June O' Neill, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, found that women earn 98 percent of what men do when controlled for experience, education, and number of years on the job." [^ Gender Wage Gap Is Feminist Fiction by Arrah Nielsen, Independent Women's Forum, April 15, 2005]


In the book Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality, Browne writes: "Because of the sex differences in hours worked, the hourly earnings gap [...] is a better indicator of the sexual disparity in earnings than the annual figure. Even the hourly earnings ratio does not completely capture the effects of sex differences in hours, however, because employees who work more hours also tend to earn more per hour. Therefor, a proper adjustment for hours worked would reduce the gap even further"[8]
(There is more on this book in Google books according to this information the hourly gap in 1999 was 16 cents)


A 2009 New York Times article reported that Anne York, an economics professor at Meredith College in North Carolina, had conducted a study of high school valedictorians in the U.S. According to the study, female valedictorians were planning to have careers that had a median salary of $74,608, whereas male valedictorians were planning to have careers with a median salary of $97,734. As to why the females were less likely than the males to choose high paying careers such as surgeon and engineer, the article quoted York as saying, "The typical reason is that they are worried about combining family and career one day in the future." [Do the Ambitions of High School Valedictorians Differ by Gender?, New York Times, June 1, 2009]

Occupational segregation refers to the way that some jobs (such as truck driver) are dominated by men, and other jobs (such as child care worker) are dominated by women. Because jobs dominated by women are, on average, lower-paying than jobs dominated by men, occupational choice is an important cause of the gender gap.


Thomas Sowell argued in his book Civil Rights that most of pay gap is based on marital status, not a “glass ceiling” discrimination. Earnings for men and women of the same basic description (education, jobs, hours worked, marital status) were essentially equal. That result would not be predicted under explanatory theories of “sexism”.[^ "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality", Thomas Sowell, 1984. "Markets and Minorities, Thomas Sowell, 1981] However, it can be seen as a symptom of the unequal contributions made by each partner to child raising. Cathy Young argues that rather than men being disinterested in child-rearing resulting in an unequal burden for women, women barring men from taking on paternal responsibilities may sometimes be at fault.[The mama lion at the gate - Salon.com] Many Western countries have some form of paternity leave to attempt to level the playing field in this regard.


Male activist Warren Farrell has claimed that childless women who have never married earn 117 percent of their childless male counterparts (as revealed by Census data from 2001), when the comparison controls for education, hours worked and age. [Warren Farrell Archive]


A study at Carnegie Mellon found that men graduating from that university with master's degrees were eight times more likely to negotiate starting salaries and pay than their female counterparts. In surveys, more that twice as many women than men said they felt "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiating.["Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and Gender Divide" by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever, Princeton University Press, 2003 ISBN 069108940X ISBN 978-0691089409][# ^ http://www.womendontask.com/stats.html]

The difference on women and men jobs was cited on one of the feminist links as well. Is it discrimination that more women are secretaries than car mechanics?

Last but not least we shouldn´t forget about unemployment rates:

While the difference raised from 1,2% to 1,5% from IV2008 to I2009, it went to 2,3% in April 2009. And when the gap is widening, doesn´t it make sense to support those who are loosing jobs? Not if you want an even wider gap.