Feminism and Male Trafficking

 

http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/sexual-assault-on-men/feminism-and-male-trafficking/

 

Human Trafficking is a scourge on civilization. It is condemnable irrespective of gender of the victim.

However, feminists have made trafficking a gender issue rather than a human issue. Traditional discourse on human trafficking name men as “predators” or buyers of sex, and women as the “prey,” the vulnerable and at-risk population.

Here are what feminists think and do about human trafficking:-

1) According to Institute for Feminism & Human Rights, Stockholm, Sweden:-

Prostitution and human trafficking are crimes, serious human rights violations, and contrary to the dignity and integrity of women and girls that must and will be abolished. The legalization and industrialization of prostitution activities normalizes an extreme form of sexual discrimination and violence, and strengthens male domination over all women and girls – individually and systemically.

Without men’s assumption that they have the right to demand, buy and sexually exploit women and girls, prostitution and human trafficking would not exist.(1)

2) According to feminist Gloria Steinem “Prostitution is not inevitable, it is only about unequal distribution of power. Today we face an epidemic of sex trafficking. More people are being pushed into it than even the slave trade” (2)

3) Anti-prostitution feminists hold that prostitution is a form of exploitation of women and male dominance over women, and a practice which is the result of the existing patriarchal societal order.

4) Feminist Kathleen Barry (3) co-founded the United Nations NGO, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW). Institutions like these have been advancing certain feminist interests, using trafficking in women as a powerful metaphor. Also the problem of third world trafficking in women is being used by western feminist as justification for its own interventionist impulses in these countries. (4)

What is fundamentally wrong with these feminist ideas are:-

1) Human Trafficking is practiced not just for using victims for sex-workers but also for use as labourers, soldiers in conflict zone, for source of organs, begging, drug trafficking, pornography etc. For most of these works, males are more in demand than females.

2) Males are also used for sex trade.

3) Women and transgender also buy sex.

4) Women are also actively involved in trafficking. In Europe, for example, women make up a larger share of those convicted for human trafficking offenses than for most other forms of crime.

5) Not all prostitutes are victims of sex trafficking and feminist are trying to label sex work as sexual exploitation to advance their own cause (5) (6). Many take up sex work on their own and resent feminist intervention. According to the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee [which is a collectivization of 65000 sex workers and functions as an exclusive forum of female, male and transgender sex workers in West Bengal, India] :-

Like many other occupations, sex work is also an occupation, and it is probably one of the ‘oldest’ profession’ in the world because it meets an important social demand………… People who are interested in our welfare, and many are genuinely concerned, often cannot think beyond rehabilitating us or abolishing prostitution altogether. (7)

6) Prostitution is not about unequal distribution of power between genders but about poverty.

The feminist tryst with trafficking and prostitution has unfortunately resulted in skewed legislative policies worldwide which largely ignores the problem of Male victims of Human Trafficking.

The Middle-east and South-east Asia are regions where male trafficking is being practiced widely.

In war-torn Afghanistan human-trafficking is a serious problem. Reports on trafficking in persons in Afghanistan, have suggested that boys were more at risk of trafficking than girls. (8)

Trafficking of Boys is termed Qachaq-e-Ensan, Tejarat-e-Ensan in local Afghan parlance. The three main types of exploitation of male child survivors of trafficking are: –

• Sexual (including bacha bazi)

• Forced labour

• Child recruitment for military groups

Bacha bazi is a slang term that is commonly used for sexual slavery and child prostitution in which prepubescent and adolescent boys are sold to wealthy or powerful men for entertainment and sexual activities. A documentary film by Najibullah Quraishi about the practice of bacha bazi was screened by the UK Royal Society of Arts on March 29, 2010.

Trafficking of child soldiers is also widely practiced. In both identified cases, the boys were kidnapped by unknown people. Similar to sexual exploitation, drugs were commonly mentioned as ways of keeping boys under control. The boys were kept in rooms with other boys and indoctrinated with ideas of extreme Islamic ideology.

Outside of the three major types of exploitation, trafficked boys face exploitation by being used for:-

• Drug smuggling

• Street begging networks

• Criminal networks

• Organ cutting

In Cambodia men and boys are deceived onto long-haul fishing boats that go out to sea for up to two years or more. They live in virtual prisons and the victims endure inhuman working conditions, and physical abuse. (9)

In Thailand males from Burma are trafficked for acting male sex workers. (10)

Another area where trafficking is widely practiced is the middle-East. Camel racing is a popular sport in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Australia, and Mongolia. Professional camel racing, like horse racing, is an event for betting and tourist attraction. Children are often favoured as jockeys because of their light weight.

Camels are often controlled by child jockeys. Impoverished families from Pakistan, Sudan, Mauritania, India and Bangladesh sell their sons to work as jockeys in the lucrative camel races in the United Arab Emirates.(11)

Although banned for over a decade, the camel racing profession is still home to an estimated 3,000 children. These children live in slave-like conditions. The children are starved to make sure they weigh less than 20 kg (44 lbs) since the light weight helps the camel run faster. The young boys are left exposed to the elements as they are forced to sleep next to the camels at night. Without the proper shoes, many burn their feet in the hot desert sand. The young camel jockeys are beaten for not understanding Arabic, given electric shocks for being “overweight” and rampant sexual abuse by the camel trainers. The extreme physical and emotional abuse at such a young age has dire consequences for the little boys who are usually discarded once they get older and can’t stay within the weight requirements.

Male victims are seen in the U.S. as well, often in child pornography. The sex trafficking of young boys feeds the high demand for child pornography. More than half of these features boys rather than girls. (12)

In light of above it is imperative that International and government bodies should free themselves of “Women only” view of human trafficking and look at it from a neutral perspective.

References:

  1. http://feminismandhumanrights.org/thematic-areas/feminism-and-male-violence-against-women-and-girls-including-prostitution-and-trafficking-in-human-beings/
  2. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/up-against-the-epidemic-of-trafficking/article3276106.ece
  3. http://www.kathleenbarry.net/abolish-prostitution-now.htm
  4. http://www.palgrave-journals.com/fr/journal/v67/n1/abs/9496704a.html
  5. http://jezebel.com/5978052/some-feminists-are-wrongfully-fighting-against-sex-workers
  6. https://reason.com/archives/2013/01/21/the-war-on-sex-workers/singlepage
  7. http://www.bayswan.org/manifest.html
  8. https://hagarinternational.org/international/our-work/where-we-work/afghanistan/forgotten-no-more-restoration-for-afghan-boy-survivors/
  9. http://www.notip.org.cn/UserImages/00000847.pdf
  10. http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/majority-male-sex-workers-chiang-mai-burmese-study.html
  11. http://tribune.com.pk/story/545794/camel-jockeys-popular-arab-sport-costs-pakistani-children-their-sanity/
  12. Michael T. Tien,Human Trafficking: the Missing Male Victim, 18Pub. Interest L. Rptr.207(2013). Available at: http://lawecommons.luc.edu/pilr/vol18/iss3/6

Why Wynne government mum on statements over sexual violence against women?

http://en.cijnews.com/?p=17973

 

In November, Premier Kathleen Wynne has unveiled Ontario’s latest public education campaign on sexual violence and harassment with an ad depicting behaviours that some Ontarians may have trouble recognizing as sexual violence or harassment including inappropriate comments regarding one’s sexuality, lewd looks and suggestions from the coworkers, and the expectation of sexual favours following a date.

The video, created by Leo Burnett and debuted at the 2015 Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment, is a continuation of the province’s $41-million multimedia awareness campaign, a pillar of the Wynne government’s goal of ending sexual harassment and violence in Ontario. “It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment,” released in March 2015, aims at tackling the roots of sexual violence and harassment, and improving supports and services for survivors.

Since its’ launch, Ontario’s #WhoWillYouHelp TV spot has reached over 85 million people worldwide, and the number of Ontarians who believe they have an obligation to intervene if they witness sexual violence has increased since March 2015 from 37 to 58 percent.

Statistic shows that one in three women will experience some form of sexual assault in her lifetime; 28 per cent of Canadians say they have been on the receiving end of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or sexually charged talk while on the job.

However, Ipsos Reid poll, commissioned by the province, has shown that, many Ontarians are still unsure which behaviours constitute sexual violence and harassment. This new ad aims to help Ontarians identify sexual violence and harassment when it happens, so that they are able to step in and help.

Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, said: “It is our responsibility as a government to ensure all Ontarians feel safe in their communities, workplaces, homes and schools, free from sexual violence and harassment. While this research shows progress, there is much work still to be done. We are calling on all Ontarians, through their actions and attitudes, to make change happen. We all have a role to play in stopping sexual violence and harassment.”

According to Ontario government website, sexual violence is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or force. It includes unwanted sexual advances or comments; selling or attempting to sell someone for sex; acts of violence directed against an individual because of their sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim.

Sexual violence against women is rooted in misogyny, a notion that women are inferior to men, which can be manifested in sexual discrimination, violence and sexual objectification of women and girls. It is historically true that for centuries, women had fewer rights in regards to property ownership and choice of marriage, solely dependent on their fathers, brothers and/or husband to provide for them. However, society has evolved and today, at least here in Canada, we pride ourselves to be a stronghold of equality in regards to ones’ gender and sexuality.

It seems, though, that some of the archaic notions in regards to women are still existent and are reinforced here in Canada by the Muslim community leaders, and Canadians actually accept these as cultural things and live it alone.

CIJnews previously reported that Shazim Khan, the Imam of al-Salaam mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, in a a speech at Abu Huraira Center in Toronto few years ago, explained that the wife must always respond to her husband’s call to bed unless she has a genuine reason.

This notion was taken further by Bilal Philips, the Canadian Muslim scholar, in his book “Contemporary Issues” from 2002, where he explained that the scenario of a wife being raped by her husband is generally irrelevant to Muslims. He stated that, even though in Western society if the husband desires sexual relations and she does not and he insists it is considered rape, “[in] Islam, a woman is obliged to give herself to her husband and he may not be charged with rape.”

Sheikh Musleh Khan, Director of Education at the Khalid bin Walid Mosque in Toronto, at his webinar ‘The Heart of The Home: The Rights And Responsibilities of A Wife’ in March 2013 also said that the wife should make herself available to her husband, after marriage has taken place and he has given the mahr [dowry], she should not withhold this right from her husband without a valid excuse (sickness, obligatory fasting etc.), and if she refuses without a valid reason then she has committed a major sin: “Even some scholars went as far as saying that even if it doesn’t feel right, or you’re just not in that emotional relationship you know it’s not the right manner, you’re not feeling that at that particular time, still try to make it happen, still try to force yourself even if you have to do that.”

York Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) held in campus (February 23-27, 2015) the annual event of Islam Awareness Week bearing the title “What Does The Qur’an Say?”

York MSA Female students wearing hijab and niqab, who manned the Info Booth at the Central Square of York University, handed out to students the book “Women in Islam & Refutation of some Common Misconceptions,” authored by the Saudi scholar Dr. Abdul-Rahman al-Sheha and printed by the Saudi Dawah organization Muslim World League (رابطة العالم الاسلامي). For Blogwrath’s report on the event clickhere.

The following are excerpts of the book: “Although beating of women is generally forbidden, Islam permits the beating of wives in a restricted and limited sense only as a final solution and acceptable valid reason when all else fails… Allah deals with the case of a wife who behaves immorally towards her husband’s rights. The treatment of this extremely sensitive issue comes in gradual stages… Third and final stage: Beating without hurting, breaking a bone, leaving black or blue marks on the body, and avoiding hitting the face or especially sensitive places at any cost. The purpose of beating her is only to discipline… This treatment is proved to be very effective with two types of women… The first type: Strong willed, demanding and commandeering women… The second type: Submissive or subdued women. These women may even enjoy being beaten at times as a sign of love and concern… Beating, according to the Islamic teachings, is listed as the last and final stage of disciplining methods.”

The other notion that some Canadian Muslim leaders are continuously reinforcing and justifying is that the man has a right of gheerah (protected jealousy) over his wife – the idea that a wife should be obedient to her husband at all times, not admitting anyone husband dislikes, ask her husband’s permission before leaving the house, before talking to other men or hold a job of her own.

This can be interpreted by feminists as another example of deeply seated misogyny, when a woman is seen as one of men’s possessions, instead of another human being, meant to serve her husband’s every wish and maintain his honour.

More on this issue at Wife “beating in Islam is a type of education”: Canadian Islamic perspective.

One of the points of Ms. Wynne’s campaign states: “Just because someone buys you dinner or a drink, doesn’t mean you owe them sex in return.” It could be also said then, that if someone provides for you because you are bound by the union of marriage it shouldn’t mean that you have to repay your husband by accepting rape and losing any control over your life.

CIJnews reached out to Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Government of Ontario, asking why Ontario Campaign to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment does not address the issue of Canadian spiritual community leaders condoning what is perceived as sexual violence and prejudice against women, while using religion to justify it?

CIJnews also inquired whether this campaign was faith restricted and Canadians should just accept that some women will continue to face sexual violence and harassment because of the culture they were born in.

No comment was received at the time of the publication.