In recent copies of our Newsletter I have been reflecting on the subject of Online Child Exploitation which is ‘sucking’ millions of children worldwide into a vortex of an ‘out-of-control’ porn industry. This has happened because children of all ages have largely been confined to home due to the pandemic of Covid 19. This has inflicted untold damage on young minds today and it is happening right now as you read this article. Just thirty years ago it was difficult to access porn but today it is freely available even on mobile phones. I find it first thing in the morning when I switch on my phone and at other odd times during the day. I immediately delete/dismiss it for a number of reasons – it would just overwhelm and leave me sickened to watch such acts which are a grave insult to human dignity. Each image is an abuse/s suffered by real people mainly women and children.
As Dr. Gail Dines in her book “Pornland” points out, there are 20,000 such new images posted on the Internet each week and people get paid for each of these images. That is why porn is a multi-billion $ industry. It is also the reason why more and more new/young/fresh victims of trafficking are needed to ‘keep the fires burning’ Also in the abuses suffered by children in these images, she says it is a “Real Child who is being abused in such a grotesque manner and it is possible to hear even the cries of the child as s/he is being abused”. Shocked is not the word for it but also sad to hear that young boys of 11-16 are caught up with this on the internet. We are living in an image society and have withdrawn somewhat from the printed word. The media presents pretty women movies and glorifies ‘the Johns’ (by Victor Malerek). There are more hits a day for porn than Amazon, Twitter and Netflix combined. Hard porn is free and soft porn has to be paid for. There are 33.5 billion hits on the search engine, 100 million a day. Is there any solution to get rid of this? Try to get Laws passed to regulate it out of existence? We cannot give out alcohol and cigarettes to young people but can give out porn. This leaves men with erectile dysfunction and depression as well as being prone to violence.
How Can We Unite to Vote it Out?
Recently, a friend of mine shared some notes she had made after she attended a meeting in Boston, USA, which was organized by the office of the Mayor under the auspices of “Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation” (CEASE), of which Boston is one of ten cities engaged in this battle in USA. After the opening remarks the first speaker was Anders Sunesson, Sweden, Ambassador at Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons, gave the history of the origin of the Nordic/Equality model as it took off in Sweden. In the late 70’s and early 80’s there was a great increase in men’s violence against women – does this sound a little like we have in Kenya and other African countries. The Swedish Government decided that it needed to look into gender equality because it was easy to buy access into women’s bodies and they did not want this type of society for their children.
Legislation in Sweden
Initially there was great opposition to government interference by the women who said they choose prostitution. The men said; ‘I have needs, I like porn, my wife does not agree, I am doing them (women in prostitution) a favor’ It was decided to criminalize the buyer for using someone else’s vulnerability. Over time, the ratio decreased in opposition from 50/50 to 80/20. Now it is safer in Sweden for a prostituted female as, not one woman has been murdered since 1999. Today, Sweden is almost a ‘dead end’ for prostitution, e.g. if a man at Stockholm International Airport asks in any ‘duty free’ shop where he might call up and purchase a woman for an hour or a night, he can be reported by that shop assistant at the airport. Around that time The Netherlands (Holland) legalized prostitution and the outcome in these two countries has been as different as day and night. Holland, criminalizes Human Trafficking and aims to control it by legislation. But legalizing prostitution has driven it underground and as we know migrants and refugees are a prime target group for trafficking and being prostituted.
In 2014, the European Parliament passed a resolution considering prostitution to be violence against women and therefore should be legislated as a crime of violence. In this perspective, prostitutes are victims of sexual exploitation and not sex workers. Indeed the resolution states that prostitution and forced prostitution are both a cause and consequence of gender inequality which it aggravates. It goes on to highlight the fact that prostitution and forced prostitution are forms of slavery, incompatible with human dignity and fundamental rights.