Ruth Jacobs interviews STOP’s web content manager on his heart for the enslaved

Original interview on Ruth Jacob’s blog

Ruth Jacobs interviewed STOP’s web and social media manager, Servaas Hofmeyr, on what drives him to speak out on behalf of the voiceless.

How did you become involved in the movement against human trafficking? 

While busy studying in 2008, I browsed around the web (as one does) and came across an article discussing the effects criminalisation and, alternatively, legalisation of prostitution has had in various countries. I was quite shocked to learn what conditions most of the prostituted women found themselves in – varying from being drug addicts, to suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, to being victims of regular abuse by both their pimps and clients.

Prostitution, of course, is only one channel through which trafficking occurs but as I browsed further I came across a short video clip produced by the A21 Campaign, in which the organisation’s founder, Christine Caine, explained how she first came to the knowledge of this worldwide injustice of slavery. What she was saying in that video touched something inside of me and led me to educate myself further on the issue of trafficking itself and also on various other issues creating a culture in which a demand for slaves exist…

…for the rest of this interview continue reading it on Ruth’s blog

 

Your Justifications are Killing Us

Legalisation of prostitution is not a mere structural decision, to be made as we play our political games; valuable lives are at stake – whenever the South African government gets confronted with that policy serious consideration ought to be made about the consequences of their decision.

In her words, Rebecca puts forward a plea on behalf of the prostituted:

I would consider myself as left-wing – but the Left try to make it impossible to an abolitionist and fit in.

Too much of the Left is made of male-thought, and in this thinking it not surprising that the Left has always justify the sex trade, and ignore the reality of life for the prostituted.

I am tired of everyone letting the left off the hook – I tired of waiting for the Left to get on board with abolition – I tired of men who Leftist making their porn stash and their consumption of the prostituted is somehow better than right-wing men who do exactly the same.

In this post, I will speak of the many leftist cliches that have said to me, or I have read, or had fed to me by the media.

Much of the poison-speech by the Left is the language of pimps and punters – men who are not pimps and punters parrots their words without questioning.

2010 World Cup - Prostitution

I was consumed by many Leftist punters who justify all their tortures – I had profiteers selling me who imagine they were on the Left, hell they were sexual outlaws, they were empowering women, they were model-day freedom fighters.

I write to the Left, for my heart is exploring with pain and grief – silence round the Left betraying the prostituted class is killing the prostituted every day.

We must look into the language of the Left and say why it controlled by men who want the status quo of the sex trade, we mustn’t turn away because they may be our allies in other areas.

Maybe if i go into some of the common myths that the Left spread.

The major one is that if you unionise the sex trade, then it will be fine and dandy.

I agree with unions for workers – but there we the major flaw – being embedded in the sex trade is not work, the prostituted class are not workers. They are in the conditions of slavery, of having their human rights stripped from them – they are not workers.

To frame it as work, where all that need to be done putting in basic health and safety regulations, all that need to be done is to get a shop steward who go to the sex trade profiteer and speak of working rights for the prostituted.

Think a little, and you will see this is nonsense.

When there are unions for the prostituted – they always are dominated by the profiteers, punters and those who support painting the myth that the sex trade is safe.

Unions that exist do not include the prostitute who is trapped in a brothel, do not include women in the porn that is daily torture, do not include the under-aged prostitute trapped in a room with lines of men consuming her.

No, unions are not for the ordinary and average woman or girl – for those unions have no intention to stop the routine rapes, the routine beating ups, the routine throwing away of the prostituted.

No, the purpose of these unions is to whitewash away all the normal male hate and violence that underpins all aspects of the sex trade.

These so-called unions are all about protecting punter’s “rights” – so rape is made invisible or the fault of the individual prostituted woman or girl, violence is disappeared into the language of S/M and it said she must have consented, and the ordinary murders of the prostituted are not mentioned without saying maybe she was too weak to read the body language of the murderer and run away.

Do not back any sex trade union – they do not give a damn about the prostituted, they care about pimps and punters.

It is a union run and controlled by managers, but more by managers who view the prostituted as goods and never as humans.

Your belief in unions is killing the prostituted every day.

I will speak and remember how Leftist punters spoke to me, how they justified turning me into their f*ck-toy, whilst pretending they were better than those nasty right-wing punters.

I was consumed by punters who claimed to be into human rights, punters who were vegan and said they would no living creature, those who deeply cared about politics and freedom for the oppressed.

These punters would sexually, mentally and physically torturing me, and also preach all this sh*t to me.

I would see punters who had brutalise me and other prostitutes on marches, in meetings or part of liberal religions – fighting with all the might for rights and dignity of all humans.

That when I learnt the lesson I have never lost – these men did not fight for the dignity and rights of the prostituted foe we were not and cannot be classed as humans – we were just goods for them to use to consume and throw away.

We were not given access to human rights, we were not expected to want human dignity, we were never considered worthy of the good fight for freedom.

I am crying too much – so end here.

Please question your Leftist views if they discard the prostituted class.

Original article: Your Justifications are Killing Us

Why Abolitionists should talk about Pornography

This is a post by Saskia Wishart, who has spent three years of her life fighting human trafficking in Cape Town, South Africa. She wrote this post as a contribution to the Pornography: Poison and Prey blog series by Gemma Wilson.

Saskia is the European Coordinator for the Not For Sale Campaign and lives in Amsterdam; where she is assisting in the creation of a social enterprise that provides job skill training and opportunities to survivors of sex trafficking. She has been working with individuals exploited through human trafficking since 2008 and tweets @saskiacw.

For many years I never thought much about pornography – to be honest, beyond a quick glance of a photograph ripped from a magazine by some curious boys at a school, I had never really seen pornography. Not until I began dealing with the issue of human trafficking. My exposure to the sex industry has been to combat the mess of exploitation that rips apart lives and families.

In Tel Aviv 5 years ago, my friends and I were walking along the beach in the evening, we passed an older man beside some bathrooms, with him was two young girls, maybe 14 years-old. He was photographing them in sexual poses. And we kept walking. One guy in our group of friends became angry, he wanted to go back and check on those girls, he wanted to interfere, to put a stop to something that looked very wrong. But we talked him out of it, I am ashamed to say, we walked on.

I remember when a child pornography case was busted open while I was working in Cape Town. The police told me of how the young girls exploited in this case were targeted by a business man in the community, a man who offered to assist families in financial need, a man who paid the school fees of young girls age 13 – 14 and in exchange lured them into a living hell, where he photographed and sexually exploited them. The police told me of the trauma the girls faced, girls who were so damaged from the experience, one continually tried to take her life. The 73 year-old man in this case pleaded guilty to 95 child porn charges last month, but his pleading guilty will not heal the emotional wounds that have been inflicted on his victims. The case was uncovered when neighbours began to question why this man was often being seen at the house he used as a ‘gym’ with underage girls. The choice of the neighbours to ask questions and call the police led to the arrest of this pedophile.

When I moved to Amsterdam and began working in providing nutrition to women in prostitution, I began seeing pornography weekly, it plays in the brothels and is advertised on the outside of sex shows. Last year I wrote apost exploring the angry emotions I had to face when seeing the lives of women and men destroyed by pornography. Triggered by a sign in a shop window advertising ‘rape-sex’ DVD’s, I started to research the links between pornography and human trafficking, pornography and child exploitation, as well as pornography, sexual addiction, and the abuse of women in prostitution.

As abolitionists we have a role in addressing the demand of sexual services; from protecting those who are underage to giving dignity to women who are vulnerable to exploitation.

Pornography and sexual addiction have become normalised in our culture, and many of us choose to ignore it, often by our own naivety of how serious the issue really is. Just like that day in Tel Aviv when we saw something that looked wrong, but choose to keep on walking, something is going wrong with the porn industry, and blinded by its allure and promise of satisfaction, we can choose to keep on walking, or we can stop and draw attention to some of its dangerous and exploitative aspects.

Some will say that not all pornography is linked to abuse, and this is probably true, but from where I stand the lines are too often blurred to justify what has happened around the world through the mass distribution of pornography.

One of the girls who is getting training in our project is a survivor of sex trafficking and has endured horrific abuse; one of the first things she did when she came into our building was point at the projector on the ceiling, and full of fear, she asked if the projector was a camera. For her, the reality of exploitation and slavery was intrinsically linked to being filmed while forced to perform sexual acts. Filmed for the purpose of making pornography that thousands of members of the general population consume over the internet.

Let us take a stand for freedom, even when it is uncomfortable. Let us not walk by a situation that isn’t right, but instead explore the complexities that allow the exploitation of others to go unnoticed.

 

The original post on gemmaruthwilson{dot}com