Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A side of the sex industry that is seldom reported

From RTÉ:

Report finds rise in trafficking of women

A voluntary organisation working with prostitutes says it has seen an increase in the number of foreign women who have been trafficked into Ireland to work as prostitutes.

Ruhama also asserts that the women are more vulnerable to violence and exploitation because they are hidden away in brothels. Some, it says, are being held in captivity.

It claims that some lapdancing clubs force women into prostitution and it wants the Government to clamp down on the clubs by denying them drink licences.

Ruhama also wants the gardaí to set up a dedicated nationwide vice-squad and the Government to draft legislation to make it easier to prosecute those trafficking women.

The organisation says in the last two years it has dealt with 91 foreign women who were trafficked into Ireland, some held against their will. The organisation says the figure represents the tip of the iceberg.

Ruhama also drew attention to the recent opening of Ireland’s latest lap-dancing club in Kilkenny, which they have said is indicative of the nationwide growth of the sex industry and its re-branding as a form of entertainment.

This is perhaps the worst aspect of the sex industry: slavery re-packaged as entertainment.

It might be objected by proponents of the sex industry that many who work therein do so of their own volition, with all that blather about “consenting adults” and suchlike.

But how “consenting”, truly, are many of these adults? How many are forced into selling themselves into slavery by the relentless pressure of grinding poverty, or drug addiction? How many women are lured into western Europe from poorer countries with enticing promises of jobs and salaries, only to find themselves the victims of a pimp? Never mind those who have not yet reached the age of legal consent, the exploitation of whom is carefully hidden undeground so as not to sully that face of the sex industry that the mavens of the New IrelandTM find so acceptable.

There will always be those who ply their trade in the industry because they derive erotic gratification thereby, but for the overwhelming majority, prostitution cannot be much more than distasteful if lucrative drudgery. For prostitution commands such a revenue that it can make its practitioners exceedingly wealthy. But how much of this wealth actually remains in the hands of those who do the hard work of earning it in the first instance?

In this, as in every other instance of slavery, the slave does the work; the slave-owner reaps the rewards.

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