Overheard: "Men Are the True Victims of Prostitution"

by Michelle Brock on May 31st, 2010

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A few weeks ago my husband Jay had a conversation with the owner of a hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica.  The hotel is located in the red light district, and the owner was telling Jay that 1 in 3 of his customers uses prostituted women. The majority of these men range in age between the ages of 50 and 70.  When asked about prostitution, this is what he had to say:

  • “There are no pimps in Costa Rica.  If there are, it would be a maximum of one or two for the whole country.” Considering we already know of one pimp in Costa Rica, it is clear this guy has not done his research.
  • “The women are all doing this willingly and get rich doing it.  Prostitutes own half the real estate downtown!  None are forced into it.  They have an easy job, making money on their back.”
  • “Men are the real victims, because women are able to exploit them through seduction, persuading them to spend more and more money.”

I don’t know about you, but it disturbs me that some people think men who use prostituted women are victims.  Though this was the first person we had met face-to-face who thinks of men as victims, it is a popular mentality and held by many to be true.  If a guy ever tried to convince me that he was the victim of seduction by a prostituted woman, I would simply tell him to not wander around in the red light district.  Forgive me, but my pity does not extend to such “victims.” Though there are some women who choose to sell their bodies for sex and go out of their way to seduce men for money, the overwhelming majority of prostituted women are victims.  Victims due to socioeconomic factors, manipulative relationships, deceit, fear, or in extreme cases kidnapping and forced prostitution.

What it comes down to is this: men have the power to decide whether to pay for sex with a prostituted woman or not.  Prostituted women often do not have the power to say no to having sex with a paying customer.

So who is really the victim here?

Trafficked women have been abused enough. If their abusers begin to see themselves as victims, we will have a serious problem on our hands. Your thoughts?



Time to Get Your Democracy On – Email a Senator Right Now!

by Michelle Brock on May 27th, 2010

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If you are a Canadian citizen and want to be part of the fight against sex trafficking in our nation, listen up! Currently Canada has no minimum sentence for the trafficking of human beings.  Bill C-268, which would introduce a minimum sentence of 5 years for traffickers of children, passed second reading in the Senate on April 21, 2010.  The Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology, will be reviewing the Bill today from 10:30am-12:30pm and on June 2 from 4:25pm-6:15pm.

There are a few Senators who intend on amending Bill C-268 with unnecessary and detrimental changes. This would delay the Bill, requiring it to be sent back to the House of Commons.

It is crucial that Bill C-268 makes it through without amendment.

Once the Senate Committee has reviewed Bill C-268, it will return to the Senate for Third Reading and Royal Assent. This Bill can and must become law before Parliament rises at the end of June for summer. There is no need for it to sit at Third Reading over the summer break.

What You Can Do:

Write to the members of the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology, asking them to review and pass Bill C-268 without amendment.

Write to the Senate leaders of each party asking them to make the passage of Bill C-268 a priority at Third Reading in the Senate.

Here are some tips MP Joy Smith, who is spearheading this movement, gives when writing to the Senate:

  • Keep letters/emails short and to the point.
  • Be polite and courteous.
  • Try to write in your own words. Show the Senator that you are a real person.
  • Use bullet points to highlight your arguments.
  • Include supporting facts to back up your case.
  • Do ask for a reply.

Some things to keep in mind when writing your letters/emails:

  • Law enforcement, victim services, the First Nations community, and religious and secular NGOs have urged for this legislation to be passed as soon as possible. A full list of organizations can be found on www.joysmith.ca.
  • Article 3(3) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography  states: “Each State Party shall make such offences punishable by appropriate penalties that take into account their grave nature.”Currently, Section 279.01 of Canada’s Criminal Code (trafficking in persons) fails to satisfy this obligation.
  • In Canada, with no minimum sentences, traffickers of children could receive as little as no time in jail.
  • Imani Nakpangi, the first person in Canada convicted of human trafficking involving a minor, received a three year sentence for the trafficking of a 15 year old girl but was credited 13 months for pre-trial custody. He made over $350,000 sexually exploiting her over two years before she was able to escape. Essentially he will spend less time in jail for this crime than he did exploiting her.
  • In October 2008, the Report of the Canada-U.S. Consultation in Preparation for the World Congress III Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents recommended that Canada enact a mandatory minimum penalty for child trafficking.
  • Last year, Montreal resident Michael Lennox Mark received a two-year sentence, but with double credit for the year served before his trial, the man who horrifically victimized a 17-year-old girl over two years spent only a week in jail after his conviction.
  • The Chief of the Peel Regional Police, who have investigated a large number of cases in Canada, recently wrote “Efforts by police officers across Canada to enforce this law are impressive, yet they are overshadowed by the disturbing number of occurrences that involve victims under the age of 18. Establishing minimum sentences, as proposed by Bill C-268, would raise the law’s deterrent goal, and highlight society’s abhorrence of crimes that involve child victims.

List of Senators in the Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology:

  • Chair: Art Eggleton [email protected] Liberal
  • Deputy Chair:  Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie [email protected] Conservative
  • Member:  Catherine S. Callbeck [email protected] Liberal
  • Member:  Andre Champagne [email protected] Conservative
  • Member:  Jane Cordy  [email protected] Liberal
  • Member:  Jacques Demers  [email protected] Conservative
  • Member:  Lillian Eva Dyck  [email protected] Liberal
  • Member:  Nicole Eaton  [email protected] Conservative
  • Member:   Yonah Martin  [email protected] Conservative
  • Member:  Pana Merchant [email protected] Liberal
  • Member:   Judith Seidman  [email protected] Conservative

Letters Can Be Mailed To:

[Senator's name], Senator
Senate of Canada
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A4

Please share this info on your website and add this in your HTML editor: “Information provided by Hope for the Sold, a blog about <a href=”http://www.hopeforthesold.com/”>sex trafficking</a>.”

Let’s make a difference in Canada this week!



"Stolen" by 3 Minutes to Live

by Michelle Brock on May 26th, 2010

I recently received a comment from a woman named Cathy on our blog, and she directed me to a great music video by 3 Minutes to Live that addresses sex trafficking.  I thought I would post it up here for all of our readers to check out.  Please be warned that some of the imagery is disturbing, as it depicts sexual violence.  Sex trafficking is one of those things that is hard to raise awareness about because you can’t exactly show it.  Thanks Cathy and 3MTL for being passionate about the plight of the women and girls who are suffering.