Thursday, January 19, 2012

Society: Over 40 million women trapped in prostitution

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey


Over 40 million women trapped in prostitution

The Fondation Scelles has released its latest report on sexual exploitation in which it links the oldest profession in the world directly to organised crime, generating huge profits for those who engage in human trafficking and in which it claims there are currently between 40 and 42 million people caught in prostitution, many of them children.

The Report drawn up by the Scelles Foundation (*) claims that today, prostitution is synonymous with sexual exploitation, human trafficking, dangerous organised crime,generating huge profits for those who use and abuse women and girls. It is "dominated by an unparalleled violence, physical, sexual, psychological, social ..." and is nothing less than a "violation of the integrity of human beings and the exploitation of a scandalous state of our moral treatise".

The report answers those who defend the right to prostitute themselves as being part of their freedom as human beings to do what they want with their own bodies, claiming that this position hides a darker and deeper reality, namely "the oppression of women, the trafficking of human beings", and "sexual abuse, insecurity, drugs, social exclusion". It has to do more with the destruction of a human being than with the openness and freedom of a person to do what (s)he wants.

In terms of facts and figures, the report states that there are between 40 and 42 million people working in prostitution worldwide, the vast majority of these being women; 75% of these are aged between 13 and 25 years of age, 90% of them controlled by agencies or pimps. In Europe, the report reveals that there are between one and two million prostitutes, most of these being immigrants, "the victims of human trafficking". To give an idea of the dimension of the criminal activity surrounding prostitution, there are 30 criminal trafficking networks dismantled every year in France alone.

The report suggests that the glamourisation of prostitution is one of the main dangers, luring women and girls into what they imagine to be a life of luxury, apart attracting punters. The full report will be released towards the beginning of February.

As the world gears up for the next Olympic Games, in London, the report warns that football (soccer) and the Olympic Games are the two sports venues which are "the great planetary stages of sexual exploitation".

(*)Fondation Scelles
"Rapport mondial sur l'exploitation sexuelle : La prostitution au cœur du crime organisé"
(World report on sexual exploitation : Prostitution at the heart of organised crime), Directed by Yves Charpenel.