Somaly Mam, Nicholas Kristof and the Sex Trafficking Media empire

Somaly Mam and  Nicholas Kristof  should have lawsuits filed against them for committing fraud and stealing money from the public by providing the public with false sex trafficking horror stories that were lies to send money to the Somaly Mam and Afesip charities.  These charities then committed human trafficking themselves by forcing women and girls to stay in their (rescue) centers against their will and to lie about being forced into sex trafficking to the western media and donors. 

When it comes to Sex trafficking the only people the media speak with are the anti-sex trafficking organizations or zealous politicians and no one else.  This is a biased one-sided conversation.  The media will never question, check or research any of the claims that these groups make. Always taking their word for it and never once researching or questioning their statistics or anything they say.  This results in misleading and false reporting by the media, news organizations and the government.

Prostitutes are NOT forced! They do sex work of their own free will. They keep the money they make.  When a Anti-sex trafficking group states that millions of underage children are raped, forced, and kidnapped against their will into prostitution by evil men -Why doesn’t the reporter ask: What makes you think that? Where is the proof, and evidence?, can you prove it? Or do you just think that? Can you prove they are forced against their will, raped, kidnapped and beaten? Or do you just think and assume that? Can you prove that they were underage?  Or do you just think they “look” young because they are short or petite and skinny?   What makes you think that were raped? Can you prove it? Or do you just “think” that. Where did you get those stats on the number of forced victims? What are your sources? Where did your source come up with that information? What was the methodology? How do you know the numbers are accurate? Are all prostitutes little baby girls? Or are some of them transgender, boys or men?  Are some of them willing Adults? The media, NGO’s and government officials will never admit this or ask the sex workers rights groups or prostitutes themselves about the sex industry.   It appears that the media are biased towards lies about exaggerated sex trafficking. Why is that?  Maybe we should ask that question to the media?

Somaly Mam Resigns after she was caught lying about Sex Trafficking.

Here is Somaly Mam lying to Michelle Obama about non-existent fake made-up sex trafficking victims:

Most Children in Orphanages in Cambodia and Asia have loving, living parents who are deceived into giving their children to the orphanages. They are NOT sex trafficking victims! Human Trafficking charities are committing fraud inventing and abusing fake victims! Keeping them against their will in Orphanages.

Change.org  petition to fire Nicholas Kristof from the New York Times

Posted in Asia, Brothels, Cambodia, charities, essays, Human Trafficking, Long Pros, Media, Nicholas Kristof, Philippines, proposition35, Prostitution, sex, Sex Slavery, Sex Tourism, Sex Trafficking, Sex Workers, Somaly Mam, statistics, Thailand, THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING, SEX SLAVERY, PROSTITUTION, SEX WORKERS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, FORCED PAID SEX, SEX SLAVES, HOOKERS, PIMPS, PIMPING, BROTHELS, JOHNS, SEX FOR MONEY, CALL GIRLS, SEX WORK,, The truth in the Media, thesis, united states of America, USA, victims | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US foreign policy with Sex Trafficking is based on lies, exaggeration

This week the USA’s Trafficking in persons (TIP) report came out with Secretary of State John Kerry releasing it.

There is only one problem with it. – It is based on lies, exaggeration, myths and emotional made up stories.

“Is anyone talking about the huge influence Somaly Mam, Nicholas Kristof and Chong Kim may have had on US foreign policy with Sex Trafficking? Every year the TIP report demands countries find victims and traffickers but what if the constant demand to find more and more is based on this media distortion and they really aren’t there to find. American citizens and Congress are all deceived over what may be a faux-issue. Articles I read say this woman is not the only one who has exaggerated, but is the one seen with President Obama and Hillary Clinton when she was Sec State. With John Kerry, Michelle Obama, and with The Queen of Spain. For me this is the real issue. The TIP program is no more than Modern Day Imperialism. What has happened to that old concept of national sovereignty?”

-John Kane – Bangkok Post

http://understandingtrafficking.com/2014-tip-report-letter-editor/

Somaly Mam and Chong Kim were caught lying about Sex Trafficking

Somaly Mam, the celebrated Cambodian anti-sex-trafficking activist who, according to a recentNewsweek expose, fabricated her entire life story and those of the alleged victims she advocated for. The revelations have disillusioned many of Mam’s loyal supporters and left the press looking gullible. Just as importantly, they’ve highlighted the public’s seemingly insatiable desire for heroic narratives—and the willingness of many in the media to trick the public and provide them even if they are fake.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s TIP report:
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/06/227850.htm

The United States government is forcing  people to lie about being sex trafficking victims  because they can’t find enough real victims!

(John Kerry, President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the USA government are forcing people to lie about being sex trafficking victims – if they don’t lie they are put in jail or deported using the TIPS report) 

“Today we will hear about Thailand’s Tier in America’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. Never forget the TIP report is also a programme. America makes demands under TIP and countries, including Thailand, ignore their own sovereignty, and comply. TIP demands that countries change laws, speed up justice (a conflicting thought), and set aside special treatment for one class of victims that the US can never find enough of. Every TIP report whines about the need to find more victims and prosecute more traffickers and then throw away the key. But the Somaly Mam expose in the Bangkok Post on June 1 and around the world has shown us that this issue has suffered extreme exaggeration by those who need funding and by media who benefit from sensational stories. Read a few blogs about trafficking and you too will quickly learn that “facts” about trafficking often defy common sense.

Every resident of Thailand, Thai and foreigner , should read TIP reports and see what they are really about. On page 4 of the 2013 TIP report the United States offers Taiwan as an example for other countries to follow. TIP tells us Taiwan has detention centres at its borders to hold new arrivals until they can be investigated as possible trafficking victims. Detainees are offered long-term immigration status (a kind of bribe) and release from detention in exchange for agreeing to claim to be victims and turn on people who helped them get a job in Taiwan. I am shocked, even scared, that my country (USA) encourages this.”

-John Kane
Bangkok Post

http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/416523/b-postbag-b-tip-reports-not-gospel

For more details about this follow this Link: from this same site

Here is another good link about this
 from understanding sex trafficking website

Petition to get Nicholas Kristof fired from the New York Times for lying about sex trafficking:

State Department Trafficking in Persons Report: A need for more evidence and U.S. accountability, by Ann Jordan

POSTED ON JULY 25, 2011 . WRITTEN BY .

On June 28, the State Department released its annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report). While the TIP Report contains many important observations, reflections and recommendations, it falls short on at least the following three counts.

1. It fails to meet the standard set by President Obama for evidence-based policy making.

2. It offers insufficient discussion of the critical issue of ‘root causes’ or ‘factors making people vulnerable to trafficking’.

3. It fails to acknowledge U.S. accountability for the trafficking of workers by U.S. government contractors and, instead, lays much of the blame at the doorsteps of governments in developing countries.

These three shortcomings raise serious concerns about the approach being promoted by the State Department in this TIP Report and in its diplomatic efforts and funding decisions.

Failure to engage in evidence-based policy making.

The myth of the so-called Swedish model: The TIP Report states that “[s]ome [people] work to combat root causes – to end the demand for commercial sexual exploitation” (p. 15) without any discussion or evidence.  The TIP Report does not name the “root cause” being addressed but it seems to assume that ‘demand’ for paid sex is THE cause for women selling sex (instead of, say, poverty or lack of other options?). Nonetheless, it promotes the myth – or at least the unproven strategy – that arresting clients will stop prostitution and also stop trafficking into prostitution.  Despite numerous claims from supporters of the so-called Swedish model (in which clients are prosecuted and sex workers are not), there is no objective, methodologically sound, replicable research demonstrating that the Swedish law is responsible for any changes in the incidence of prostitution or trafficking in Sweden.  In fact, the Swedish government reports admit quite frankly that important data is missing and that the government cannot draw clear conclusions or cause-effect relationships:

  • The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare concluded that “[w]e cannot give any unambiguous answer to [the question of whether prostitution has increased or decreased].  At most, we can discern that street prostitution is slowly returning, after swiftly disappearing in the wake of the law” (p. 33). The Board concluded that “[n]o causal connections can be proven between legislation and changes in prostitution” (p. 46).
  • 2010 report also admits that “it is difficult to determine whether changes in prostitution are a result of the ban or of other measures or circumstances.  It is also difficult to know with any certainty how prostitution and trafficking might have changed if there had been no ban [on the purchase of sex]” (Swedish Institute 2010, p. 35).

It is particularly problematic that the State Department has adopted a legal strategy without first engaging in ANY serious discussion or analysis of the consequences of the approach.  The TIP Report does not present any evidence linking the criminalization of clients directly to a change in the behavior of adults who sell sex.  It does not even identify the root causes of prostitution or attempt to link those root causes to the ‘end demand’ approach. The State Department should ask and objectively answer the question of how arresting clients would impact adults who are selling sex in countries with different economic and social structures and economies.  Would it cause all sex workers to stop selling sex (which is the goal of the Swedish model) and lead sex workers to find another way to make a living? Perhaps they would go to law school or open a business or sell food on the street?  Or, perhaps they would be forced to live on the street without any income.

What alternatives are there for the millions of adults selling sex around the world?  If they have very few or no alternatives, will they continue in sex work but be forced to work more clandestinely to protect their clients from arrest?  Would the law simply turn out to be another opportunity for the police to shake down street-based sex workers and their clients?  The TIP Report fails to ask or answer any of these questions.

It also fails to consider whether governments offer sufficient support to help people transition to other livelihoods. Would India have enough resources to help millions of women survive without selling sex? Even the U.S. has never made a serious commitment to provide the millions of dollars needed to support programs to assist sex workers in the U.S. who want to transition to other work and to prevent runaway youth from turning to prostitution to survive.

Since the State Department has not engaged in any serious critical enquiry along the above lines (at least not publicly) and, more importantly, has not produced any evidence in support of its belief in the ‘end demand’ approach, it should cease from promoting this ‘one size fits all’ myth.

Unproven ‘prevention’ practice. The TIP Report also argues that “[p]ublic awareness of human trafficking – including awareness of warning signs and required responses – is critical and must be ongoing.” (p. 18).  However, I am not aware of any research demonstrating that public awareness campaigns (including those funded by the U.S.) are effective in preventing people from deciding to migrate for work.  While campaigns might have a temporary role in raising awareness and causing people to think twice about migrating, this only lasts for the duration of the (typically brief) campaign. Since people are usually trafficked by someone they know, they ignore ‘warning signs’ and if they need to migrate for work, they may be willing to take risks despite warning signs. This is not to say that some campaigns might not actually work briefly.  There simply is no evidence on which ones work and which ones waste money. Why, then, is the State Department still promoting these campaigns?  The U.S. should not be promoting or funding campaigns until there is real evidence of the impact (or lack of impact).

It should be apparent by now that I strongly support more critical thinking and independent evidence so that we can develop a body of research around the question of what works and what does not work. I had hoped that the President Obama’s call for more evidence on the actual impact of U.S.-funded programs would work its way into the State Department’s Trafficking Office but, to date, I have been disappointed.  True, the Trafficking Office is calling for more impact evaluations of its grant-funded programs, which is excellent news.  But this is not enough.  It needs to ensure that its own statements, recommendations, and observations in speeches, reports and other materials are based on objective, replicable evidence and, if none is available, to say so.

Ideas are the seed from which good projects develop but evidence is better.  As Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed:  “everyone is entitle to his (or her) own opinion but not his (or her) own set of facts.”  Right now, the State Department is disseminating too many opinions; it needs more facts.

Lack of sufficient focus on root causes or the factors making people vulnerable to trafficking

The TIP Report makes important contributions to the discussion of the plight of workers in the global supply chain as well as workers hired by government subcontractors.  However, the TIP Report continues to omit any meaningful discussion about the conditions in countries of origin and destination that render people vulnerable to forced labor.  For example, the TIP Report does not mention the impact of restrictive labor migration policies on migrant workers, the need for research to identify and develop targeted assistance to vulnerable populations or how the failure of many governments to protect basic rights fuels outmigration.

The TIP Report does make one interesting proposal about how to solve the problem of excessive debt owed by migrant workers to labor brokers for overseas jobs. It argues that governments in countries of origin “could provide small-scale loans to cover travel costs and protect workers’ rights while they are abroad” (p. 24).  However, since the majority of migrants are unable to obtain visas to work abroad legally, is the State Department seriously asking governments to assist citizens with financial support to migrate to the U.S., even without proper documents?  This would be a useful alternative to borrowing from a potential trafficker but it still ignores the basic question of how to prevent the vulnerability of undocumented migrant workers en route and in their U.S. destination.

Silence on issue of U.S. accountability for the plight of contract workers

The TIP Report faults governments in the developing world that “encourage labor migration as a means of fueling foreign exchange remittances, yet they do not adequately control private recruiters who exploit migrants and make them vulnerable to trafficking” (p. 18).  However, the U.S. government should not be so quick to lay the blame at the door of governments in the developing world as long as the U.S. does not have a good record itself on the recruitment of its own foreign laborers.  The New Yorker Magazine recently published a damning report of an investigation into the recruitment of foreign workers into Iraq and Afghanistan by U.S. subcontractors.  Reporter Sarah Stillman’s article “The Invisible Army: For foreign workers on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, war can be hell” reveals a total lack of accountability on the part of the U.S. government for the conditions under which contractors recruit, hire and treat foreign workers working for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan:

  • Workers are told they are going to work in one country and not told until arrival that they are going to Iraq or Afghanistan (Note:  this is not a new technique as Cam Simpson reported in a series of articlesin the Chicago Times in 2005 on the plight of Nepalese workers recruited by contractors to work in Jordan but ending up in Iraq).
  • Promised salaries are not paid – “they were to earn as little as two hundred and seventy-five dollars a month…a fraction of what they’d been promised.”  And, instead of the $1538 a month promised, workers earned $350.
  • Accommodation is “soiled mattresses with twenty-five other migrants.”
  • Contracts require 12 hour working days, 7 days a week.
  • A subcontractor accused of human trafficking violations continues to receive U.S. contracts.

The report continues with extensive documentation of abuses, lack of oversight and ongoing contracts to dodgy contractors. This outsourcing of labor continues and yet the government takes little responsibility for what happens with the workers who support U.S. service members in these two militarized zones:  “A spokesman for U.S. Central Command [in Iraq] acknowledged that it “does not play a formal role in the monitoring of living conditions on U.S. bases,” although each base has a military chain of command responsible for “working with the entities involved to insure minimum standards are met.”

Obviously, the State Department’s accusations against some other governments certainly has merit, but it is not made with ‘clean hands.’  The U.S. government (and other governments of countries of destination) is also liable for the same failures because it does not ensure the workers who are hired to work for the U.S. government by subcontractors are treated fairly and equitably according to U.S. labor standards.

Just as manufacturers who sell products produced through a chain of contractors are now being called upon to be responsible for the situation of workers along the chain, the U.S. government must also ensure that the workers who are hired by subcontractors to work for Americans are provided with the same rights and protections as other workers in the U.S. The trafficking of migrant workers by government contractors will not end until governments in countries of origin and destination coordinate their efforts and, most importantly, until governments, such as the U.S., that use contractors to hire workers for government-related jobs, monitor and control the activities of the contractors, establish safe mechanisms to report on worker abuse and punish violations through criminal prosecutions and contract terminations.

Thus, the U.S. government should follow its own recommendations to other governments:

  • “require that government contractors and subcontractors ensure that employees are not hired or recruited through fraudulent means or the use of excessive fees. Such policies would increase transparency and make it more difficult for unscrupulous labor brokers to use debt bondage as a means of providing cheap labor for government contracts. This is particularly important for third-country nationals, who are often imported for large construction projects and who are more susceptible to exploitation due to distance and isolation, language barriers, and dependence on the employer for visas or work permits, among other factors” (p. 19).

Hopefully, next year’s TIP Report will present more evidence-based information and models for prevention as well as information about the concrete steps the U.S. has taken to ensure that the government is protecting the rights of migrant workers hired by U.S. subcontractors and punishing the criminals responsible for the abuse, exploitation and forced labor of those workers.

Ann Jordan is the Director of the Program on Human Trafficking and Forced Labor at the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law.

Here are some research links:

http://rightswork.org/2011/07/2011-state-department-trafficking-in-persons-report-a-need-for-more-evidence-and-u-s-accountability/

http://rightswork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Issue-Paper-3.pdf

http://rightswork.org/

http://www.soros.org/initiatives/health/focus/sharp/news/trafficking-issue-papers-20110831

Posted in Asia, attorney general, Brothels, Cailfornia, charities, Denver, essays, Human Trafficking, Law, Long Pros, Myths, New York, Nicholas Kristof, Philippines, Phnom Penh, proposition35, Prostitution, Rape, research, research paper, sex, Sex Slavery, Sex Tourism, Sex Trafficking, Sex Workers, Somaly Mam, statistics, THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING, SEX SLAVERY, PROSTITUTION, SEX WORKERS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, FORCED PAID SEX, SEX SLAVES, HOOKERS, PIMPS, PIMPING, BROTHELS, JOHNS, SEX FOR MONEY, CALL GIRLS, SEX WORK,, The truth in the Media, thesis, united states of America, USA, victims | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chong Kim of the film Eden is a Sex Trafficking Fraud

Chong Kim, the Woman Whose Allegedly True Story Served as the Basis for Megan Griffith’s Film Eden, Denounced as a Fraud

posted by  on WED, JUN 4, 2014

Eden is the sex-trafficking drama allegedly based on the real-life story of Chong Kim. The film earned Seattle filmmaker Megan Griffiths the 2012 Genius Award in Film. (Here’s further gushing from me about Griffith’s gripping film.)

Today brought this Facebook update from the nonprofit organization Breaking Out (bolds mine):

To all our loyal followers,

We regretfully want to inform everyone the results of a year long investigation by our highly experienced investigative unit, thatChong Kim whom has claimed to be a survivor of human trafficking is not what she claims to be.

After thorough investigation into her story, people, records and places, as well as, many interviews with producers,publishers and people from organizations, we found no truth to her story. In fact, we found a lot of fraud, lies, and most horrifically capitalizing and making money on an issue where so many people are suffering from.

We have found several other organizations, other than ours, who have been defrauded by Chong collecting money in their name, using their 501 c3 status for her benefit while none of these organizations have seen a dime. I ask if anyone has sent money or goods to Chong Kim for another organization to please contact us as we are leading the legal pursuit of the issue.

Through our investigation we have found many other good non-profits who were afraid to speak out for fear of backlash. Well, we at Breaking Out, while expecting her loyal followers to give us backlash, we have collected the facts and evidence to prove our claims. We are ready with others supporting us to take full legal action against Chong Kim.

While like many others, we at Breaking Out continue our dire work to help the victims of Human Trafficking. We do so with limited funding and we believe the despicable acts by Chong Kim is hindering and re-victimizing legit human trafficking victims. This is why she and others like her need to be stopped.

If anyone has donated any money to Chong Kim under Breaking Out or any other organization or if you have any other questions about this matter please feel free to contact us.

Here’s what director Megan Griffiths said about the allegations just now on Twitter:

 

Screen_shot_2014-06-04_at_6.02.01_PM.png
Article link is below:
Posted in Asia, charities, dissertation, essays, Human Trafficking, Law, movie, Nicholas Kristof, Philippines, Phnom Penh, proposition35, Prostitution, Rape, research, research paper, sex, Sex Slavery, Sex Tourism, Sex Trafficking, Sex Workers, Somaly Mam, statistics, Taken, THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING, SEX SLAVERY, PROSTITUTION, SEX WORKERS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, FORCED PAID SEX, SEX SLAVES, HOOKERS, PIMPS, PIMPING, BROTHELS, JOHNS, SEX FOR MONEY, CALL GIRLS, SEX WORK,, The truth in the Media, thesis, united states of America, USA, victims | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How common is forced sex trafficking in Cambodia?

How common is forced sex trafficking?
Are all prostitutes sex trafficking victims?
What is the difference between a prostitute and a sex trafficking victim?
How bad is sex trafficking in Cambodia?

The downfall of anti-sex-slavery activist Somaly Mam has led some to question the extent of trafficking.

 Phnom Penh, Cambodia - In early 2011, Srey Mao, 28, and two friends were “rescued” and taken to a shelter run by Afesip, a Cambodian organisation that prides itself on helping sex-trafficking victims recover from trauma while learning new trades such as sewing and hairdressing.

There was just one problem: The women claim they hadn’t actually been trafficked.

Instead, the women said they were willing sex workers who had been rounded up off the street during a police raid and sent to Afesip, headed by the internationally renowned anti-sex-slavery crusader Somaly Mam with funding from the foundation that bears her name.

They said they were confined there for months as purported victims of sex trafficking. Srey Mao claimed that she, her friends and a number of other sex workers in the centre were instructed by a woman to tell foreign visitors they had been trafficked.

“I was confined against my will,” Srey Mao said on Saturday.

The person she said instructed ordered her and others to lie was Somaly Mam.

Falling star

For the better part of a decade, Mam has been the celebrated face of anti-human trafficking efforts in Cambodia.

With her undeniable charisma and tragic back-story as a former child sex slave, she has rubbed shoulders and traded hugs with Hollywood stars such as Susan Sarandon and Meg Ryan. CNN dubbed her a “hero” in 2007. Glamour Magazine made her a “woman of the year” honoree in 2006.

In 2010, then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton visited an Afesip shelter here and later spoke about her moving encounter with Long Pros, a former sex slave who said her eye was gouged out by a brothel-keeper. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, one of Mam’s strongest supporters, wrote about Pros and his “hero” Mam.

Mam’s star-studded image abruptly lost its sheen on May 28, when she was forced to resign from the Somaly Mam Foundation following a Newsweek cover story reporting that she had lied about her past.

Not only had Mam not been an orphaned trafficking victim – reporter Simon Marks revealed in Newsweek that she grew up with both parents and graduated from high school – but she reportedly encouraged and coached girls to lie as well.

One of these girls was Pros, who, according to Newsweek, actually lost her eye to a tumor and was sent to Afesip for vocational training. The same was reportedly true of Meas Ratha, a teenager allegedly coached by Mam to say she had been trafficked when in fact she was sent to Afesip by an impoverished farming family, desperate to give their daughter a better start in life.

Afesip representatives did not respond to requests to comment for this story.

‘Lies, damned lies, and statistics’

Although the stories of Mam, Pros and Ratha have now been widely scrutinised in the media, less examined have been Mam’s frequent embellished statements about the scale and nature of sex trafficking in Cambodia.

The term “trafficking” has become trendy among donors in the Western world for the pure horror it evokes – a horror that Pros embodied for many – but it leaves out a whole spectrum of complex choices and negotiations, and often erases women’s agency entirely.

Sebastien Marot, founder of the nongovernmental organisation Friends International, which works with street children and other vulnerable populations, has lived in Cambodia since 1994. In all his years in the country, he said he has encountered only a handful of what he considers clear-cut cases of sex slavery, despite the lavish funding and massive attention from celebrities that the cause attracts.

“There’s definitely fashions in the donor world,” he said. “The big thing now is trafficking – people say, ‘Oh my God, trafficking’ – but how do we define that?”

Mam and her foundation have interpreted the term liberally, claiming repeatedly, along with Afesip, that sex slaves in Cambodia number in the tens of thousands.

In 2011, Mam told an interviewer that there were 80,000 to 100,000 prostitutes in Cambodia, 58 percent of whom were trafficked. In a 2010 Somaly Mam Foundation video, Hollywood actress Lucy Liu solemnly intoned in a voiceover that “the low-end estimate for the number of sex slaves in Cambodia alone is over 40,000″. Mam has also claimed that it is commonplace for children as young as 3 to be sold into sex slavery in Cambodia.

The source for these numbers is unclear, and according to some, wrong.

study published in 2011 by the UN Inter-Agency Project on Trafficking based on data collected in 2008 stated that the number of sex trafficking victims in Cambodia is 1,058 at most, including 127 children, six of whom were under the age of 13. The majority of these cases involved women who had fallen into debt to their brothels, or prostitutes under the age of 18. These are both abhorrent and illegal, but they are a far cry from the extreme scenarios Mam often invoked – girls put in cages, tortured with electricity, having their eyes gouged out by pimps.

“We never encountered any such thing, and we certainly looked for it,” the study’s author, Thomas Steinfatt, said this week. “We couldn’t find any instances of that … In terms of people tortured, I think they’ve been watching too many movies.”

Steinfatt, a professor at the University of Miami, said the figure of 1,058 is still an accurate estimate of the number of sex trafficking victims in the country. Although he has been criticised by some anti-sex-slavery activists for producing such a low figure, he is the only researcher to have systematically canvassed Cambodia seeking out brothels and collecting data on the women and girls inside.

“Sex trafficking is actually one of the smaller portions of trafficking,” he said. “Much more [trafficking] goes on in labour or domestic work. It’s quite literally the ‘sexiest’ topic, and it’s something that really bothers people – which it should, but it’s not the largest.”

Helen Sworn, the founder of anti-trafficking coalition Chab Dai, noted that other researchers have disputed Steinfatt’s findings and methodology, though added that Steinfatt’s estimate “was the best available number” before laws introduced in 2008 and 2009 that caused “a significant shift underground of incidents, which was not addressed in the previous research”. However, Sworn said Mam’s resignation should be an impetus for soul-searching from NGOs on how to proceed in the future.

“Of course this will have repercussions on the sector, which is why we need to be intentional and professional in the way we implement programs,” she said. “Funding has always been a challenge for those who don’t exploit the dignity of others, so maybe this just makes for a more democratic platform where it will be equally challenging.”

Mam’s embellishments have also distracted attention from the very serious problems Cambodia still faces, including the structural reasons why 1,058 women and girls might be forced into prostitution and why sex work is often seen as the best job available.

‘Victim’ or ‘prostitute’?

“Abolitionist” NGOs such as Afesip take the position that sex work is by definition coercive, and that it is impossible to choose to be a prostitute. In a 2008 interview with the Phnom Penh Post, Mam noted that she preferred to use the term “victim” rather than “prostitute”, and that women who thought they were voluntary sex workers could actually be sex slaves.

In 2006, in response to complaints by sex workers that they did not like being sent to NGO-run shelters after police raids, Afesip advisor Aarti Kapoor told The Cambodia Daily, “We don’t believe prostitution is a legitimate form of work”. This led Afesip to support a draconian anti-human trafficking law, which was passed by Cambodia’s parliament in 2008 and, some advocates claim, ramped up police abuses against sex workers like Srey Mao.

Srey Mao said she became a prostitute because she believed it was the best option to support her aging parents and young daughter. Months in the Afesip shelter did not change her mind. She claims that after she arrived at the shelter, she was not given access to anti-retroviral drugs for five days or allowed to see her family. Instead, she was enrolled in a yearlong sewing course, entailing eight hours a day of study or garment work.

“I was not happy to be there … Very often, during our short break for lunch, Afesip staff and sometimes Mam Somaly came to us and told us to tell donors and foreigners who would come to visit shelters that we were victims of human trafficking.”

Seven months into her stay at the shelter, Srey Mao ran away and returned to life as a prostitute.

http://m.aljazeera.com/story/201468124236117557

 

Posted in Asia, Brothels, Cambodia, charities, dissertation, Human Trafficking, Law, Long Pros, Nicholas Kristof, Philippines, Phnom Penh, proposition35, Prostitution, Rape, research, research paper, sex, Sex Slavery, Sex Tourism, Sex Trafficking, Sex Workers, Somaly Mam, statistics, Taken, THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING, SEX SLAVERY, PROSTITUTION, SEX WORKERS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, FORCED PAID SEX, SEX SLAVES, HOOKERS, PIMPS, PIMPING, BROTHELS, JOHNS, SEX FOR MONEY, CALL GIRLS, SEX WORK,, The truth in the Media, thesis, victims | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rescuing sex trafficking victims is the worst form of abuse

Rescuing sex workers from themselves is the worst form of abuse

Somaly Mam’s loose relationship with the truth has ultimately hurt rather than helped Cambodian sex workers. After Cambodia was placed on a State Department watch list in 2008 (thanks to some degree to Mam’s advocacy work), brutal raids and “rescue operations” were carried out by the State. According to a Human Rights Watch report, rather than rescued, sex workers were abused, beat with sticks, fists, and even electric shock batons (at least two were reported to have been beaten to death), extorted and frequently raped at the hands of authorities during rescue operations with the police and in detention centers.

Nicholas Kristof still continues to lie about sex trafficking – and always will. 

 

A COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP TO TRUTH

by ali heller

In 2009, New York Time’s Nicholas Kristof told the story of Long Pross, a young girl forced into prostitution whose tortured, abused, and mutilated body bore witness to the deep scars left by the predatory sex trade: “Anyone who thinks it is hyperbole to describe sex trafficking as slavery should look at the maimed face of a teenage girl, Long Pross. Glance at Pross from her left, and she looks like a normal, fun-loving girl, with a pretty face and a joyous smile. Then move around, and you see where her brothel owner gouged out her right eye”. According to Kristof, the empty socket which marred the beautiful face of young Pross was only one of countless scars left by indurate brothel owners and pimps on the prepubescent bodies of tortured sex slaves.

Following the archetypical narrative of many of the victims Kristof writes about, “Pross was 13 and hadn’t even had her first period when a young woman kidnapped her and sold her to a brothel in Phnom Penh”. Kristof claims that Pross was tortured with electric current, locked deep inside the brothel, allowed to move only to pleasure Johns, denied the rights to keep her pay or wear condoms, and ultimately forced to undergo two “crude” abortions. According to Kristof, when Pross begged for rest, the brothel manager “gouged out Pross’s right eye with a piece of metal…Pross’s eye grew infected and monstrous, spraying blood and pus on customers”.

Eventually, Pross was rescued by Somaly Mam, a well know Cambodian activist whose 2009 memoir The Road of Lost Innocence brought attention to sex trafficking through her own harrowing story of exploitation in the sex trade. Due to her marketing savvy and chilling narrative, Mam attracted the attention of multinational organizations, celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, journalists like Nicholas Kristof, and was even listed among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009. By 2011, the Somaly Mam Foundation attracted $2.1 million in revenue and incurred $3.67 million in expenses ( CNN 2014 ). Mam, a woman who claimed to have been sold by her grandfather into sexual slavery at the age of 14, became the face of the fight against sex trafficking.

However, in May of 2014, a Newsweek cover story exposed Somaly Mam for allegedly fabricating her own story and the stories of the young girls she championed. According to Newsweek, Somaly Mam was never sold for sex. Nor was Long Pross. When Pross was 13, a nonmalignant tumor which covered her eye was surgically removed. There were no electrical currants. No rape. No torture. No piece of metal gouged deeply into her eye. Those were lies. Lies propagated by Somaly Mam. And to some extent, lies encouraged by the Western media who had been captivated by increasingly horrific tales of sexual predation.

Like Pross, Meas Ratha’s testimony shook the Western world. Through tears, in 1998 she told the world about how she was sold as a sex slave to a brothel and held against her will. However, in 2013 Ratha also confessed that she had never been a sex worker. Her story was carefully crafted by Somaly Mam. Ratha auditioned for the part, rehearsed the details, practiced the tears, and ultimately performed the tragic tale for the cameras. Ratha came to Mam not to escape from the violent abuses of an evil pimp, but rather from the far less lurid (yet far more prevalent) quotidian violence of poverty.

When New York Time’s editor Margaret Sullivan asked Kristof to explain how he failed to see through Somaly Mam’s dissimulation over the years (as he steadfastly wrote about her heroism in multiple columns), he responded that despite the accusations of Somaly’s fabrications, “I am certain that the larger problem of trafficking in Cambodia is real”. He continued, “You ask about verifying facts in the developing world. Ages, names and histories are sometimes elastic…”. Here Kristof does essentially what each and every one of his columns does – sees the truth of exact events, dates, and ages as immaterial, inconvenient obfuscations of the Truth. “I’ve seen children for sale in Cambodian brothels,” Kristof argues. Somaly’s story may have been a lie, Pross’s story may have been one too, but they are mere fictionalized accounts of nonfiction, Kristof seems to reason. And this metanarrative of predation and stained innocence, that’s the Truth. The truth that matters.

The problem isn’t that Kristof was unlucky enough to be duped by a source, rather, that each week Kristof looks to feed his readership superlative suffering, traveling the world in search of ever more captivating victims and the heroes who save them. Long Pross was a perfect victim, and in turn, Somaly Mam the ideal savoir. Indeed, Somaly Mam was able to create and propagate fiction so easily because those listening believed her stories even before they heard them.

Like the dynamics surrounding the fistula industry, Somaly Mam’s story highlights the way in which the more violent and horrid a girl’s story, and the younger the girl, the more effective she is in raising awareness, indignation, and most importantly, money. As NY Mag’s Kat Stoeffel puts it, “It’s easy to see why news outlets and do-gooder celebrities flocked to Mam’s cause. The American media worries about no one as much as it does young women, in particular their sexual exploitation. The younger, the more fuel for our outrage”. “Mam brought to the cause the credibility of a survivor — however dubious — plus telegenic good looks to rival her celebrity advocates. It seemed like a perfect package”.

Despite the liberties she had taken with her own life story, Somaly Mam and “her girls” have raised money and heightened attention worldwide to sex trafficking in Southeast Asia. So, how important are the details? What’s a white lie when the illusion saves lives? Well, some believe that Mam’s loose relationship with the truth has ultimately hurt rather than helped Cambodian sex workers. After Cambodia was placed on a State Department watch list in 2008 (thanks to some degree to Mam’s advocacy work), brutal raids and “rescue operations” were carried out by the State. According to a Human Rights Watch report, rather than rescued, sex workers were abused, beat with sticks, fists, and even electric shock batons (at least two were reported to have been beaten to death), extorted and frequently raped at the hands of authorities during rescue operations and in detention centers.

In development and humanitarian aid advocacy, “white lies”, fabrications, embellishments, and souped-up stories masquerade as true reflections of suffering, justified by the belief in a greater good. But ultimately, this race-to-the-bottom competition for attention may only succeed in benefiting the industry carefully built around pet causes (be it sex trafficking, female genital cutting, or fistula) rather than the victims themselves.

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Somaly Mam and Nicholas Kristof commit Fraud – steals money from donors

Fraud with Somaly Mam – stealing money from donors with fake sex trafficking stories

somaly mam2

 

Picture above is  Somaly Mam

by Mellisa Gira Grant May 29, 2014
The New York Times

WITH a sensational story of surviving child sex slavery in Cambodia, Somaly Mam became a worldwide icon, the best-selling author of a memoir and the head of a foundation raising millions in the name of saving girls and women from the sex trade, victims she recounted rescuing in dramatic brothel raids. Last year, introducing the State Department’s annual “Trafficking in Persons” report, Secretary of State John Kerry called Ms. Mam “a hero every single day.”

But all this wasn’t true. A Newsweek cover story last week found inconsistencies and flat-out fraud in Ms. Mam’s story of being abducted and forced to work in a brothel as a child — instead, former neighbors said she came to their village with her parents and graduated from high school, later sitting for a teacher’s exam — and in the stories of women she said she had rescued by the thousands. Ms. Mam even said traffickers had kidnapped her teenage daughter — but the girl’s father said she ran away with her boyfriend.

On Wednesday, Somaly Mam resigned from her own foundation.

The consequences of her fables will prove harder to correct. Ms. Mam and her foundation banked on Western feel-good demands for intervention, culminating in abusive crackdowns on the people she claimed to save.

The International Labor Organization estimates that more than three times as many people are trafficked into work like domestic, garment and agricultural labor than those trafficked for sex. I’ve interviewed human-rights advocates in Phnom Penh since 2007, and they raised concerns about Ms. Mam’s distortion of this reality. Her portrayal of all sex workers as victims in need of saving encouraged raids and rescue operations that only hurt the sex workers themselves.

In 2008, Cambodia enacted new prohibitions on commercial sex, after the country was placed on a watch list by the State Department. In brutal raids on brothels and in parks, as reported by the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers in a 2008 documentary, women were chased down, detained and assaulted. The State Department commended Cambodia for its law and removed the country from the watch list.

Human Rights Watch later conducted interviews with 94 sex workers in Cambodia for a 2010 report. “Two days after my arrival, I was caught when I tried to escape,” one woman said. “Five guards beat me up. When I used my arms to shield my face and head from their blows, they beat my arms. The guard threatened to slit our throats if we tried to escape a second time, and said our bodies would be cremated there.”

She was describing a “rescue” and detention at the Prey Speu Social Affairs center near Phnom Penh. Human Rights Watch urged the Cambodian government “to suspend provisions in the 2008 Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation that facilitate police harassment and abuses.”

These are the women whose stories are not told in an anti-trafficking fund-raising pitch. Some of the “victims” whom Ms. Mam said she saved then attempted to escape from her shelters, only to have her claim to the press that they had been “kidnapped.” She later apologized for a 2012 speech before the United Nations General Assembly in which she asserted that the Cambodian Army had killed eight girls after a raid on her shelters.

      Ms. Mam’s stories were told in interviews with journalists including Nicholas Kristof, an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times. She attracted high-profile supporters: There were benefits thrown by Susan Sarandon; Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook chief operating officer, is on the advisory board of her foundation. Ms. Mam’s target audience of well-off Westerners, eager to do good, often knows little about the sex trade. It doesn’t require much for them to imagine all women who sell sex as victims in need of rescue.

somaly mam3

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Feminists believe that adult women are less competent than male children when it comes to sex

 According to feminists and the legal system: Adult women are less competent than male children when it comes to sex.  Male children (boys) can give consent to sex, but adult women can’t. 

According to feminists and law enforcement – Adult women are not capable of giving consent to sex with men or boys under any circumstance.   

The following is by Maggie McNeill:

The common belief in criminalization and legalization regimes is that sex work is unique among all forms of work; this view is solidly rooted in an archaic and sexist view of women as particularly fragile and vulnerable, and the “Swedish model” posits that paying for sex is a form of male violence against women.  This is why only the act of payment is de jure prohibited: the woman is legally defined as being unable to give valid consent, just as an adolescent girl is in the crime of statutory rape.  The man is thus defined as morally superior to the woman; he is criminally culpable for his decisions, but she is not.  In one case, a 17-year-old boy (a legal minor in Sweden) was convicted under the law, thus establishing that in the area of sex, adult women are less competent than male children. 

One would expect that feminists would be vehemently opposed to a law that so thoroughly infantilizes women, but it was first enacted in 1999 under pressure from state feminists; its radical feminist supporters in Sweden and other countries seem wholly oblivious to its insulting and demeaning assumptions about women’s agency.  Nor is the damage caused by this remarkably bad legislation limited to dangerous precedent; despite unsupported claims by the Swedish government to the contrary, the law has been demonstrated to increase both violence and stigma against sex workers, to make it more difficult for public health workers to contact them, to subject them to increased police harassment and surveillance, to shut them out of the country’s much-vaunted social welfare system, and to dramatically decrease the number of clients willing to report suspected exploitation to the police (due to informants’ justified fear of prosecution).  Furthermore, these laws don’t even do what they were supposed to do; neither the incidence of sex work (voluntary or coerced) nor the attitude of the public toward it has changed measurably in any country (Sweden, Norway and Iceland) where they have been enacted.

Yet despite this complete failure, Swedish-style rhetoric has been heavily marketed to other countries.  In legalization regimes, the sales pitch is based in the same sort of carceral paternalism which is used to justify the drug war and supported by the same bogus “sex trafficking” claims which are being used to justify so much draconian legislation in the United States (despite the fact that Sweden found no effect on coerced prostitution, and a Norwegian study found that banning the purchase of sex had actually resulted in an increase in coercion).  In criminalization regimes, “end demand” approaches (client-focused criminalization backed by Swedish-style rhetoric) are used to win the support of radical feminists, to blunt criticisms that criminalizing sex work disproportionately impacts women, and to win federal and private grants by disguising business-as-usual prostitution stings as “anti-sex trafficking operations.”  But despite the hype, the truth is that even operations framed as “john stings” or “child sex slave rescues” end up with the arrest and conviction of huge numbers of women; for example, 97% of prostitution-related felony convictions in Chicago are of women, and 93% of women arrested in the FBI’s “Innocence Lost” initiatives areconsensual adult sex workers rather than the coerced underage ones the program pretends to target.  And it hardly seems necessary to call attention to the grotesque violations of civil libertieswhich are the inevitable result of any “war” on consensual behavior, whether it be paying for sex or using illegal substances.

In any discussion of sex work, there will always be voices calling for it to be “legalized and heavily regulated”; unfortunately, the experiences of legalization regimes demonstrates that “heavy regulation” isn’t any more desirable or effective in the sex industry than it is in most others.  For one thing, harsh legalization requirements simply discourage sex workers from compliance.  It is estimated that over 80% of sex workers in Nevada, 90% of those in Queensland, 95% of those in Greece and 97% of those in Turkey prefer to work illegally rather than submit to the restrictive conditions their systems require, and those figures are typical for “heavy” legalization regimes.  One example of an onerous restriction most workers prefer to avoid is licensing; the experience of New York gun owners last Christmas provides a graphic illustration of why people might not want to be on a list for an activity which is legal, but still stigmatized in some quarters.  In the Netherlands, ever-tightening requirements (such as closing window brothels, raising the legal work age to 21 and demanding that the 70% of Amsterdam sex workers who are not Dutch nationals be fluent in the language anyway) have made it increasingly difficult to work legally even if one wants to.  And even in looser legalization regimes, laws create perverse incentives and provide weapons the police inevitably use to harass sex workers; in the United Kingdom women who share a working flat for safety are often prosecuted for “brothel-keeping” and, in a bizarrely cruel touch, for “pimping” each other (because they each contribute a substantial portion of the other’s rent).  In India, the adult children of sex workers are sometimes charged with “living on the avails,” thus making it dangerous for them to be supported by their mothers while attending university.  And in Queensland, police actually run sting operations to arrest sex workers travelling together for safety or company, or even visiting a client together, under the excuse of “protecting” them from each other.

Such shenanigans were the primary reason New South Wales decriminalized sex work in 1995; police corruption had become so terrible (as it so often does when the police are allowed to “supervise” an industry) that the government could no longer ignore it.  A 2012 study by the Kirby Institute declared the resulting system “the healthiest sex industry ever documented” and advised the government to scrap the few remaining laws:

…reforms that decriminalized adult sex work have improved human rights; removed police corruption [and] netted savings for the criminal justice system…International authorities regard the NSW regulatory framework as best practice.  Contrary to early concerns the NSW sex industry has not increased in size or visibility…Licensing of sex work…should not be regarded as a viable legislative response.  For over a century systems that require licensing of sex workers or brothels have consistently failed – most jurisdictions that once had licensing systems have abandoned them…they always generate an unlicensed underclass…[which] is wary of and avoids surveillance systems and public health services…Thus, licensing is a threat to public health…

New Zealand decriminalized in 2003, with similar results; neither jurisdiction has had a credible report of “sex trafficking” in years.  The reason for this should be obvious: despite the claims of prohibitionists to the contrary, the strongest hold any exploitative employer has over coerced workers is the threat of legal consequences such as arrest or deportation.  Remove those consequences by easing immigration controls and decriminalizing the work, and both the motive and means for “trafficking” vanish.  Three UN agencies (UNDP, UNFPA and UNAIDS) agree, and last year released a report calling for total decriminalization of sex work as the best way to protect sex workers’ rights and health; many prominent health and human rights organizations take exactly the same position.

There is a popular belief, vigorously promulgated by anti-sex feminists and conservative Christians, that sex work is intrinsically harmful, and therefore should be banned to “protect” adult women from our own choices.  But as the Norwegian bioethicist Dr. Ole Moen pointed out in his 2012 paper “Is Prostitution Harmful?”, the same thing was once believed about homosexuality; it was said to lead to violence, drug use, disease, and mental illness.  These problems were not caused by homosexuality itself; they were the result of legal oppression and social stigma, and once those harmful factors were removed the “associated problems” vanished as well.  Dr. Moen suggests that the same thing will happen with sex work, and evidence from New South Wales strongly indicates that he is correct.

Sex worker rights activists have a slogan: “Sex work is work.” It is not a crime, nor a scam, nor a “lazy” way to get by, nor a form of oppression.  It is a personal service, akin to massage, or nursing, or counseling, and should be treated as such.  They also have another saying, one which echoes the findings of Dr. Moen and the Kirby Institute:  “Only rights can stop the wrongs.”

 Article Link:
http://www.cato-unbound.org/2013/12/02/maggie-mcneill/treating-sex-work-work

http://reason.com/archives/2014/07/14/former-sex-worker-activist-maggie-mcneil/2

 Maggie McNeill

Posted in Boulder, Cailfornia, Cambodia, Colorado, Human Trafficking, Law, men, proposition35, Rape, research, research paper, sex, Sex Slavery, Sex Tourism, Sex Trafficking, Sex Workers, Somaly Mam, statistics, Super Bowl, THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING, SEX SLAVERY, PROSTITUTION, SEX WORKERS, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, FORCED PAID SEX, SEX SLAVES, HOOKERS, PIMPS, PIMPING, BROTHELS, JOHNS, SEX FOR MONEY, CALL GIRLS, SEX WORK,, thesis, united states of America, USA, victims, world cup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment