Center for World Indigenous Studies
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Sex Trafficking and Indigenous People

Published: April 14, 2011, Author: Rÿser Rudolph C.

Sex sells and it makes people money.  If you enslave people and traffick in prostitution you are committing a crime against humanity producing huge sums of money for those who promote sex trafficking. Men and some women commit this odious crime and mostly men who sit in the halls of government in many countries act as if sex trafficking and prostitution are just another kind of business that should be protected by the laws of government.  Sex trafficking is a crime and it must be stopped.  We all have a duty to commit ourselves to defeating the attitude that is acceptable to sexually enslave people.

Indigenous peoples in Thailand, the Congo, India, Canada, the United States, Australia and nearly every country in the world are caught up in this despicable trade in human flesh.  The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in the Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) is doing something about reversing the terrible violence committed against women and against children. This group sponsored an important meeting in India calling attention to the sexual violence being committed against the indigenous peoples.

In the conference declaration they joined in affirming:

We unite with our sisters in the feminist movement and the labor movement who call for real jobs, not prostitution; for economic programs that create local, sustainable employment, and not push women out of the country; for the socialization of the care economy while recognizing that domestic work is work; for greater budget for women and away from military expenditures.

We unite with the Dalits, aborigines and indigenous peoples’ movements in the region who decry the targeting of our communities for sex trafficking and prostitution.

(Statement of Asia-Pacific Meeting of Sex Trafficking and Prostitution Survivors)

The Declaration goes on to point the finger at government that criminalizes and stigmatizes those exploited in prostitution and calls on authorities to reverse this type of behavior.

The message given at the conference is that trafficking in sex must stop. Official acceptance of prostitution must stop.  For indigenous peoples it is essential that their mistreatment and exploitation become recognized and understood…and most of all — ENDED.

The Declaration makes clear where and how this scourge survives:

Prostitution thrives because of the false ideas that women are inferior, sexual objects and commodities while men are superior, the sole decision-makers and owners of properties.  Many of us have been victimized in child marriage, incestuous rape, different forms of child abuse, and domestic violence before we were victimized in prostitution.  The system thrives because economic disparity widens between the rich and the poor.  Because state policies continue to compromise our countries to sex tourists, foreign and local military, and big business, at the expense of our women’s livelihoods and bodily integrity.  These are the workings of patriarchal, militarist and neo-liberal economic policies.

Dr. Melissa Farley, President and lead researcher for Prostitution Research and Education in California, USA and CWIS Associate Scholar persuasively demonstrates that prostitution and all forms of sex trafficking constitute a form of organized violence against women generally and against indigenous women in countries around the world. Her work is essential to improving public awareness and understanding of sex trafficking and prostitution and violence in society.

Crime against the most vulnerable is despicable. Crime against women, against indigenous women, is inexcusable.  It must be punished and eradicated.

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