Monday, February 14, 2011

The 3 P's of Prostitution (video)

(JBT) "The Rape Trade" (presented by Sam Kiley, directed by Claudio von Planta) reveals another truth about sex slavery: Teens are kidnapped, raped, and forced into prostitution. A police officer justifies the situation by saying that it is "the need of society, the need of men" ["needing" sex, worried about contracting AIDS].

Brothels: A Terrible Reflection
John Restakis (, Jan. 2011)
The Durbar Sex Co-op's successes must be measured against vast injustices that foster prostitution everywhere. Along Sonagachi Street, an entrenched system of exploitation continues. Braided throughout the stories of prostitutes told in this series of articles, binding those stories together in a pattern, are the three elements that underpin the sex trade in Sonagachi and most everywhere else:
  1. poverty
  2. patriarchy
  3. powerlessness

Washer wallahs sort laundry on Sonagachi Street (J. Restakis/The Tyee).

All the women I spoke to, both individually and in groups, were driven to sex work by the desperation brought on by poverty. The money they earn, especially if they are new to the trade, is siphoned off to support an intricate superstructure of pimps, thugs, madams, landlords, moneylenders, police, and the politicians who sit at the top of the heap. For all of these [and the obscene profits of modern slavery to continue], it is essential that sex work remains an underground activity that is never legitimized.

Legitimacy would mean the end of graft, the system of payoffs and bribes that feed the spectral figures that loom behind every woman working the street. This is the system that maintains the internal exploitation of the trade and the perpetual poverty at the bottom. More>>

[Editor's note: This article is third in a series adapted with permission from the chapter "Daughters of Kali" in the book Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital, New Society Publishers.]

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