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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/30/16

Prostitution: Don't Sell Women's Bodies

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Message Kamala Sarup
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Globally, women are involved prostitution for survival. Thus, many women see the streets and prostitution as a way to jobs from poverty and a way to earn more money. Poverty is leading many women into street prostitution and more likely to be abused. In poor health, low levels of education, and unemployment, they suffered the most. Prostitution is illegal and HIV is wide spread and has exacerbated the problem.

Now we have some questions why only the women who sell sex face legal penalties? Why the law continues to hold prostitutes, not their customers?However, we have failed to identify and meet the distinct needs of a large and particularly at-risk women. Women choose to sell sex because of limited opportunities and it is difficult to get out. Alternative income-generation strategies are needed should include greater training, credit and enterprise opportunities.

According to Asmita women's magazine, the issue of trafficking in women was addressed about a century ago. Although The International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade, signed in Paris May 18, 1904, was the foremost international document to deal with the issue of trafficking in women. After then, one by one, some other remarkable efforts were also adopted in international scenario. Unfortunately, we are unable to deal each and every regional and international initiation because of lack of large space, and time.

Report further said, "For the first time, SAARC addressed the issue of trafficking only in its Ninth Summit held in Maldives, in 12-14 May 1997. The heads of state or government agreed to mention in its declaration, "Expressing grave concern at the trafficking of women and children within and between countries, the Heads of State or Government pledged to coordinate their efforts and take effective measures to address this problem. They decided that existing legislation in Member States should be strengthened and strictly enforced. This should include simplification of repatriation procedures for victims of trafficking."

They also decided that the feasibility of establishing a Regional Convention on combating the Crime of Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution be examined by the relevant Technical Committee. The movement to suppress trafficking in Women began in England in 1969 as a campaign against state regulation of prostitution. Proponents of the campaign formed the Internationalist Abolitionist Federation in 1875 and, as a result of their actions, the Contagious Diseases Act which state regulated prostitution was repealed.

The movement expanded to many other countries, culminating in an international conference which met in Paris in 1902. Out of this conference came the International Agreement for the Suppression of white slave traffic, which was signed by twelve countries in 1904. (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, Portugal, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland.) (The Penn State Report- 1904, page-13.) (Asmita maazine's report.)

In 1933 a new international agreement is signed in Geneva, removing the condition of constraint, but only with regard to the international "traffick in women". The Convention of 1910 was signed by 13 countries. This recognized a women under the age of twenty as minors and trafficking of such minors, even with their consent, was also punishable. The early eighties see "trafficking in women" resurface on the agenda of the United Nations, in 1991, the prevention of "traffic in persons and the exploitation of the prostitution of other's" is the main topic at the sixteenth session of the Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. Meanwhile, in 1994, the UN General Assembly adopts a resolution on "traffic in women and girls."

Asmita magazine says, "A fundamental problem in responding to the issue of trafficking in women is the lack of a precise and coherent definition. The debate is above all characterized by an immense amount of confusion about what is exactly meant by the term "trafficking in women". Old and new definitions show inconsistencies, contradictions, conflicting interests, failure to pinpoint violence and abuse, and a tendency to deny female self-determination. These trends are reflected in the various definitions and concepts used in international and national legislation. But we have a question--how long will we allow the current situation to continue?"

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Journalist, poet and editor Kamala Sarup specializes in reporting news and writing stories covering journalism, Peace, Public health, Democracy, Women/Children, development, justice and advocacy from her location inside the United States. Human (more...)

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