You don't want to read this week's column. But that's okay, I don't particularly want to write it. I'd just as soon stick my fluffy blond head in the sand and pretend this issue was make-believe. But I can't. You might succeed in playing ostrich, but at least I'll have done my part by bringing it to your attention. I admire my daughter Mindy who brought it to mine, and who is courageously volunteering like crazy to help bring an end to this travesty.
I'll start with five cold, hard facts. Did you know?
- Human trafficking is the second largest business of organized crime.
- The average age for prostituted females entering the sex trade in Canada is 13.5 years. (Because this is the average, we know many are younger.)
- Prostituted girls and women have a mortality rate 40 times higher than our national average.
- There is a direct correlation between pornography and violent sex crimes against women and children. These practices degrade men as well, by making it an acceptable part of being male.
- Targeting the demand instead of the supply abolishes prostitution. In 1999, Sweden criminalized sexual clients and decriminalized sex trade workers. Street prostitution went down by 66%. By contrast, countries that have legalized prostitution have seen an increase in all crime.
I'm glad to say there is some good news. Numerous organizations are rising up to do something about it, and there are lots of ways you can make a difference. Here are just five:
- Oppose the legalization of prostitution. Write your MP and encourage Canada to take the lead by following the Nordic example. We need to criminalize the purchasing of sex and decriminalize the person being sold.
- Educate yourself and others about human trafficking.
- Support the education of women and girls, especially in developing countries.
- Protest the proliferation of "pimp 'n ho" culture. Movies, sitcoms, language, and video games that make light of pimps and prostitution are not okay! Challenge those who make such jokes or use terms like "pimp my ride."
- Give to/ get involved with an organization already fighting human trafficking. Below are three excellent groups working hard to rescue and bring healing to victims.
Servants Anonymous Foundation: www.safoundation.com
Defend Dignity: www.defenddignity.ca
International Justice Mission Canada: www.ijm.ca
In addition, the Portage Friendship Centre is hosting a training course next month on combatting the sexual exploitation of children. Contact them at 239-6333 for more information.
Thank you for considering what you can do. Next time you look into the eyes of a child you care about, remember the 27 million people, half of them children, forced into a life of sexual slavery somewhere on our planet--a planet you can make better today. I'm sure you've heard Edmund Burke's quotation, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
It begs the question: when good men do nothing, are they still good?