Prostitution
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Myths

 

Say prostitution and someone will immediately reply: "oldest practice in the world", "a necessary evil", "freedom of one's body..." These expressions are still widely used. What reality do we want to hide behind these overused clichés?

 

Oldest Practice in the World

pousse baisseSuch a statement tries to legitimize prostitution by being rooted in history and maintaining its "natural" character. However, prostitution has not always existed everywhere. In primitive or traditional societies, prostitution is unknown. In Ancient Times, prostitution had a sacred element with no relation to the prostitutional system that we know today.


Even if prostitution was "the oldest practice in the world", is that enough reason to accept it? Do you excuse rape, incest, domestic violence, murder and barbarity under the pretext that these behaviors have existed since the mists of time?

 

Prostituting Oneself is a Choice

pousse baisseSome prostitutes do claim their right to sell their body, however, that is only a minority. A minority who is widely publicized, and hides the fate of a majority condemned to silence: abducted women, forced onto sidewalks, prisoners of criminal or resigned networks...In this case, prostitution is an evident violence and recognized by all.

What about the other? What is the reality of the freedom of choice invoked by others? « Engagement in corrupt sex is never a deliberate or voluntary act - writes Lilian Mattieu, sociologist. - A product of the lack of other alternatives, it is always the result of stress, or at best, a resigned adaptation marked by distress, lack or violence ».

It is neither our resilience nor intention, to morally judge the lives of others, but we completely reject this collective complacency when it comes to prostitution, which allows our society to have a clear conscience and not question what is a shame, an impasse.

 

IT IS NOT BY CHOICE, BUT BY LACK OF ANY OTHER, THAT CERTAIN PEOPLE RESORT TO PROSTITUTION!

 

Prostitution is a « Necessary Evil »

pousse baisse

One of the most common areas anchored in our collective conscience. In the fifth century, St. Augustin wrote: « prostitutes are in the city what a cesspool is in a palace. Take away the cesspool and the palace becomes a place of filth. Take away the prostitutes and passions will disrupt the world ». In 1836, Dr. Parent-Duchatelet confirmed: « prostitutes are as inevitable in a mass of men, as sewers, roads, garbage cans... ».


Prostitution is therefore considered as an evil by society, but an evil that one accepts because prostitution serves as an outlet for every hardship, perversion, and fantasy. One must, however, ask: can one sacrifice a category of women in order to preserve the "order" of society? 

 

Prostitution prevents rape

pousse baisseWhich must mean that every single client of prostitution could be a rapist. The motivations which encourage the rapist and the client of prostitution are different. Considering the number of sexual abuse and rapes committed in our societies, it is clear that prostitution does not prevent rape...On the contrary! Prostitution « acts as an invitation to sexual violence, - explains Claudine Legardinier, journalist and militant, - reinforcing the idea that the body of another, in this case the body of the woman, is a public object that every man can legitimately own by force or money ».

 

Men have "Irrepresible Sexual Needs" which Prostitution must Satisfy

pousse baisseProstitution rests on the idea that the male desire needs an immediate satisfaction and that female bodies should be made available for this purpose. It is one of the reasons that make prostitution a "necessary evil"!


Psychologists and sexologists challenge this completely imaginary conception of the male sexuality. « There is no sexual need nor desire that is irrepresible (...), write psychologists Suzanne Képès and Philippe Brenot, but rather demanding personalities who have difficulty managing their impulses and accepting their frustration... The alleged need for periodic discharge of semen is not an obligation ».


The idea of an irrepresible male desire has no scientific foundation and results in a fundamentally unequal conception of the relation between men and women. « Since childhood, one assigns individuals by their sex, - affirms anthropologist Françoise Héritier to Le Monde - This creates two ways of being: the habit of frustration for women and the immediate satisfaction, considered normal, that drives men. »

 

The French Law

French law of 13 April 2016 against the system of prostitution

1. Protect and support victims; 2. Prosecute and punish perpetrators; 3. Prevent and sensitize citizens.


The New French Law against the system of prostitution


 

 

A summary of prostitution

 

Definition

art prost brefThere is no official definition for prostitution. The most successful is the fact of freeing the sex and body to another against money. However, it could also be against goods such as shelter, gifts, food, or in exchange of admission into a group.

It is also to merchandize in a legal or illegal way services and/or sex products and of exploiting the human body, in particular, that of women and children with a lucrative purpose. It is also a system that organizes the exploitation and appropriation of the body of women, children, and more frequently, of men.

Prostitution has multiple faces : they are victims of exploitation and networks, mothers in precarious situations, young female students, children, men….who prostitute themselves on the street, on the internet, in bars, in saunas or massage parlors, on the side of highways…The circumstances are diverse. Yet, no matter the political, economic or cultural context, they are all linked to one phenomenon : sexual exploitation. From Paris to New York, from Calcutta to Marrakech, from Kiev to Bangkok, it is the same reality and the same threats that are at play.

 

A Universe of Violence

Prostitution is a violent world, a world « where one must always be on guard, where one learns to live with fear, and therefore fear becomes a form of functioning » declare prostitutes. The danger is constant. Violence, under all of its forms, from insult to the worst physical aggression, can intervene at any moment and come from anybody: a pedestrian, another prostitute, a youth gang, a client, a procurer…

Canadian researchers have demonstrated that prostitutes run between 60 and 120 times more risk of being beaten or murdered than the general public They also show that prostitutes have a mortality rate 40 times higher than that of the national average.. In an Australian study (where prostitution is legal), 81% of respondents declared having been sexually abused during the practice of their activity. At Glasgow, 94% of interrogated street prostitutes had been subjected to a sexual aggression, 75% had been raped by a client.

The fear of reprisal, threats against family, the weight of reimbursing the debt, the permanent monitoring and control are all stress elements available by traffickers and procurers. From the client's side, the pressure or craftiness used in order to obtain non-protected relations, or not to pay(or to pay a lower sum than the one agreed on) is also a form of aggression towards the prostitute.

To these horrible treatments, tortures and psychological violence coming from procurers or clients, a more symbolic violence can be added: the stigmatization and contempt inflicted by society.


Globalization

Nowadays, prostitution is a trans-national phenomenon. They are the flows of humans going from one country to another, or from one continent to another in order to be prostituted or buy sex.


Women, children, and men pushed by distress and the hope of a better life, leave their country of origin and fall into the hands of traffickers who exploit them in the four corners of the world. For example, at Cambodia, prostitutes come from China, Vietnam, but also Eastern Europe. Australia, considered as a renowned center of Asian prostitution, offers women originating from Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, and China. Canada receives victims coming from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and Eastern Europe. In France, in 2011, the dismantling of about forty crime networks in Paris, Caen, Bordeaux and Strasbourg allowed to save Colombian, Chinese, Ecuadorian, Nigerian, and Romanian victims.


Due to the development of numerous technologies, the prostitution mechanisms dematerialize. From now on, soliciting happens through cell phones, social networks serve as meeting spaces for paid sex; the transport of victims throughout the world happens through the systematic use of digital exchanges.


Commercialization

Globalized, prostitution has become an economic market. A "blooming" market : according to estimates, the sex industry revenue will surpass 1.5 billion € ($2 billion USD) in Greece (about 0.7ù of the country's GDP), more than 2 billion € ($2.7 billion USD) in Russia and up to 18 billion € ($24.8 billion USD) in Spain...


Far from being part of a parallel economy, prostitution revenues rain down upon the whole society. Diverse environments benefit : travel agencies, bars and hotels, taxis, but also publicists, press owners, website producers, diverse media.... In 2011, in Germany, Bonn, after Frankfurt and Cologne, proposed the taxation of prostitution, the "sex tax" returns between 800,000 € and 1 million € ($1.1 million USD and $1.3 million USD) to the city of Cologne.


Prostitution, the business world, and power also maintain complex relationships, which the news in 2011 constantly reminded. Whether it was the Carlton case in Lille, where, under anarchy, involves Dominique Strauss-Kahn and one of the first French construction companies. Or, in Italy, the Silvio Berlusconi trial for child prostitution. There was also the "sex" scandal that broke out in Germany in 2011, splashing the insurance world: a very famous insurance company rewarded its best employees by offering them sex orgies.


The countries' efforts that would change this trend, encounter great difficulties. Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Argentina, in particular, fight against sexual ads published on websites or in the press. Reports have been made, bills have been considered or adopted. However, these measures face strong oppositions. In Spain, the government is reluctant to settle the dispute and in the United States, Craiglist's ads platform, closed in 2010 due to the increase in sexual offers, were moved to another website, which is now considered as the largest forum for child sex trafficking.

 

Trivialization

No matter where, it is always the youngest, whether children or young adults, that are the most affected from the developments in prostitution. Nowadays, the phenomenon affects countries in South East Asia, Europe and North America.

The United States discovered the alarming child prostitution raging in several of its states; Germany and the Netherlands fight against the significant development of child exploitation under the control of "loverboys"; in India, luxury prostitution has become a true high-tech business organized by young IT professionals who exploit adolescents and students; in Poland, an alarming number of adolescents prostitute themselves in big shopping centers in order to buy consumer goods....


Society trivializes this phenomenon by embellishing it with charming nicknames and a shimmering and glamorous image. One talks about sugarbabies, sugardaddies....The young Zahia, who made headlines because of her paid relations with one of the soccerplayers in the French national team, is now considered as the "Cinderella of modern times" and an icon! These forms of euphemism only serve as disguises for the reality of this phenomenon: the "loverboy" is a procurer that acts as a boyfriend to better exploit young girls; the sugarbaby is a very young girl kept by a mature man (or woman), who finances her tuition, housing, daily life... (in Poland, one prefers to designate this type of prostitution by the more entrepeneurial term of "sponsoring"!)

For adolescents, sex becomes another type of currency exchange : they "barter" sex for a designer item, drugs....Is it actually surprising? They were nourished by pornography, grew up in societies that are bombarded by images that portray women as a sexual object. In this context, commercial sex is trivialized and prostitution appears more and more as a possible resort, without consequences and almost "natural" in order to obtain a good or money.


 

 

A summary of procuring

 

Definition

proxénétisme direct et indirectThe majority of legislations distinguish between two forms of procuring.

- direct procuring, defined as the act of "helping, assisting or protecting the prostitution of another; profiting from another's prostitution, sharing the products or receiving subsidies from a person constantly indulging in prostitution, hiring, training, diverting a person for prostitution or pressuring her to prostitute or continue to do so."

- indirect procuring, which consists in providing consented information on public or private premises to people indulging in prostitution. The real estate procuring is an important part of procuring. It has various faces: cabarets, restaurants, night clubs, private clubs, hostess bars...Even the simpe act of lending a van to a prostitute is noted as a procuring crime.

Criminal Networks of Prostitution

In Europe, the small structures, almost familial, coexist with high-level criminal organizations, who engage in sophisticated forms of trafficking and have high-level accomplices in the political and diplomatic world. Smaller groups can cooperate with large groups involved in multiple forms of trafficking.
No matter their size, these groups are mobile, perfected and structured. That is their main strength. Albanian networks, for example, are well-run criminal groups of 4 to 10 people, formed from clan, geographic, or family ties, just like true companies (market study, rationalization activity, task spacialization...). These groups are controlled by geographic and industry sectors, with, at the head of the organization, their board and chief supervising the group and defining the orientation of their criminal activities.
Different intermediaries intervene in every stage of exploiting women: recruiters, every type of agency, website producers, publicists, travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, "canvassers" who manage the locations on the sidewalk, bouncers in charge of protecting the girls, and sometimes, "solicitors" (bar owners, hotel concierges, taxi drivers...).
Faced with such a complex structure, it is generally difficult to find those who are responsible. Due to the fact that thanks to cell phones and the internet, procurers can manage their business away from the field of operations, without the risk of being caught.

The situation in France

le proxénétisme en franceFrance has the most repressive arsenal against procuring. If one considers prostitution to be free, then the exploitation of prostitution is severely punished. The repression of procuring, presents the unique characteristic of punishing an activity by reference to an activity that is not, in itself, illegal.

Articles 225-5 to 225-12 of the Penal Codes punish all forms of procuring. In its 2010 annual record of convictions, the Ministry of Justice declared 475 individual convictions for procuring acts, of which 275 were for aggravated procuring. About 40 international trafficking networks are dismantled every year, of which 64% are in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

In 2010, the Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Pardons, showed that in the cases of aggravated procuring, the prison sentences amounted to an average of 27.2 months. 78% of those convicted are older than 25. 28% of those convicted are women and 56% are foreigners, still in regards of only aggravated procuring. The average fine amounted to an average of 13.080€ ($17,919 USD).
Even if the legal framework for procuring violations seems to be complete, the offense of trafficking remains, to this day, rarely seen (3 cases in France in 2009, 3 cases, as well in 2010). Few judges use the cumulative nature of the procuring and trafficking violations. However, current texts allow, in theory, to incriminate human trafficking with the purpose of sexual exploitation as a whole, the dismantling of the industry to the original recruiting.

 

 

 

@Fond_Scelles

The Scelles Foundation in the press

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