Fightslavery's Blog

{February 19, 2011}   Taking liberty with labels?


Nathalie Rothschild suggests that “slavery was abolished 200 years ago and has not returned” (see Spiked article.)

In the interests of showing a balanced viewpoint I am including links to articles by her. She believes that many of the initiatives to “help” victims of trafficking are nothing more than neo-colonial, white, religious attempts to “rescue” people for their own agenda. She asks – do they want to be “rescued” or are these people making their lives worse by taking away their livelihoods?

I might not agree but its interesting to see another point of view.

The Guardian


There is also a link to a paper by Jo Doezema`s paper Loose Women or Lost Women”.

Pictured as poor, naïve, and ‘unempowered’, third world/non western women are perceived as unable to act as agents in their own lives or to make an uncoerced decision to work in the sex industry (Doezema 1995, Murray 1998)…

Presenting ‘non-western’ women as helpless, childlike creatures is both a result of and perpetuates what Chandra Mohanty has identified as the ‘colonial gaze’ of western feminists…

From tales of deceived innocence to reports of the poor selling their daughters, contemporary accounts of ‘trafficking in women’ make use of many of the discursive foundations of the ‘white slavery’ myth. Similarly, the consequences of the ‘anti-trafficking’ campaign are proving to be disastrous for women, especially sex workers. Increasingly, countries are restricting women’s migration possibilities, and policing and deporting sex workers…

While the discourse on white slavery ostensibly was about the protection of women from (male) violence, to a large extent, the welfare of the ‘white slaves’ was peripheral to the discourse. A supposed threat to women’s safety served as a marker of and metaphor for other fears, among them fear of women’s growing independence, the breakdown of the family, and loss of national identity through the influx of immigrants.

In conclusion she suggests:

it is one thing to save ‘innocent victims of trafficking’; quite another to recognise that ‘guilty’ sex workers deserve respect for their rights as workers, as women, and as migrants. Women who migrate for the sex industry can only be freed from violations of their human rights if they are first freed of their mythical constraints. They must no longer be used as the canvas upon which societies’ fears and anxieties are projected; be defined no longer as innocent, sexless, ‘non-adults’ or as the oppressed sex of backward countries; but as agents endowed with the ability to think, to act and to resist

Her analysis seems to be that Anti Trafficking stems from a fear of the choice of women to do this, and the fear of independent women who wish to leave home. The effects of this “fear” are that women who choose to become prostitutes are ultimately given less rights than “good women” i.e the ones who had no choice and that they need to be protected as workers.

I agree that they need to be protected regardless of the way they got into a situation which is abusive. One argument is that sex workers need to be given rights so that they are working in protected environments. In my time as a housing support worker, working with sex workers  in the UK this was something I thought about a lot. The women are vulnerable on the street and because prostitution is criminalised it is the women who end up being victimized. In addition it is hard for a women who has been raped to secure a conviction as her sexual history almost disqualifies her.

However, I think she misses the point. This is not an academic analysis of the perception of women but an attempt to stop women being abused. Of course some women choose to enter prostitution freely, and the fact that in courts of law a women’s sexual past be taken into account when trying to decide if she is worthy of protection is wrong. Whether it is chosen or not I believe the  women should be treated equally and not labelled. As Jesus said to those waiting to condemn the women with stones in hand – He who is without sin cast the first stone”, however I honestly don`t believe if the woman had the choice of another type of work which would pay as well, and had an experienced of truly being loved that she would want to be a prostitute. If she was not doing it for money perhaps it makes her feel powerful but again I would ask what are the roots of this?


The BBC took a young, naïve British girl Stacey to Cambodia to make a documentary about Trafficking. I have not seen it so I don`t feel qualified to comment but there were some important comments made by others which relate to the points made by Rothschild.

The question for me is relevant – how can we as Westerners avoid the idea that we can FIX the PROBLEMS of the POOR? A desire to do something is such a beautiful thing, but I feel that this needs to be carefully tempered with cultural awareness and information from sources which are correct.

According to many of the angry comments the whole problem with this show is that it presents a very simplistic version of the problem. Charity itself can end up hindering people’s ability to be independent in some cases, hence initiatives such as the Grameen bank and Social Business are seeking to be viable alternatives. There has been a lot of criticism of these too. I do not know what the answer is but I think it is important to keep asking what can be done?

I am hoping to go to Cambodia in March to see for myself and hope that this will give me a more accurate picture of things.


{February 19, 2011}   Korea

I am posting this after a conversation I had today about the Suicide of a famous Korean actress Jang Ja Yeon in 2009. It has been reported that she had written a note detailing the names of influential members of the entertainment industry and possibly politicians with whom she had been forced to have sex with.

I have not posted specifically about the entertainment industry but her suicide highlights the fact that co-ersion and women being made to feel forced to use their bodies exists in many places, and, under many guises. Perhaps it was not officially part of her contract, but she clearly felt that she had been forced to do things against her will for the sake of her contract/future  – the consequence was suicide. Very sad.

Here is a link for the Korean Sexual Violence Relief Centre.

An article about the demand in Korea created by the US military.

and a Korean Times article about North and South Korea.

{February 6, 2011}   And back in Japan

Sumida Ku child porn busts
link to article here

{February 6, 2011}  

{February 6, 2011}   More activists India

While net surfing I came across the work of Sunitha Krishnan. She is a founder of the organisation PRAJWALA in India and it looks like the are doing great work.


{November 19, 2010}   Social Enterprise in LAOS

Following on from the Art Therapy post AFESIP LAO PDR are also training women with alternative forms of income. See here

They are selling eco friendly Beauty Products under the title Fair Beauty for information on this project or the products you can contact them at:–

{November 19, 2010}   Australian Art Therapists in Laos

I have not posted for a long time, for many reasons, but I wish to add some more relevant information with a focus on Arts.

1. I stumbled across this whilst researching Australia and Arts therapist information. In OCtober 2009 a group of Australian Art Therapists (Lydia Tan, Nyrelle Bade, Lucille O`Brian and Linda Torchia) worked with AFESIP (Acting for Women in Distressing Situations, an anti-traffiking organisation) though the Art2Healing program founded by Lydia. 

Working with social workers to help them gain a deeper understanding of the effects of trauma and how to use arts based interventions in addition to a 2 day workshop with survivors.

These were kindly put on Facebook by Jennifer Gracey director of the Ihop Tokyo, who have a focus on trafficking on Mondays 12pm – 1pm.

Some statistics about child pornography in Japan

see here

Japan Fails to Pass the Bill banning child Pornography.

see link here

This is very sad news.

Some more positive news (if you can see it that way) is the arrest if two Japanese men in Thailand for trafficking offenses.

see link here


May has been a busy month and the preceding ones were also busy so apologies for my lack of blog updates.

The project I was working on was the Bath Japanese Festival, which encompassed both creative elements (Book Art, Haiku and Film) as well as awareness raising events about Human Trafficking.

I want to focus on the Human Trafficking Speakers event

Art Has a Heart: Human Trafficking in Europe and Asia at the BRLSI (Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution)

We had 4 organisations represented:

David Patterson – a Bristol based solicitor who worked in Kolkata, India countering sex trafficking in 2008-9. He is speaking of behalf of International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote functioning public justice systems.

Jennifer Conlan – Stop The Traffik: Act v Regional Co-ordinator, and will be speaking with Anti Trafficking charity “Unseen” representative Cassie Grist.

STOP THE TRAFFIK is a growing global movement of individuals, communities and organisations fighting to PREVENT the sale of people, PROTECT the trafficked and PROSECUTE the traffickers. 

unseen(uk) is a charity established to disrupt and challenge human trafficking at all levels. unseen’s specific focus is to combat the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation.


Kit Loring – a UK State Registered Arts Therapists with a specialism in Dramatherapy. He is also a qualified and registered Clinical Supervisor. As senior partner/practitioner and Director of Therapy Services for The Ragamuffin Project.He has also conducted extensive training and supervision programmes in Cambodia, Russia and Finland and provided training workshops at conferences in Germany, Greece, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In addition The Stairway Foundation Film: – Red Leaves Falling animated film will be shown. Stairway Foundation Inc. is a non-stock, non-profit, non-government child care organization located in Puerto Galera, in the island of Oriental Mindoro. It was established in 1990 by Lars C. Jorgensen and Monica D. Ray as an alternative program for the most marginalized and endangered streetchildren in the Philippines.

We are also supported by Love146 who work toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation through Prevention and Aftercare solutions, and contributing to a growing abolition movement.

These are all wonderful charities and THANKS to people for coming and speaking so eloquently, knowledgeably and movingly about the problem and what we can do.

{March 4, 2010}   INDIA cont

It has become really clear to me over the last few months that a large part of the problem is an economic one – women end up in prostitution, and people end up selling/buying women and children for money, so it is essential to provide alternative sources of income for them. Leah has been exploring India and finding some truly wonderful, creative and workable spaces which help women form skills to make a living.

Freeset – not only gives skills but sells really great bags which are eco friendly – their philosophy is one that supports the women rather than exploiting them for profit.

From their web site :

Love arts Calcutta is creating some beautiful stationary with a similar approach.

More sights selling products made by women

et cetera