Students study and reflect on prostitution and human trafficking
During spring 2011, students at Angeredsgymnasiet have been involved in RealStars’ work. They have for a short time immersed themselves in sex trafficking and similar matters. You can read selected parts from their work below, which also reflect their personal thoughts.
”The most intrusive act an individual can suffer has got to be forced sexual acts. Those acts violate ones right to have control of your own body. I also believe this is the general opinion. Still, human trade is a big problem. If we look at poor countries and countries with high unemployment rate, low education, lack of human rights and equality, we can quite easily claim that the risk of human trading is greatest there. Young women and children are the most afflicted. Children are easily afflicted because they are easier to manipulate.
In human trade, the victim is considered a commodity which can be bought and sold at the pimp’s leisure. Narcotics differs from the human trade because it is consumed once. In human trading the victim’s body will be abused over and over. The victims are raped by 7-30 men every night. How did they get here? Hoping they could get a better life, hoping to be free from the misery they live in through work in a new country. But instead, the victims get humiliated every day by having a price tag attached to them: ‘how much’?”
Hawsar, 18 years old
” ’If you don’t do something to stop that – that’s when there’s something wrong with you.’ A quote from CNN’s interview with Aschtoon Kutcher in the campaign ’Real men don’t buy sex’.
It describes what I think this problem is all about. Everyone, men and women must contribute, if we are to beat this problem. It is a global matter and it is important to show this isn’t something an educated person accepts
We really need to combine our strength to increase the possibilities of finally ending all human trade. ….and couldn’t the EU be the perfect place the world could turn to in order to become inspired. It should be obvious for all European countries to join forces and fight this problem. It is important that everyone stand together for us to be able to reach any sort of change for these vulnerable women and children.”
Petra, 18 years old
”We all have different opinions on prostitution, some men think it’s okay to hire prostitutes when their own wives don’t satisfy their needs, others find it disgusting and feel sympathy for the prostitutes who stand at all those street corners. Girls are the most affected, it is hard to explain why. It has been that way forever.
There is a great supply and demand which is why these criminal organizations can continue kidnapping poor girls by luring them with promises of “work”. How we are going to stop this is a good question. First of all, the men who pay for sex should stop and think; how has this girl lived, was she tricked, is she forced to do this and would you want to see your own daughter being forced into prostitution. If you can produce that image, then I think some men who regularly buy sex would stop or reduce the purchases
Ilir, 18 years old
”Trafficking and sex trade has existed for a long time, from children to adults, the poor to the orphaned, the unemployed to loneliness; money and power. All this and more is the cause of trafficking. Even today no one has done anything about this and even though it is illegal it continues. I don’t think humans care much about other people. People today care only of themselves, they care about clothes, makeup, boys and other things. They don’t care that there are problems out there which need solving. I myself didn’t take this seriously until I saw the movie Lilja 4-ever, it’s a horrible film, I didn’t realize it was that serious, or even existed, how can someone be that evil? I started crying a lot while watching the film because I’m a girl and understand this, I could just as well have been the victim. It hurt me a lot even thought it was “just a movie”, but these things really exist, stop it! Girls are wonderful and shouldn’t be exploited so horrible men can earn a living.”
Naz, 18 years old
”I personally hate prostitution in all its shapes, even if it is vital . There should always exist an association or community you can turn to. In developing countries there could be limitations but industrialized countries where prostitution is a problem should be able to manage. We are very good at this in Sweden, with support lines, social welfare and other organizations.
In some countries prostitution is legal, Spain is an example. This is wrong. Any laws which might allow or legalize prostitution should be removed, but be careful not to limit the help given to prostitutes’.”
Samira, 18 years old
”The reason I now write about trafficking is because it is a matter which affects me. I have been interested and concerned ever since I saw the film Lilja-4-ever a few years ago. I think it is an important matter people never talk about. They often talk about “the poor children in Africa” but that young girls (and even boys) are sold here, in Europe, yes even in Sweden, is something you don’t hear much about. It’s like no one wants to hear about it, that’s why I think it is important to create awareness.”
Daniella, 18 years old
” ’There are situations when you have to force the girls with rape, battery or torture. When she fears for her life, she stops resisting and starts working.’
Grigorij, owner of a brothel in Tetovo, Macedonia
Source: Ex Oriente Lux, Radio Vision, Germany, 2001
Has any other person than yourself the right to decide for your body? Can you really buy and own another human being? I can’t understand how a person would want to buy sex. It could be your sister, mother or even your daughter.
Many men think they help the girls by giving them money, but most girls can’t keep the money. The pimps keep the most if not all of the money the girls make. Often the girls have a “debt” to the pimps, which they will never be able to pay. The “debt” could be housing, food and drugs.”
Lisa, 18 years old
”I think there is too little information regarding trafficking. If you ask around, not many people know what it is. You should note that prostitution and human trade/trafficking are two different things but with the same shape, being a sex victim. With prostitution it is the situation which forces the person to sell sex. But trafficking is when other people force the person to sell sex. The demand is the culprit in trafficking. Because there is a great demand, the supply increases.
Evelina, 18 years old
”Sex trade is something which affects everyone, no matter how near or far from your everyday reality. We have all a responsibility to deprecate. Everybody should care for their fellow men and hinder the progress of crime.
In my opinion few people will think of trafficking as a an important issue, it exists “out there”, but you don’t see it every day.
This is probably the reason why it is not on the agenda constantly.
I find it strange to see prostitutes posing and waiting for customers in Sweden. It’s probably more common in our neighboring countries.”
André, 18 years old
“Some prostitution is characterized by men ordering a woman to sell herself against her will and often the pimp is someone she knows. It could be her best friend, a friend of the family or her boyfriend. He persuades her by promising that it is the way to prosperity and a good future. This is duress. Last week I read an article in GT about a girl who was brought to Sweden by her stepfather. He forced her to prostitute and said that she would never see her mother again.”
Nadia, 18 years old
”The primary cause of human trade is the great demand. Other essential causes are social and economic inequalities, poverty, war, political instability or unequal partition of power between people and their countries.
If there aren’t any customers, there won’t be any pimps who commit crime. That’s why we need to focus on the customers (the men) and thwart them in order to stop the increasing human trade.
We should at least try to reduce the demand via focusing on the problem. Everyone should become aware of how serious human trade really is Therefore we need to support organizations who work against this and also use more resources to stop this catastrophe.
We are very grateful and proud that there exists organizations like ‘Real Stars’ who really take concern and raises opinion. This way we can at least deter men from buying sex.”
Seloa, 18 years old
”Trafficking is an important subject which many people forget about. I personally , am not concerned because I haven’t seen anything to do with it in real life. After all it is the third greatest type of organized crime. It’s worse than you might think, at least that’s what I thought.
It’s legal to sell sex but not to buy (in Sweden). If no buyers existed the “transaction” wouldn’t take place. I think it is a very good law. Some people may think it shouldn’t be okay to buy or sell. You haven’t really thought about it if that’s your opinion. Many of the girls don’t choose to do it but are forced. They shouldn’t be punished for that. It’s crazy, so I think the Swedish law is great. You should focus on the buyers and give them harsher punishment.
I think many of the buyers don’t realize that the girl has been forced to do this. I don’t think they care about how the girl feels, they only care about sex. That is after all the reason they are there. Furthermore, I can’t understand why anyone would want to buy sex. I think it’s crazy. You might think only psychos buy sex, but it can be youngsters, fathers who have daughters in the same age, old men, anyone.
Lisa, 18 years old
”I consider the buyer to be the worst part, they outnumber the victims. There wouldn’t be any human traders or pimps earning money from tricking, forcing and using innocent souls, if it weren’t for the buyers. I can’t help but wonder; what is the attraction in buying sex? Is it the feeling of owning something or someone, even for just an hour?
How can they look at themselves when they have no morality?
Do they convince themselves that the person sells sex on their own volition, for pleasure? The truth is that very few, almost no one sells their body voluntarily.
Every twelfth man in Sweden has bought sex at least once. Compared to many other countries it is a quite low figure but to me it’s still too high. It is too high because statistically this means I know several men who have committed this crime.”
Anna, 18 years old
”We should increase the punishment for buying sex, because if you think about it, if you are sentenced to fines you probably can pay it since you paid for sex. Instead you should increase punishment to jail time and less people will buy sex.
Sofie, 18 years old
”Until recently, I didn’t know about trafficking because education doesn’t include it in Swedish schools. I had heard of the word before but never really known what it meant. Now I understand how horrible it really is and I can’t understand why there is so much demand. Because if there weren’t any demand there wouldn’t be any supply. I believe the majority of the buyers are men who don’t get sex otherwise or have some problem
You have to expand the question because if you look closer it’s not only the men who buy sex. Controlling the women is a pimp who probably works for a rich man who sits on his ass all days. He decides who to sell and who to buy.
Finally, we should make sure the schools teach the students about trafficking. Not everyone knows what it is. We should also make sure the Sex Trade Law is added to other countries’ legislation to deter!”
Rebecka, 18 years old
”I think it’s weird that it is legal to buy prostitutes in some countries when the statistics show that more and more men will buy. How do we reduce the demand? Also, it is difficult for the police to know if it’s voluntary (they might not have another way to sustain) or they are victims. How can we stop trafficking then? We have to give awareness to the people in our society, the government, the country and the world. No one should force you into selling sex! It’s a big issue which the EU should have taken care of and worked more on.”
Daniella, 18 years old
”The government in many countries where selling sex is legal knows who is a sex slave. It’s good that the government knows what happens but it’s bad because they use the girls to make money for the state. Poverty is the reason for selling sex. The girl often does it to gain money for the family and children. The only solution is to sell sex if there aren’t any other jobs. You shouldn’t have to sell sex, instead we should help the poor. The government should provide jobs. We can fix this problem by making safer cities, more job opportunities and arresting all the horny old men. We should help girls who are treated as slaves and give them a future with schooling and aid to their families.
Nega, 18 years old