The Business of Child Prostitution
My topic for the class project has somewhat shifted into a new direction since my last blog post. I will now be examining the institution of child prostitution and its practices within the Caribbean island of Jamaica. The country’s economy and tourism sector will form a large part of my research. I seek to find the implications of underage-sex for sale on the broader idea of prostitution and sex workers.
European invasion of the Americas during the 16th century gave rise to prostitution in the Caribbean being that slavery represented both the extraction of sex and labor. Race, class, and gender together continue to perpetuate the business of sex for sale. Notions of the time about the colored body as sexually desirable, promiscuous, and sensuous still exist today. It is very evident in the growing trend of Western tourist traveling to less developed countries for an exotic getaway. The international world in recent decades has brought attention to the increasing problem of child prostitution. Scholars argue that children are stripped of their childhood, abused, and thought to use their bodies as a commodity. It is difficult to discuss prostitution specifically to that of children without addressing the whole institution itself as it proves to be problematic. Some issues of relevance include who is reaping the benefits of the business, the legal framework is formed to target who, and what are the implications involved.
Jamaica’s tourism industry emerged in 1891 in an effort to relieve economic problems following the International Monetary Fund’s failed structural adjustment programs. Today close to thirty percent of the country’s gross domestic product is in the form of foreign exchange creating a dependency on tourism. Scholars argue that the industry markets Jamaica as offering the four S’s –sun, sand, sea, and sex. I found a statement by the Research Department of the Jamaica Tourist Board quite interesting that “we have nothing to do with the socioeconomic situation in the country –it has to do with a type of Jamaican who has no intentions of earning an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work but is much more comfortable preying upon others –be they visitors or Jamaicans” suggesting that the issue dwells on sex workers and not the institutions themselves. I believe that government entities and corporations try to conceal the inhumane practices taking place on the island because they are ultimately receiving a piece of the pie.
- Organization of sex for sale within marketed tourist packages
- Difference between coerced prostitution and sex work as labor
- The reasons children are pulled into the business
- Factors that affect sex workers earnings
- Access to health care services
- Possible solutions to address the problem (nationally and globally)
Kempadoo, K. (1999). Sun, sex, and gold: Tourism and sex work in the caribbean. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.
Change is constant in this world. We have constantly seen change in the readings of the class. The conquest definitely impacted the Americas and these changes continue to develop today. The conquest created borders as we know them today. A very popular city along the border is Tijuana. It is still going through the sexual violations that once happened during the conquest. It also reflects “los chingados” as those people who have to struggle to get by in a city that serves a large population of non-residents. Tijuana strongly reflects masculinity; prostitution develops as an escape to the lack of jobs. Males are usually preferred in the work force therefore there is not many opportunities for women to have a stable job therefore they sacrifice their bodies to have enough money to provide for themselves and anybody else who they take care of.
I had some difficulty finding any political sex scandals that I could compare to the Randy “Duke” Cunningham 2005 case, instead I have decided to write about the emigration of Honduras and how it has affected the Honduran population.
According to the CIA Factbook the Uruguay’s economy and government has created one of the most advanced Latin American States, where the entire population has access to clean water and 98% of the population over the age of 15 can read (CIA-the World Factbook). Although Uruguay is one of the most “developed” Latin American countries it has not limited the amount of emigration that has beEn characteristic of Uruguay since the 1970s, according to the CIA Uruguay has a negative migration growth “-1.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.).” This has created negative effects on the both the population and the economy of Uruguay.
Whether we use the words “sex worker” or” prostitute”, the implications are the same for the women who are categorized by these terms because of their labor. Sex workers inhabit taboo worlds where contradictions of deviant social behavior and religious constraints converge to forge identities; they must navigate through male sexual dominance and the scrutiny of an all-encompassing religious community that shuns their important function in the grand scheme of things.
I am interested in the VAWA and SAVE Native Women Act because violence on reservations is ignored by the government. Some Native American women are raped/abused on their reservation and the violator doesn’t get prosecuted for it. I am interested in knowing why the government doesn’t take violence on reservations as urgent, time pressing cases and instead brushes it off. One in three Native American women are raped in their lifetime. Tribal governments, state governments, and federal governments need to work together for the protection of women. More than 52% of violence cases are denied to even be looked at for Native American women.
The SAVE Native Women Act “amends the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to include sex trafficking as a target of the grants to Indian tribal governments to combat violent crime against Indian women.”(H.R. 757 – 113th Congress (2013-2014)) It’s purpose is “to decrease the incidence of violent crimes against Indian women, to strengthen the capacity of Indian tribes to exercise the sovereign authority of Indian tribes to respond to violent crimes committed against Indian women, and to ensure that perpetrators of violent crimes committed against Indian women are held accountable for that criminal behavior, and for other purposes.” (H.R. 757 – 113th Congress (2013-2014))
From the in-class readings which detailed colonial attitudes toward indigenous women (and later, slaveholders’ attitudes toward black women), it is clear that the pervasive attitudes toward “exotic” sex workers today have a historical basis; they aren’t a recent development. Additionally, according to Kamala Kempadoo, the enslavement and trafficking of women abroad for the benefit of American men is more complex than a “women-as-victims” relationship.
It is necessary to delve into the interactions of various factors, chief among them existing power structures and economic inequity, in order to fully understand why these institutions are so pervasive and marketable. This is particularly important when looking at recent efforts to curb sex trafficking in places such as Thailand (the region I’ll be focusing on), and how failing to address these underlying issues prevents real progress from being made. Many well-intentioned organizations fall into the trap of simply trying to remove women from brothels in which they are enslaved, only to have them become enslaved again soon after, because the situations that brought them there in the first place hadn’t changed. I also plan to explore the perspectives of all the different people involved in the process of sex slavery, including the male pimps and female “recruiters,” as well as the American consumers and Thai sex workers.
In 2012, Bienestar L.A conducted research for a report on the Interactions of Latina Transgender Women and Law Enforcement, finding over 21% having experience being assaulted by law enforcement, over 67% reporting negative or negligent conduct when reporting assault, even so, only 44% actually informed authorities when crimes were committed against them. (Bazargan & Galvan, 2012). Furthermore, as Tran scholars and advocates have pointed out, trans women of color make up 11% of reported hate crimes but over 44% of LGBT related homicides, how are transwomen and transwomen of color particularly vulnerable to state security and the limitations of police enforcement in ensuring safe communities and transjustice (NCAVP, 2011)?