Janice Raymond, a Professor Emerita of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and Teresa Ulloa Ziáurriz, the Regional Director of CATW – Latin America and the Caribbean, attended the Second International Forum on Women’s Rights held in Mar del Plata on September 4-5, 2014 focusing this year on human trafficking. The two-day event brought together survivors, national and international experts, and representatives of international organizations.
Published in Argentina’s Télam network. Translation for CATW by Bartosz Pełka.
Educating young men is a strategy for combatting trafficking in women, agreed upon by the international experts who participated in the Second International Forum of Women’s Rights held in Mar del Plata, where it was confirmed that 7153 victims of trafficking were rescued in Argentina. This figure represents the period between April 2008 and July 2014 and was announced by the coordinator of the national program for people affected by trafficking, Rescue and Accompaniment, Zaida Gatti, who noted that 52 percent of those victims were exploited in the workforce while 48 percent were trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation.
“Statistics are important for evidence-based interventions,” stated Joy Ngozi Ezelio, former UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, while discussing the issue of sexual exploitation with Marcelo Colombo of the Attorney’s Office Against Trafficking, the UN representative Valeria Guerra, prosecutor Mario Gomez and Janice Raymond. “Without demand there is no supply, so you have to address the demand,” said Raymond, who is a professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, a member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and an expert on the subject.
“Don’t punish the victims, punish those who comprise all other aspects of this industry of the exploitation of women,” said Raymond who opposes legalization of prostitution. “In the Netherlands, where it [prostitution] is regulated, the industry is infiltrated by the organized crime and women are still the ones who lose.” For Raymond, legalization of prostitution “is a gift to pimps. It promotes sex trafficking, expands the sex industry, increases the number of clandestine operations, and fosters sexual exploitation of children. It [legalization] neither protects women, nor presents them with a choice, but instead increases demand encouraging to buy sex in a permissible environment.”
Raymond stressed the importance of educating young men. “In Sweden where customers are penalized, when they are arrested for the first time, they are obligated to participate in workshops, led by formerly exploited women and designed to make them aware of what generates commercial sexual exploitation. The level of recidivism among attendees of such workshops is low.”
A similar statement was made by Teresa Ulloa Ziáurriz of Mexico, director of CATW – Latin America and the Caribbean: “This is the most illogical time for the existence of prostitution: men do not have to pay for sex. We are working with young people so that they do not become consumers and traffickers.”
CATW-LAC campaigned during the last World Cup to spread awareness about sex trafficking of women during the event. The campaign was featured in the media, including Argentina’s International Network of Journalists with Gender Perspectives. “We took young men to present the campaign in Brazil for them to see what was happening. We documented how the exploitation of women and girls was a reality. Even though it has been a good experience, we are already working to be better prepared for the 2016 Olympics,” said the leader in dialogue with Télam.
For Ulloa, [to stop commercial sexual exploitation] “you have to make visible to the client that which was hidden so far.” She insisted that “the workforce of young people can lead a silent revolution from one generation to the next, if only we establish laws on education against exploitation of women.”
The Forum, organized by the Provincial Council of Women of the Buenos Aires province, gathered more than 2000 people for two days who came to analyze, together with domestic and foreign experts, the current situation, progress and remaining challenge of combatting trafficking in human beings.”