What’s going on with Sex Trafficking?

Lately I have been seeing a lot of posters and flyers spread around in Amsterdam from the organisation No place for sex trafficking. At first I got lost in translation, but sex trafficking is actually sexual exploitation, thus forced labour in the sex industry and working under poor circumstances. The posters made me realise again that sex trafficking is still daily practice, even here in Amsterdam, where sex work is legalised. 

The website of No place for sex trafficking shows that 50%(!!) of girls and 20%(!) of boys experience sexual violation. That crazy! Also, sex trafficking happens in many places. Traditional places like brothels and clubs but also in hotels, at home and a lot on the internet. The campaign aims to get hospitality services (hotels, taxi’s, restaurants) certified, so people working in these services can better spot signs of sex trafficking in their work environments, and therewith put a halt on it.

One could wonder, for sure we don’t want sex trafficking, but do we want (legal) sex work anyway? Lola Olufemi discussed the causes and consequences of sex work in her book “Feminism Interrupted – Disrupting Power” as well. ~A book I got to read thanks to the FCA bookclub actually!~ What I got out of it is that it’s not about if we want sex work to be happening or not, but rather about the underlying system that necessitates people into working in the sex industry. These underlying forces being great inequalities between people with different backgrounds and genders. As long as there exists poverty, sex work is bound to happen

In line with this topic is the new proposed Dutch moral law (zedenwet) against sexual violence. This law aims to make sex against a person’s will punishable, though less punishable than raping. This implies that the two are different, but can sex against someones will happen without it being a rape? Isn’t sex against someone’s will the definition of raping? Amnesty International put some more thoughts into this topic in this interesting piece if you want to read further on this law and sexual violence in the Netherlands.

So next to sex trafficking, also raping is happening around us. I believe both should be stopped, by law, but also by changing whatever induces them. I keep questioning, why are these incredibly harmful events even happening? What are all the underlying causes? Is this also deductible to poverty and (gender) inequality? As for sex work, it should at least become free of violence and exploitation, and the circumstances people work in should always be hygienic and safe. What do you think about this? As The Feminist Club Amsterdam we value discussion and a multitude of insights, and aim to discuss topics of our posts further in our facebook group. We would love to hear your thoughts!

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