25 April, 2008

Prostitution - the oldest profession or the oldest oppression?

here's a quick look into the oppression of prostitution in Thailand...
Prostitution in Thailand: >> THE FACTS

Estimates on the number of women in prostitution in Thailand range from 300,000 to 2.8 million (CATW –Asia pacific, 1996).

In Thailand, it is commonly estimated that 60% of male tourist participate in the sex industry.

An income from prostitution is generally 25 times greater than an income from any other work in rural area (Lisllian S. Robinson, Touring Thailand’s Sex Industry, THE NATION, Nov. 1, 1993).

Rationalization for Entering Prostitution:

Most women are originally from rural and impoverished areas of Thailand and move to the cities in hopes of providing for their families back home.

Most of these women only have a 6th grade education.

Many are single moms.

An alarming number of the women were abused in their pasts, making them vulnerable to further exploitation.

Consequences of Entering Prostitution:

“The experience of prostitution is the experience of being repeatedly sexually assaulted, being dominated, battered, and terrorized (Melissa Farley and Norma Hotaling). The Council for Prostitution Alternatives has reported that prostituted women were raped approximately once a week (Hunter, 1994).

Study by Melissa Farley and Norma Hotaling of 130 prostitutes) in San Francisco (75% women):

• 82% reported physical assaults in prostitution;
• 88% reported physical threats in prostitution;
• 83% had been threatened with a weapon in prostitution;
• 68% had been raped in prostitution.
• 78% expressed the need for a safe place to go
• 84% reported current or past homelessness
• 88% expressed a desire to get out of prostitution;
• 73% expressed a desire for job training;
• 67% stated a need for drug or alcohol treatment. Studies show that 55% to 90% of prostitutes report a history of sexual abuse as children
• 41% of 130 prostitutes met criteria for a PTSD diagnosis. (The incidence of current PTSD in male Vietnam veterans is 15%/35% for high war zone exposure.)

(*Although these stats are of women in the US Farley has done other research showing similar statistics around the world.)
A Canadian Report on Prostitution and Pornography found that women and girls in prostitution had a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average (Baldwin, 1993).

It’s estimated that 50-80% of sex industry workers are or will be HIV positive. Young people (ages 15-24) account for half of all of the 2.5 million new HIV infections each year.

Prostitutes suffer from sexually transmitted diseases, as well as other related illnesses, acute anxiety, depression, insomnia, flashbacks, and emotional numbing.

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