DOCUMENTARY: by Babette FrancisNews Weekly
Lifting the veil on the global sex industry
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls (96 minutes)
, March 31, 2012
The horrific trade of sex-trafficking is the subject of a recent award-winning documentary, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, produced by Exodus Cry, an international anti-trafficking organisation committed to abolishing modern-day slavery through prayer, awareness, and assisting victims.
The 96-minute documentary reveals the nightmare of sex-trafficking: a woman being dragged to the “breaking grounds”, where she is beaten, stripped and sold to the highest bidder. After she’s auctioned, she’s taken to a location where she will be sold night after night.
Using first-hand interviews with real victims and traffickers, along with expert analysis from international humanitarian leaders, this documentary illustrates the horror of modern-day slavery where women are sold in sex markets in some of the world’s most “developed” countries.
I was present when the documentary was screened earlier this month in New York, on the premises of the United Nations, during the annual session of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
My Endeavour Forum traditionally organises educational “parallel events” on pro-life and pro-family issues during CSW sessions. This year, one of our keynote events was to show this ground-breaking documentary in order to raise global awareness about sex-trafficking.
The event was co-sponsored by the Catholic Women’s League of Australia, Eagle Forum, the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society, the JMJ Children’s Fund of Canada, Concerned Women for America, and Family Watch International.
Following the screening of Nefarious there was a panel discussion led by Blair Pilkington of Exodus Cry and Lisa Thompson of the Salvation Army.
Blair said that Exodus Cry had intended to make a short video, but discovered the dimensions of the hideous billion-dollar global trade in sex-trafficking.
She commended Sweden for landmark legislation which criminalises the purchasing of prostitution and referred to a recent bill in Israel that would also criminalise demand. Australia got a “dishonourable” mention because the legalisation of prostitution has seen a dramatic increase in the illegal sex market.
Lisa Thompson from the Salvation Army said that legal regimes of prostitution codify and normalise male demand for commercial sex as their guaranteed right; and, because male demand for commercial sex is greater than the supply of women, sex-trafficking exists in order to compel women’s prostitution.
She observed: “The experiences of sexually-trafficked women are not ‘work’ experiences; sex-trafficking victims experience serial rape....
“Unfortunately some people attempt to decouple sex-trafficking and prostitution, as if the women were trafficked for some other enterprise.
“Countries which legalise prostitution engage in a new imperialism which, instead of exploiting the developing world for its ores and minerals, exploit such countries’ vulnerable women and children by trafficking them into their legal sex industries.”
For the US market, women are sex-trafficked from eastern European countries such as Ukraine and Belarus; in Australia; they are conscripted from Thailand.
Babette Francis, B.Sc. (Hons), is national and overseas coordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc.