Hard to believe this is Blog 400! I wonder, should I keep on ranting or shall I call it a day? Whatever, before getting on to the two hetero stories, one more about Africa. According to a new report by Human Rights Watch violence against LGBT people has reached a new high and what is more is usually totally ignored by the police. The report includes the case of one lesbian who was repeatedly raped by a family member, her soccer coach and her pastor, all in an attempt to “convert” her and show her how to be “a real woman.” Her case is one of many including the slaying of lesbian women in the townships. The South African constitution promises equality for all its citizens but for some that promise is not being kept.
And so on to the nitty gritty of this sad mad world, beginning with France where their parliament seems to be as myopic as the Nigerians as they have decided to ban prostitution(!) by fining (3000euro) and imprisoning (six months) anyone paying for sex! Around 20,000 people are believed to be working as prostitutes in France and France evidently has been committed to abolishing the practice in principle since 1960. The resolution says the country should seek "a society without prostitution" and that sex work "should in no case be designated as a professional activity". It urged abolition at a time when "prostitution seems to be becoming routine in Europe. What on earth are they talking about? It’s been routine all over the world since the year dot. So long as men need sex and that is the only way they’re going to get it prostitution will be with us.
Pimping is another matter and is punishable with a prison sentence of up to seven years. There are some 1,000 convictions annually. One MP claims that nine out of ten prostitutes are victims of trafficking. “From now on prostitution is regarded from the point of view of violence against women and that has become unacceptable for everyone.” When it comes to trafficking I wholeheartedly agree but nine out of ten seems a very high proportion. From where does he get his statistics?
However, France's sex workers have a trade union and a rally outside parliament was organized to oppose the proposed bill. Several dozen prostitutes and supporters gathered under placards reading "Sex Work is Work" and "Prostitution - No Repression - No Punishment - Rights!" In a letter to MPs, it and other groups accused politicians of treating prostitutes as “marginals whose voice does not deserve to be heard.” As far as trafficking is concerned a woman in China found guilty of heading a gang has just been executed for forcing hundreds of women into prostitution. The brothels were disguised as tea houses, beauty salons or hotels. Too often here in Greece one reads of women being lured to a foreign country under the impression they will get good jobs only to find they have been the victims of trafficking, and victims is not too harsh a word for the treatment they receive. The traffickers are usually Albanians, Bulgarians and the like, not that the Greeks are blameless. The French government will find it impossible to stop prostitution. A much better idea would be to licence the women making sure as far as possible they have in no way been coerced by anybody into what they do and that they work in conditions of safety.
I am at the moment writing the sixth Thornton King book and the previously established character of Carlotta the London prostitute has this to say of herself –
‘I know what I am, Thornton. There’s no point in denying it, but I do supply a service to society and I’ve never been ashamed of it. Oh, yes, sometimes I’ve regretted the way my life has turned out, it wasn’t how I thought it would be, but never ashamed, no. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, except for this of course.’ She indicated the cigarette. ‘I’m not mixed up in anything criminal and I have regular check-ups at the clinic. I’m very careful, I’m clean and, as far as I am aware I have never given anyone anything to worry about or have sleepless nights over. I’m just a member of the oldest profession, that’s all. What they call the sex industry these days. Everything seems to be an industry these days. I mean, we’ve been with you since the year dot haven’t we?’
Very old joke – gay walking down the street sees a prostitute and hails her with ‘Hello prostitute!’ To which she replies ‘Hello substitute!’
One way or another sex for the sake of sex, sex for the enjoyment and pleasure of sex, sex to satisfy a natural need, is a fact of life and no amount of government wishful thinking or religious venom is going to get rid of it so why get your knickers in a twist over it? As the actress said to the bishop.