A nation recovering from the comments made by two prominent personalities identifying women as objects of sex and providing a gross endorsement of rape culture as well as indulging in victim blaming, has to now look forward to a party called ‘Red Light District’ slated for December 20, 2014 at a popular club. As if the name of the party was not thought-provoking enough, the promoter went the extra mile to ensure my outrage by placing four advertisement flyers in my physical mailbox.
For the purposes of the promoter’s enlightenment, red light districts are the main beneficiaries of human trafficking for the purpose of sex and by extension modern-day slavery. Trafficking encompasses a series of horrors that far surpass one’s imagination. Men, women and children are tricked, forced and enslaved in this brutal system; according to the International Labour Organization 2010; an estimated 9000 individuals have been sexually exploited in the Netherlands. In India, in excess of 5 million children are being sold, sexually and physically abused and raped in red light districts. These figures are by no means exhaustive.
Poverty, child labour and sex tourism are the driving forces behind the survival of these districts, which have dire effects on the lives of the millions who are bound by their borders.
In 2012, Guyana was placed on the Tier 2 watch list of the US State Department in relation to trafficking in persons; in 2014 Guyana remains at Tier 2. According to Stabroek News dated April 5, 2014, the relatively small but strong Guyana Women Miners Organization rescued 25 women between the ages of 16 and 18 from the mining districts in 2013. The mining districts are becoming Guyana’s ‘red lights district,’ and thus the concerns about sexual exploitation and abuse are very much relevant to Guyana.
In the age of information, one would expect not to be swayed by the folly of the media in promoting such an atrocity as glamorous. Every day, countless organizations are working tirelessly to eradicate sex crimes and human trafficking around the word, and I refuse to believe that we are blind to these efforts and as a people are prepared to tolerate the commercialization of sex at this level.
It is with hope and a prayer that we will rethink our approach to entertainment. The burden of responsibility for social justice and equality lies on promoters’ shoulders too. Our society will buy what they sell, but they should be fair in their concepts, tolerant in their approaches, and sensitive in their promotions.
I humbly asked that they rename their promotion in solidarity with the victims of sex crimes and human trafficking in Guyana and around the world.
Guneshwari Preiya Methuram