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Friday, May 26, 2006

Of Soccer and Human Trafficking: Shame on Germany, Kudos to a Catholic Group

The German government's open support for prostitution and massive human sex-trafficking for 2006 World Cup in Germany next month has moved a Catholic organization to take action against that travesty of human dignity. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, C-FAM, has launched a "Stop World Cup Prostitution" campaign. Many thanks, C-FAM, for speaking out.

I am appalled at the magnitude of human degradation through Germany's prostitution business, greatly amplified by World Cup soccer. Many women are pressured, tricked, or forced into prostitution to support the greed of big business and ruthless masters. What a terrible thing to legalize.

I hope more Catholics and more people of all faiths will speak out against the crime of prostitution, whether it's legal or not.

13 comments:

john f. said...

Yes, shame on Germany and all other decadent, degrading societies that condone this and do not defend women's dignity as they should.

Téa said...

We've been following this story on NPR and its programming--what a shameful tale it is.

I was pleased to see a pledge from some athletes to not use the services of the brothels.

BrianJ said...

Thanks for posting on this. What a disturbing development. I am thinking of other world-event host cities and the structures they built in order prepare. The communities get to enjoy those buildings for decades after the "big event." What do Germans hope to gain from their giant brothel?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the latest venereal diseases?

Bookslinger said...

I agree with others' opinions of the shamefullness of the state of Germany supporting prostitution.

But like other vices, it won't and can't be stopped as long as there is a demand for it.

I learned a lot about the drug trade and the "War On Drugs" while living in a distressed urban neighborhood. (I sometimes call it a ghetto, but it wasn't as bad as what you normally would think of as a "ghetto").

The reason prostitutes are in business is the same reason drug dealers are in business. It's the basic economic law of supply-and-demand. There is a demand for their products/services, and they are catering to that demand.

I'll try to avoid discussing whether vices such as drugs and prostitution should be legalized. But I will tell you what I learned back in the 'hood.

No amount of laws will eliminate the crimes of prostitution and selling drugs unless "focus" is put on the demand side. Because if you arrest, remove, or otherwise eliminate the "suppliers," the customers' demand will create incentives and even pressures for other new suppliers to step in and meet the demand.

Prostitutes do not "create" their customers. They do not entice or entrap or "sell" people into becoming their clients. It's the demand for prostitutes, men seeking their services, that "creates" prostitutes, or provides the financial incentive (see the economic "law of supply-and-demand") for the pimps to recruit or "make" prostitutes.

Same way with the drug dealers. They don't create drug users/addicts. It's the drug users/addicts who create drug dealers with their demand for drugs. Arrest the dealers and the users' need for drugs creates more dealers to fill the void.

In a way, Germany is being pragmatic. It's a shame that prostitution is getting an apparent "seal of approval" from their government. But the pragmatic side is to acknowledge that the demand for prostitutes is going to be there, and those demands will be catered to, no matter what the government does. Germany is not eliminating the vice, but it is eliminating a lot of the associated crime that would otherwise go along with underground prostitution.

Germany's actions are a short-sighted solution, perhaps with short-term benefits (lesser associated crime), but the long term effects will be (and probably already are) equally horrible. By removing or lessening the stigma of prostitution more people will experiment in it (as both customers and suppliers) who otherwise would have avoided it due to the official stigma.

Yet don't be so quick to point the finger, when our government sanctions addictive and destructive vices too. Gambling (Las Vegas, Atlantic City, state lotteries) has ruined a lot of lives and families. Smoking is highly addictive, causing much illness, suffering, and death.

Gambling and tobacco are highly regulated in the US. But regulation also connotes official approval.

And even the LDS church sanctions AND PROMOTES addictive and harmful substances. Have you ever been to a church event that didn't have excessive amounts of sugary foods? Have you seen the morbidly obese Mormons feeding on cake, brownies, fudge, and cookies at ward events?

Haven't ya'll seen sugar addicts whose bodies are suffering from its effects?

Have you ever volunteered at a Bishops' Storehouse and seen 300 pound people get their bi-weekly alotment of sausage, hamburger, sugar, and cake-mix?

To a person weighing 300 pounds or more, sausage and sugar are LETHAL! It's killing them! There's no dietary justification for sausage for anybody, ever, at all. It's a HORRIBLE food. Yet the church gives it out free to the poor members in good standing.

Jeff, you've been a bishop and have signed food orders. What are your thoughts on signing a food order containing sausage for a family of morbidly obese people?

(If you think this comment is too insensitive, go ahead and delete it, and send me an email.)

Or do ya'll think I'm making too much of a stretch to connect Germany's tolerance/promotion of prostitution to the church's active distribution of harmful foods that lead to diabetes, other obesity-related diseases, and death?

Am I the only one who's outraged at seeing a morbidly obese person with sausage, bags of sugar, and cake-mix in their cart at the storehouse?

You're all tsk-tsk-ing over what's going on in Germany. But in the meantime our own government smiles approvingly upon the life-destroying vices of gambling and tobacco while giddily counting the tax revenues from them. Lotteries generate huge revenues when the state keeps its "take", and again by taxing the winners' jackpots. Lottery tickets are purchased with after-tax dollars, so in effect it's TRIPLE-taxed!

And there are some studies that indicate that lotteries in some states cost more than the revenues generated because of the social costs (financial ruin, and broken families) of gambling addiction.

And our own church hands out harmful foods with which a percentage of the recipients are using to slowly commit suicide.

Sorry for the rant. I'm in a mood.

Bro. Brandon B. said...

Bookslinger:
Wow. Just wow.
I (think) I agree with you somewhat, but you might have muddled your point in your comment (long enought to justify an entire post - hey Jeff, think about a guest post-er here!). This is what I got: prostitution is evil, however the only reason of it's existance is the demand for it. No demand = no prostitutes. This can be shown in other "vice" industries legal and illegal, with gambling, drugs, alcohol, and indeed we as church members are guilty of supporting the vice of glutton.

I think that you are giving the 'demand'-side of the equation a little too much credit. Sure there are some industries that thrive because of demand that will always be there. Users of the vice will go to great lengths to aquire it. Prostitution is probably one. So is "hard" drug use. But I think that when they are illegal, and the supply is harder to come by - although it is still available to the truely desperate, many who are more "on the fence" or have addictive personalities don't seek it.

I think that the lottery is a good example of this. I think that if any gambling and lottery was made illegal, that a high percentage of gamblers would never do it again. Think of all the people who cassually buy lotto tickets week after week, office pools, stocking stuffers. Do you think all these casual 'because it's there' buyers would go to great lengths to purchace a black market pick-5? There would still be those souls that are truly addicted who would travel or find ways to gamble. But I think they represent a small percentage of gamblers over-all.

I think that by sanctioning an activity opens it up for greater use. Tobacco. Booze. "It's not a crime to smoke." "I'm not breaking a law..." it gives people an easy way to justify something that is spiritually detrimental. Now when a spiritual transgression is commited, I think that both parties MAY (not always) be held accountable for the event. I speculate that most drug dealers and their patrons will be held accountable for what they are doing. I think that in the case of prostitution many cases will hold the "demander" accountable more than the "supplier" in the event that she was forced into the profession. Some prostitutes ( I think high-end) probably will be held more accountable in specific circumstances. I can't say for sure... but this is what I think.

Summing it up: as you said no amount of laws will elliminate a crime such as prostitution. Where I digress is that it has the potential to greatly limit the amount that goes on. Here in PA where it is illegal, I don't think a fraction of prostitution happens as in Germany where they have "super-brothels". I do think that we suffer some crime because of it, like in Philly. But so be it. Sometimes doing the right thing is not always easy, and can even come at a greater price than giving in to the wrong.

Finnally, as to obesity in the church: it is a shame. I think that Bishops would do well to fight it where they can, in a loving manner. But I agree stongly with you in the respect that it is not fair for us to judge the individuals of the crime(or transgression). We have no authority to condemn and judge Germans, as that is power reserved for H.F.. However, we can always remain critical and fight against the power of Satan and the many temptations and traps he lays for our brothers and sisters. That is why I will always be opposed to gambling, pornography, prostitution, and many other things that are nothing but tricks and lies used by Lucifer.

Ryan said...

Alma, lecturing his son Corianton after he chased after the [prostitute] Isabel (Alma 42:17-22):

17 Now, how could a man repent except he should sin? How could he sin if there was no law? How could there be a law save there was a punishment?

18 Now, there was a punishment affixed, and a just law given, which brought remorse of conscience unto man.

19 Now, if there was no law given—if a man murdered he should die—would he be afraid he would die if he should murder?

20 And also, if there was no law given against sin men would not be afraid to sin.

21 And if there was no law given, if men sinned what could justice do, or mercy either, for they would have no claim upon the creature?

22 But there is a law given, and a punishment affixed, and a repentance granted; which repentance, mercy claimeth; otherwise, justice laimeth the creature and executeth the law, and the law inflicteth the punishment; if not so, the works of justice would be destroyed, and God would cease to be God.


Surely a book for our time...

Anonymous said...

Another downside to legalized prostitution in Germany--withholding of unemployment assistance because a woman refuses to take a job as a prositute, considered a valid profession by the government. I think it's reprehensible that the German goverment has a strong hand in forcing women into prostitution. It was in an article a I read a long time ago (sorry for the hearsay), but a woman on unemployment was threatened to have her unemployment taken away despite her search for a decent job because the only one available to her was in the sex industry, which she refused to take. The gov't couldn't see anything wrong with the job offer, after all, it was a valid one.

Téa said...

American Public Radio's Marketplace aired a report on a "creative solution" to move prostitutes into another profession by the Protestant Church. The story also references the increased demand for the World Cup.

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/05/03/PM200605038.html

The statistic that 1 million Germans have sex for money each day--whoa.

Téa said...

Sorry about that

Listen or read to the story here

Téa said...

Anonymous, the story about prostitution and the employment office is deemed false at Snopes.

Read their entry here

Anonymous said...

yeah, I probably should've checked snopes, but I read it so long ago. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Where do we (humans) get the authority to prevent willing adults from "conducting business"? Where do we get the authority to prevent an adult from harming themselves?

Is this authority derived from natural law? Directly from God (via prophets)?

If we indeed have this authority why are we not using (as mentioned above) to FORCEFULLY stop gluttony, or wasting time or wasting an education or wasting resources?