First they came…

Martin Niemoller on the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

A Call to Men

Presentation delivered by Brian, to a group of Men at a fundraiser for Servants Anonymous Foundation (safoundation.com).

Canada is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to human trafficking. No country, no city, no community is immune to the devastating consequences associated with human trafficking. Each year the United States of America puts out a Trafficking In Persons Report that critiques and rates each country’s response to this issue and for the past few years Alberta has been singled out as a place where individuals fall victim to the detrimental effects of trafficking. It is time we take a stance, as men, to stop human trafficking.

Trafficking for the purposes of sex is an industry that primarily caters to the male population and it takes courage as males to break away from the societal norm of indifference towards sex crimes and honestly protect our children and the women who have fallen victim to sex trafficking. No matter how much we convince ourselves that sex trafficking is primarily a female issue, it is not. No little girl grows up wanting to be a prostitute. No little boy grows up wanting to be a pimp. In today’s day and age, where there is so much chat with social media, texting, skype, blogs, and commentaries, talk and digital commentaries are all an illusion if we do not act on our beliefs and carry through on our promises.

We, as a society, no longer know what the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words” is when it comes to taking a stance against sex exploitation and sex trafficking.

As Alex Neve of Amnestry International once put it: Silence is not neutral, it is complicit. And yet we live in a culture that celebrates silence – we are taught at an early age not to ask and not to question.

No longer can we hide under the façade of the women’s rights movement and the Charter of Rights and Freedom.

The women’s right movement fails us when their activists march topless on the streets for shock value and media attention. Using sexuality to advocate against sex crimes only sends a mixed message to the global masses.

The women’s right movement fails us when women who are labeled by our Calgary community as influential leaders tell me that they never thought that prostitution was a problem in Calgary.

The women’s right movement fails us when sporting events encourage women to wear provocative clothing when they are in front of thousand of fans. The Calgary Flames organization is guilty of this when they have women in provocative clothing scraping the ice at their so-called family event hockey games. Funny thing, what are the men wearing when they scrap the ice? Full track suits.

The Charter of Rights and Freedom fails us when each year at least 800 people are trafficked into Canada and 1500 – 2000 people are trafficked from Canada to the United States.

So tell me: where is the action against sexual exploitation and sex trafficking or is it all a façade?

Our own justice system is failing us and elected politicians are putting personal motives first when they vote on bills pertaining to the criminal code.

It was only a few weeks ago that the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that laws against brothels are unconstitutional. Advocates rejoiced and argued that private clubs (bawdy houses) will offer a safe and social setting for clients and sex workers. Vancouver-based advocates further plead the case to the media that there is an urgent need for indoor brothels to be located and funded on the Downtown Eastside. Government-funded brothels? Do you want your tax dollars funding brothels?

When the Netherlands fully legalized prostitution and brothels in 2000, under the same argument of increasing the safety and protection of sex workers, it only took 6 years for the country to see a 60% increase in physical assaults against prostitutes and 40% increase in sexual violence against prostitutes. Human trafficking in the Netherlands continues to be on the rise and reports show a substantial increase in the number of victims from Hungary and China. Many victims of human trafficking in the Netherlands are prey of organized crime, which is quite apparent when reports state that 96% of prostitutes are working illegally in the sex trade. This trend associated with legalizing prostitution is not unique to Netherlands, it has also been apparent in Australia and Scotland. Is this a fate that we want for our country?

On March 30, 2012, the NDP prevent debate on Bill C-310, an act to amend the criminal code, specific to human trafficking in Canada. There was unanimous support for this Bill through the first and second readings, however their very actions will now delay the passing of this Bill.

We can intellectualize and rationalize that as an individual living in North America we are above human rights issues, but by the very act of living in North America, we are guilty of indifference. Indifferent to societal oppression; indifferent to the poor and hungry; and indifferent to humanity

Social media has made us indifferent to the point that we focus solely on the self. In a push of a button we can delete a friend or block someone that does not support our self-image. We post pictures of ourselves on blogs and albums for the world to see. We use Facebook and Twitter accounts to tell the world what we are doing at this very minute. Or we do what Wayne Gretzky’s daughter does and post provocative images of ourselves on the Internet because we want everyone in the world to look how hot and beautiful we are. We spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist and Backpage, not even realizing that each of these social media outlets are falling prey to the avails of sex trafficking.

The use of sex in the social media can help sell anything and generate huge profit, so tell me, how much profit are you willing to make off your son and daughter in the sex industry? How long will you allow sexual exploitation and sex trafficking continue?

It is in the here and now that we, as men, need to become empowered to act on what is right and just. We as men, the greatest consumers of the sex industry, need to make a decision to boycott human trafficking for sexual purposes and to have the “BALLS” to act out against sex trafficking.

We are called in Isaiah 1 verse 17 to: Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.

I have pledged to do this and by you being here today to you are supporting the SA Foundation whose sole purpose is to help victims of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking to recover from their unjust experiences. Thank you for participating in this fundraising event, thank you for taking the steps towards abolishing sex trafficking, and I hope that, as a male, you continue to stand against the indifference of this world and do what is right and just for the betterment of humanity.

Now is the time to make j…

Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
We cannot walk alone.
We cannot turn back.
I have a dream today!

Martin Luther King (Excepts from ‘I Have a Dream’, delivered Aug 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC.

Dear Citizens of Canada

This letter was written by Gloria to educate and empower Canadians about prostitution in Canada. To provide a different perspective on prostitution…it is a form of oppression that violates life, liberty, security and equality.

On August 29, 1963, 200,000 individuals marched towards the Lincoln Memorial to listen to Martin Luther King Jr. deliver one of the most compelling speeches of the 20th century. King’s speech reiterated the promises of equality and the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to all Americans under the directives of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence. Martin Luther King had a dream of equality and freedom for the oppressed.

In Canada, our own Constitution equally guarantees to male and female persons, “the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof.” However, those who find themselves destitute and forced into sexual oppression are faced with wondering whether these principals are truly reflected in a society where sexual submission to an unknown individual is acceptable legally and morally, so long as there is an exchange of money.

It is futile to believe that there is no urgency at this moment and that the very foundations of equality and freedom do not apply to those who are sexually oppressed. It was only a few months ago that three sex worker advocates convinced a judge that their safety was being compromised because they were not allowed to establish indoor places to sell sex, hire personnel with their prostitution earnings, and engage in sexually explicit communication in public. From these proceedings, the laws criminalizing prostitution-related activities in Canada were struck down.

Although prostitution is not a crime in Canada, Parliament has chosen to curtail prostitution indirectly by criminalizing prostitution-related activities. As such, Parliament’s response focused on preventing the exploitation of those engaging in prostitution and to protect members of the community who are not involved in prostitution. Therefore, the legislation criminalized: a) the operation of a common bawdy house (a place for purposes of prostitution or acts of indecency); b) anyone who lives, wholly or in part, off the avails of prostitution of another person; c) communicating in public for the purposes of engaging in prostitution or obtaining sexual services. Currently, Canadians wait in uncertainty for the Supreme Court of Canada and the Government to review the legislation involving prostitution.

The sale of sex is a multi-billion dollar industry, which is linked to international organized crime. So long as the demand for sex servitude continues to prosper, so will the number of humans trafficked around the world for sex increase. Placing victims of sexual oppression indoors and behind hired security staff only conceals the horrific acts of sexual violence that individuals will submit to and endure. Allowing open public communication and recruitment for sex servitude desensitizes the youngest members of society to the true value of life, liberty, security and equality. The stark reality of prostitution was best described by the 16th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, when he conveyed it as “a form of violence against women, related to men’s historical dominance over women.”

We have come to live in a society where the principals of life, liberty, security, and equality are taken for granted. Where the fight for these principals have been clouded with images of sexual liberation. As those who are sexually liberated continue to provide an entertaining spectacle for all to watch, the clouds will become a thick fog. So much so that we no longer see the victims of sexual oppression being driven into exile in a country that prides itself as free and democratic.

Martin Luther King had a dream of equality and freedom for the oppressed. Therefore, let us come to live in this dream by breaking through the thick fog as a beacon of light and hope for those who find themselves destitute and victimized by sexual submission and servitude. As Canadians we have the responsibility for ensuring that the true values of life, liberty, security, and equality resound throughout all corners of this country, to teach these values to our younger generations, and to lift up those who have fallen victim to sexual oppression into a “sweet land of liberty” and equality.