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.