Colette Bercu, founder and president of Free For Life Ministries (an abolitionist organization financially assisting groups around the world trying to free slaves) received a report from the Salvation Army regarding a T-shirt produced by The Onion website. After substantiating the validity of the report, Colette put out the call for an immediate protest. The t-shirts read as follows:
"I Went to Thailand and all I got was this lousy prostitute"
"I Went to Thailand and all I got was this lousy KIDNAPPED prostitute"
I'm disgusted. I'm in no way surprised but I am certainly disgusted. The Thai people certainly have no need of such filth against their nation or culture. And if anyone with half a brain knew just exactly the conditions these men, women and children are being forced to live in, perhaps the shirts wouldn't seem so funny.
But today, all things sex are hysterical. An absolute riot. I'd like to meet the genius who sat around the table with his (or her) t-shirt slogan writing buddies and came up with this. You put in a hard day's work and this is what you come up with? That's university education for you. Kudos.
The following letter was one I wrote in protest of the t-shirts. Yes… I realize it is just one letter and the person receiving it will almost instantly hit the DELETE button, but if we all keep silent then no email accounts will be overloaded with protests. No voice will be heard at all.
Dear Ms. Richardson,
"I went to Thailand and all I got was this lousy prostitute"
"I went to Thailand and all I got was this lousy kidnapped prostitute"
Does your company have any idea how descpicable those words are? Beyond making money, do you even care what effect your words have on other people?
I am an abolitionist. I work hard to free men, women and children from slavery around the world — including sex slavery. Thailand has long been struggling with deep rooted isses other than prostitution, such as poverty and natural and political upheaval. I would ask that you see the Thai people — all of of them — as PEOPLE. Not as offensive slogans for men to strut around in, finding it funny.
If you looked into the life of the average 'lousy prostitute' you would find serious malnourishment… multiple rapes… beatings… diseases… psychological damage almost past hope… real women who never chose for themselves the life they are in. I don't know who told you how the Thai people enter the sex trade, but apparently you and your company finds it hilarious. But hey! Whatever turns a profit for you in these tough economic times, right?
Please, if you have any decency at all, you will immediately pull this t-shirt and any of similar style/slogan off of your shelves. Trying to rescue victims is hard enough. Neither we nor they (the victims) need ignorant North Americans playing into the lie that Thailand is a sexual playground for anyone with cash can saunter in and exploit. That mentality has, is and will continue to destroy the lives of people as young as three years old. Yes… THREE. The younger the prostitute, the less need for a condom (which inhibits pleasure to a degree) because children are less likely to have an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection).
Pull the shirts from your shelves. They're disgusting and yet another blot on your company's record.
I am well aware of the freedom of the press… of the dangers of censorship… our freedom to speak what we wish to speak. But I implore you to see the danger in abysmal material like this. Romans 12:1-2 is absolutely clear that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Flaunting jokes about lousy Thai pros is NOT renewal. It is filth. On another note, the shirts themselves are probably not Fair Trade either.
The truth becomes us far better. Let's wear that. And then let's see the change that happens…