And so it begins…
The Harper government, for all of its flaws (hey, I voted Green), has done a lot of work in the past few years to draw attention to this issue of human trafficking both domestically and abroad. Mandatory sentencing for child traffickers, legal charges against those engaging in child sex tourism overseas… we've kept abreast of such activity.
We've also seen the MMA battle between the Canadian federal government and the Province of Ontario, now that Ontario has made all forms of prostitution legal… for now.
It was only a matter of time before the collision of political posturing and of values exploded all over the nation. We've already seen teenage girls pimping other girls to grown up men for profit, without any apparent coercion from adult influences.
Now we are seeing legal recruitment target at girls for exotic dancing in Ontario high schools (click on link above). Without legal visas now to fall back on, strip clubs cannot bring in foreign girls to entertain clientele. They need to look closer to home.
1. I'm glad exotic visas are harder to come by, but I hear the panic in the voices of those interviewed in the article: what are they to do now without money to send back to families? Is there room in the compassion world for that?
2. As a feminist, I'm also a Christ-follower and I firmly believe that a woman is equal to a man in all things. Why is this hard-target ad campaign being aimed at girls out of high school? Where are the boys? Oh… I forgot. Men are still the #1 clients of strip clubs, so women's bodies are still the #1 commodity. Men are still pulling the purse strings, having both genders believing it's a good thing for a woman to openly express her sexuality to whomever she wants to. Back off, boys. We weren't made for your lust. Women, choose well how you wish to live your life, but I can assure you selling your body for another's pleasure is not an example of freedom. It's buying into a lie.
3. Church, step up. I cannot emphasize this enough. With the modern-slave trade being chased underground, the government cannot hope to curtail it all by itself. Nor should it have to. I fully agree with the tone underlying these changes to laws: where will human trafficking go to next if not to visas? If we stay the hand of the powers that be from recruiting from high schools, where will the trade go next? If we don't keep a pulse on the patterns and behaviours of slavery, we will lose perspective on the needs of all parties involved: victims, perps, johns, community members, politicians, law enforcement.
Go ahead and call me a prude if you wish for finding high school recruitment to exotic dancing disgusting and a total slam on the beauty and intelligence of women, but I've never pretended to believe anything different.
The question is now: how will we respond with compassion to those who think differently, and to those who are not given the opportunity to think at all, but are rather pressed into submission witin the trade?