The Last Insult

5 Aug

On 7th August, 2015 Amnesty International will have their congress meeting in Dublin, Ireland, my home town.  At this meeting they will take a vote on whether to endorse decriminalising pimping and brothel-keeping. As a survivor of prostitution, I wrote this to remind Amnesty of the harsh realities of the sex trade from a very personal place. You will understand just how personal when you read it.

The Last Insult

In December, 2005, my friend and I were bought and brought to a hotel complex.  We were paid by a group of eight men, to “entertain” them on their Christmas night out. That “entertainment” evolved into mayhem, the result of this held to the gang-rape of me and my friend. The events of that night were to change the way I saw the world forever and they took the life of my friend, a 27yr old woman named Jenny who had a beautiful young son whom she adored.

Jenny was a friendly, bright, kind person and an extremely loyal friend.  And although heroin had controlled her life for some years, she had been making positive steps to get her life back.  She had moved out of Dublin, she had stabilized on methadone and most importantly (and something she was so proud and happy about) was that she had regained visitation rights to her only child.  That night before the men took us to the hotel, her whole face lit up, whenever she spoke about her son.  She had only come down to Dublin to make some money to buy him some special gifts for Christmas. That Christmas would turn out to be her very last.

I have spoken publicly about the rapes that were committed that night on many occasions. I can find no justification for those crimes and; I believe that no one is able to justify such human wickedness.  Amnesty would agree with me I am sure, and would fight alongside me to find justice if I asked.  This is confusing to me and it makes no sense because on the other hand they are prepared to sanction the behavior that led to this crime. They are prepared to endorse the purchase of human beings for sex and they are fully prepared to ignore the conditions which are present in all cases; the conditions under which rape, beatings, torture and murder occur. Those conditions can never be policed and those who are purchased can never be offered any protection as there is no way of knowing if or when it is going to happen. The only right and humane thing to do is to stop these conditions being set up in the first place and that is by banning the purchase of human beings for sex.

But maybe you have to be present. Maybe you have to witness the rape of another with your own eyes, be in the same room, be less than ten foot away from your friend as she is being violently abused and you can do nothing to help her because you are held down. Because your own body is being mauled at and violated by others in a heinous way.  You plead, you beg, you cry, you offer yourself to the few that are attacking her in the hope that her pain will cease.  You watch as her eyes sink into the back of her head, as the last shred of her dignity is removed.  Jenny didn’t die that night, and yet she did, because she spent the next couple of months in a drug haze until she overdosed and died all alone.

 The largest human rights organization in the world, Amnesty International, is about to take a vote on prostitution policy at the very same Dublin hotel complex Jenny and I were taken to and tortured; Citywest.  The proposal they apparently intend to endorse would bestow a life sentence of sexual exploitation and rape to many around the world.

My call is to the Amnesty members who have come to the same conclusion as I have, members who joined an organization to help approve the lives of others, and who would appear to have no voice or they are choosing to remain silent.  Remember, Amnesty does not belong to the elite board members, it belongs to you and its reputation and name is in your hands also.  Martin Luther King stated that history will recall not the actions of our enemy but more the silence of our friends, he was right, because out of the eight men that were present that night in 2005, one of them never laid a hand on either of us and his is the only face I can recall.

Those Amnesty members must stand up and speak out, even if you are the only one standing. You will then be able to leave the Citywest complex; knowing that you took no part in sanctioning the heinous crime which happened there, and you will be able to hold your head high knowing that you actually stood on the side of human dignity and, despite objections, you were prepared to fight for its protection.  Amnesty, a human rights organization, is in danger of committing a grave act of cruelty. They will also be handing out an extremely painful last insult to my friend Jenny.

In Loving Memory of my beautiful friend Jenny xx

Two Hours to Freedom

13 Jun

On the 1st June, 2015, purchasing a human being for sex was made a criminal offence in Northern Ireland.  It was an historic day and a great victory for humanity.  I was invited by Lord Morrow to speak at an event which marked this remarkable day, one of the proudest days of my life and these are the words I spoke.

Stormont, Belfast

1st June, 2015.

Two hours to Freedom

Two hours, two hours was all it took for me to be in a beautiful city where I can now walk and feel truly free as a woman; because from today in Northern Ireland women and girls are no longer for sale.  I had made this same two hour journey 16mths ago, I came to Belfast to bare witness to a crime that had gone unpunished for far too long but that is no longer the case here.

I had once been on a very different journey, I had gone from being a respected civil servant with a responsible job and all that goes with that life and then my life with the help of some very bad decisions on my part which led me to become addicted to heroin and then I descended into a cruel and very disturbing world, a world I had only ever seen in the movies, a world I still struggle to understand, that world was prostitution.  It was quite surreal at times when I thought about how in the space of two years I had gone from having my own office to selling myself for as little as 30euros on a street, so I didn’t think about too often.  I spent nearly six years of my life in that cruel world and I can find no justification for what I witnessed.  The violence and rape that happens in prostitution to which I bore witness to in this very building is frightening and disturbing but I had to let you know.  And any system or industry which allows the violent sexual crime of rape to thrive should be shut down, it shouldn’t even have to be debated.  Martin Lurther King stated that the laws are not made to change the heart but to restrain the heartless.

I walked off the Burlington Road, on the 10th October, 2010 with the help of a social worker, I knew I would never go back but I didn’t know if I had enough strength inside me to make it back to this world but somehow with the help of many I made it.  Some of my friends on the street had figured that if anyone was to make it off that street that it would be me, they were right and believe me, given the disturbing statistics I truly know how lucky I am and because of that I now believe that I have an absolute responsibility to ensure in whatever way I can that the true face of prostitution is made visible.

I also believe that it is the responsibility of all humans to try in whatever way that we can to leave this world a better and safer place for the next generation.  This responsibility lays especially with us, the ones who have been afforded opportunities and educations that many can only dream of.  I say this not to evoke a sense of guilt or as a request for sympathy for those we might consider less fortunate then us, for those feelings will change nothing, but more I seek empathy and a sense of compassion, the successful ingredients for sustained hope and positive social change, and also that we remember that there are many on this Island that life has not been good or kind to.

Lord Morrow it is a great pleasure to meet you today for I have longed to shake your hand for some time now.  I wanted to shake the hand of the person who was brave enough to stand up for those who have no voice, you knew there would be challenges but neither insult nor argument deterred you from your ultimate goal which was justice, in its truest form.  I, much like you flatly refuse to renounce my moral autonomy even in the face of adversity.  You are indeed a remarkable example of what it means to be both a good citizen and a good human being, which unfortunately can be a rarity within the political arena and yet it is the one crucial place where voices such as yours are needed.

A commend and thank the Justice committee for making this Bill a reality, you listened, you heard, you made your decision and you acted on it immediately that is good governance and it is not the first time that Northern Ireland has shown a great example to the world.  That when human dignity is in jeopardy and freedom is at stake, political differences and national sensitivities become irrelevant.  And I also applaud and commend the PSNI (Police Service Northern Ireland) for being willing and open to becoming part of Europe’s elite and special defenders of human dignity and protectors of freedom.

This law is one I profoundly believe in and as such was one I was prepared to fight for.  My question to Ireland was always do we respect human dignity enough for us to assume responsibility for its protection. Bodily integrity is of course at the heart of human dignity and I do not believe that we should get to pick whose body integrity we choose to protect, as all humans are equal and as such all humans should be afforded the same rights and protection.  This law is about the protection of human dignity, and valuing human dignity above other values finally recognizes it to be among the most resourceful of values, one that can motivate when all else fails and on this issue all else has failed so I am very proud that Ireland both north and south is now placing it first.  This law is about the protection of freedom and there are some laws that they in themselves bring freedom and this is most definitely one of them.  Because really the only difference between every woman in this room and all the women and girls who are up for sale today is circumstances and if my life is testament to anything, it’s to the fact that they can change.

It is my firm belief that everybody on this Island be they born here or not is entitled to live a dignified life, and prostitution is the systematic stripping of one’s human dignity and I know that because I have lived and witnessed it, and it must no longer be tolerated and now in Northern Ireland the next generation of girls, will grow up knowing that the bodies to which they have been born into are respected and at no time will they ever be up for sale.

I leave you now with the same words I finished my submission with, rhetorical yes but absolute truth and those words are, that at any moment, anyone can do something to make the world a better place, today 1st June, 2015 Northern Ireland, you did that something.

And my heartfelt thanks to you all.

Mia de Faoite

Welcome to My Truth Paris

9 Feb

On the 12th November, 2014 I attended and spoke at the CAP International conference held at the National Assembly in Paris, France.  I, along with four other survivors got to address the audience, this is my address.  The only thing worse then everybody knowing the following information is the thought of nobody ever knowing.

WELCOME TO MY TRUTH PARIS

Bonjour, je mapelle Mia et je pense donc je suis, for I will never deny where heroin and prostitution brought me but I refuse to let it define who I am today, because if it defines me, it becomes me and it is not all I am.

The purchase of another human being for sex, it is not and never has been the purchase of sex,  because neither I nor any of the other women stand on the street or in the brothels with our genitalia and our mouths and throats in neatly wrapped packages which you could borrow and return to us. No, I had to go with them, you had to talk to me first, my mind was present the whole time.

You always have to buy the person before you gain access to their body.   The first principle of equality as I heard Simon Haggstrom, one of Europe’s leading protectors of human dignity describe is that no human being should have control over the body of another human being, and that is what prostitution is.

My first experience of violence was extreme as it came in the form of a gang rape that lasted for what seemed like forever, and in many ways it will, for from that night on, I no longer lived, I just existed and in a world I could no longer comprehend, I could no longer make sense of.

I left a building with a bruised body and face, smelling of urine and bleeding from my rectum.  do you now understand how I couldn’t see the choices anymore, and the only reason I coped was through disassociation, the young woman who was with me that night did not survive, her drug use spiralled out of control and she died alone of an overdose about 2mths later.  To many her death would be just another sad statistic but to me her life will always be of value.  The events of that night exposed me to such human wickedness, but apart from my own endurance, it tore me apart to witness what was left of a young 27yr old woman’s sanity disappear before my very eyes, and there is a little boy who will now grow up never knowing just how hard his mother was trying to get away, he will never know how kind and wonderful she was, prostitution has robbed him of that and from countless other children as well.

My next rape was a year or so later by a lone offender off the street where I stood, the next I’m not sure if I can call it rape,  it happened the same night, I was sitting on the ground on the street after the attack, my money and my phone had also been taken, just sitting disorientated and alone, with an aching body and a struggling mind, when a regular of mine pulled up, he got out of the car, picked me up and offered to drive me home, I told him what had happened and he even stopped and bought me a coffee but just before we reached my home, he pulled in and reminded me that I had no money to pay him,  but that I could sort him out, I didn’t even argue, I just leaned back and let him, so what do you call that, someone who has sex with a woman they know has been raped about an hour or so beforehand.

My last rape was by two young men, high on cocaine, one watched while the other did it but to me he is just as guilty.  I have countless accounts of humiliations, being urinated on, etc. of oral rape, in fact I have no gag reflex, the muscles at the back of your throat learn to relax, and they have to.

We are already considered the lowest of the low, what I am trying to say is if you set up the conditions for rape, it will happen, I don’t mean myself and my friend alone in a appt with 8 men, we as prostituted women are a prime target for any buyer who wants to fulfil the violent sexual crime of rape only with us they can do it and get away with it and both society and the laws that govern it play a major role in keeping it that way, and it will remain un-punishable while it remains legal to buy another human being in the first place.  So, now for me heroin had become a lifeline to cope with being bought, where it began with selling myself to cope with heroin, welcome to the paradox, that so very few of us escape from.  I am one of the lucky few.

We exist out there underneath a shadow of the constant threat of violence, a dark cloud of fear hovers around us permanently, but it is the fear as Aristotle would describe, where fear is the pain you feel on the anticipation of the arrival of evil and in prostitution that evil arrives all too often but the most frightening thing about this kind of fear is that it is state sanctioned.

Prostitution and Sex trafficking are intrinsically linked, you have one because of the other.  For the last 18mths of my time on the street, I stood alongside a trafficked woman, she became my closest friend and I have never seen a human being so broken down.  The conditions under which she lived were so inhumane and she had developed a twisted sense of loyalty to her controller,  that someone had trafficked her from home, right across Europe and finally landing in Ireland, at this stage she had been completely broken down, his control was all that she knew, he would beat her if she was challenging, kept her passport, she was put out on the street at 6pm and she stayed there until 5a/m every night, she was addicted to crack cocaine and he was the dealer, she had to return with every 100 euro’s, she made nothing.  But although we had arrived at the same place through different means we are connected because we were bought, used, exploited, humiliated and raped by the same buyers, one night I would be bought and a few nights later the same man could buy her and on a couple of occasions we were bought together, and that connection can never be broken by anyone, at any time, in any country.

I use to think that as bad and as disconnected as my own life was at least I got to go home at night, but I find it unimaginable to think of what it must be like to be in a country where you know no one and maybe you don’t even speak the same language.

I will end the story of my African friend with one of the saddest things I ever seen and for me it puts it all into perspective, I was at home one night alone, as my daughter had become ill and needed some in-patient care, my phone rang, there had been a row between her, her trafficker and another girl.  I told her to come to my home as I was on my own; I had always kept home and the street completely separate.

She arrived, crying uncontrollably, I’d never seen her so upset; I hugged her and checked her wounds, as she had blood all over her hands, but thankfully everything was superficial.  It doesn’t really matter what the fight was about, control, drugs, etc.  I made her coffee and we had a cigarette together.  I said I would run her a bath as she looked exhausted.  I ran the bath and called her in.  I left her to relax and went in the other room, I was closing my window, when she called me, I turned around and what I saw shocked me to the core, for there in front of me my friend stood naked, but she had the body of a child, her rips stuck out, there were no breasts, it was covered in old bruises, new bruises, scratches, she looked like someone who’d just been released from a concentration camp, my eyes welled up but I didn’t want her to see me cry, so I brought her into the bathroom again, she had called me to wash her hair as her arms were sore, I washed her hair, took her out of the bath, and she sat in between my legs on the floor as I brushed and blow-dried her hair, she was humming just like a child, I put her to bed and sat beside her until she fell asleep. And then I cried for the lost child I had just put to bed, I’ll never forget the image I saw that night but this was not a concentration camp, in Poland in 1945, this was my apartment, Dublin, 2010, there was no war but there is no law to protect either.

Protecting the good citizen, I believe this is where some people struggle because for the most part the men who buy human beings for sex are exactly that, they are good citizen’s, in that they are in gainful employment, so they pay their taxes, they pay their rent or buy homes with their partners, they have 2.4 children, they tick every box the society deems to be correct, so we allow them this little indulgence, how we allow it is again through silence and keeping it legal.  For the men who bought me and all the other women, the men that feed this twisted industry, they walk among you everyday, they are fathers, husbands, colleagues etc. we don’t want to acknowledge that the good citizen can behave like a bad human being, I understand that fear, for we hate to upset societies little applecart but at who’s expense do we do that!

I, on the other hand would be viewed as a bad citizen, I didn’t have a job, I was supported by the state, I was a heroin addict and worst of all, I stood on a public street displaying my wears, luring these good citizens to me, as if they had no choice.  But I am a good human being, I always have been.  This is the balance you must find between the good citizen and the good human being and which one of us comes first in the queue for protection.

So how do we ensure that that happens, well we follow Sweden’s lead, Sweden placed human dignity first.  They fully understand the concept of human dignity, which is the value and respect we place on one another as humans being.  What happens when we place human dignity first, as Sweden has proved beyond doubt is that the good triumphs, where as in countries that have placed it last, evil thrives, as is abundantly evident in the countries that have either decriminalised, legalised and under torrelating regimes.  That evil is both human trafficking and the place where vulnerable women and children are trafficked into, which is prostitution, where they join the addicted, disconnected and damaged women like myself who are also trapped but in a different way, to service the wants of a particular group of men.

I do believe that most evils in the world are committed by nobodies, and further more I believe it is now time that the nobodies where brought to bear and made accountable and responsible for the cruel industry and slave trade they willingly sustain and uphold, in fact it only exists because of them.  I would like nothing more than for the police who tried but in vain to protect me to be given the green light to do exactly that, to be given the powers and legislation that will fine offenders, jail the real pimps and coercers and send out a clear message to the traffickers that women are no longer for sale because there is no anti-trafficking law which is more powerful than getting the use of another man’s slave.

This law is about the protection of the most vulnerable human beings, many of whom are being rescued with bar codes and bondage debt’s tattooed to their bodies, I do not believe that Europe’s memory is that short.  This law is about the protection of human dignity and freedom, and when human dignity is in jeopardy and human lives are endangered, political differences and sensitivities become irrelevant.

The one sure thing that six years of deeply personal anthropological insight into sexual exploitation has thought me is that prostitution is not compatible with humanity and we either choose one or the other.

An Open Letter to Ireland

26 Sep

I wrote this letter as response to a couple of things, one I had been given a short assignment in college to pick one Right from the Declaration of Human Rights and write a brief account of where I felt our country, Ireland was in breach of that Right.  Having only escaped prostitution about 14mths previous to this, Article 4 was the only one my mind could possibly focus on.

I had also once tried to get a dear friend of mine out of the country and back to her homeland.  We had managed to retrieve her passport and she stayed with me until we could organise a flight.  During that week I spoke to a relative of hers to let them know that she would be returning and what the arrangements were.  I will always remember their voice and words.  My friend never got on that flight, the pimp got to her first.  This assignment made me think of that heartbreaking moment for her and her family.

I have a daughter and I wondered how unimaginable it would be if she was trapped in another country to be sexually exploited every day.  What would I do? we all watch the movie “Taken” and believe that that would be how we would react but not all fathers have the “particular set of skills” needed to retrieve their daughters.  So I thought about what if I was one of the many fathers with lost daughters  and what would I say to the country holding her captive and below are those words….

 

Dear Ireland,

I am writing this letter out of shear desperation, as Ireland you have something belonging to me, something so precious and loved by me and that is my daughter.  She is only 18 and left her home to start a new life in Ireland, but Ireland you didn’t give her the dream of a new life, you gave her a nightmare.  For you committed the ultimate crime Ireland, you took her freedom, you took everything she once was, for Ireland you are holding my dear daughter captive so she can service the men of your country.

What have you become Ireland that you allow this happen, what has happened the men of your country that they have turned Ireland into a multi-million euro sex haven, such is Ireland’s appetite for sex, that it now tolerates and allows our daughters to be bought in to satisfy these needs and in doing so our daughters, lose their human rights, and are violated, raped, exploited.  Oh Ireland this pain is so deep for me, never did I imagine watching my little girl grow up, that she could be taken from me in such a vile way and by a country I once admired.

I need to ask you a question Ireland and I need you to answer it honestly please, do you think that if it was evil men from America enslaving young American girls in Ireland, do you think it would be tolerated, do you think America would tolerate it, is that it Ireland, is it that you only enslave the daughters, sisters, mothers and loved ones of the countries that hold no power, are of no value to you.   Please tell me that it isn’t true Ireland, please show me that I am wrong in my thinking of you.

In 1948 Ireland you signed an agreement, a Declaration of Human Rights, why did you sign it?  Article 4: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.  Again I ask you Ireland, why did you sign it, if you don’t believe it, if you can’t stand by it, you lied Ireland, you lied.

But there are now good Irish men and women, standing up to what has happened Ireland, they want to stop this, they want to return our daughters, they want to protect them and they want to make the people who have committed these crimes against our daughters pay.  Ireland you must standby your police, who have wanted to stop this slavery for so long but their hands have been tied, please untie their hands and let them protect my child.  I’m calling on, begging the good men in Ireland to hear me, to help me, to stand up and let the rest of Ireland know that this sexual slavery cannot and will not be allowed to continue.

Mr. President of Ireland, I have heard that you are a good man, who has insight and  knowledge into your country, more than any president that has gone before you, you have fought for justice, equality  and freedom your whole life.  What has happened Ireland Mr.President?  A country that fought for its own freedom and now allows the freedom of young women to be robbed, how has it happened, how?  I speak to you not as a president but as one father to another, as a father can you imagine my pain, I can no longer sleep, when I know my child is kept up night after night in Ireland, in pain, alone, afraid, lost and abused by Irish men.  Oh please Mr. President I beg you, speak to your government, tell them to change the law so my daughter can be placed in the arms of the good Irish people.

Ireland you are now aware of what is happening in your country, your reporter showed you what our daughters are subjected too, I now place my beloved daughters life in your hands and can only pray you will save her and return her home, I realise that the daughter that left will not be the same one returning, Ireland has made sure of that.  I must go now Ireland, as my heart is heavy and my tears are stinging my face, please Ireland if you have any humanity at all, you will stop this, if you don’t Ireland, I’m afraid I will never be able to forgive you, for you have stolen the most precious thing in a father’s life, his daughter.

Mia De Faoite,

On behalf of every father, brother, uncle, son and loved one of the young women who Ireland is keeping enslaved.

Prostitution and Sex-trafficking: An analytic truth

5 May

Prostitution and sex-trafficking are intrinsically linked; you have one because of the other. Our deep connection is through the demand for our bodies because we are bought, used, exploited, humiliated and raped by the same offenders and that cruel bond can never be broken by anyone, at any time, in any county. Though some policy makers, governments and radical academics will do their best to try to disconnect us but their denial of the truth is both futile and illogical, it is an analytic truth and for it is only the fool that does not acknowledge that.

For nearly eighteen months I stood alongside a trafficked woman, we became extremely close although we met in secret, as she was always under the watchful eye of her master.  I have never met a woman so broken down and as much as I loved and cared for her, I could not break the unhealthy attachment or twisted sense of loyalty she had for her controller.  She would defend him if he beat her, she was at times desperate to please him and yet something inside her longed to be free but freedom was a concept she had lost all sense of.

I tried to help her escape and took her to my home and that first night I will never forget, I said I would run her a bath as she looked exhausted.  I ran the bath, left out a towel and called her in.  I left her to relax and went in the other room, I was closing the window, when she called me, I turned around and what I saw shocked me to the core, for there in front of me my friend stood naked, but she had the body of a child, her rips stuck out, there were no breasts, it was covered in old bruises, new bruises, scratches, she looked like someone who’d just been released from a concentration camp, my eyes welled up but I did not want her to see me cry, so I brought her into the bathroom again, she had called me to wash her hair for her as her arms were sore, I washed her hair, took her out of the bath, and she sat in between my legs on the floor as I brushed and blow-dried her hair, she was humming just like a child, I put her to bed and sat beside her until she fell asleep. And then I cried and cried for the lost child I had just put to bed, I’ll never forget the image I saw but this was nott a concentration camp, in Poland in 1945, this was my apartment, Dublin, 2010, there is no war but there is no law to protect either.

My lost friend returned to her master, she had only tasted freedom for five days and could not understand it, she could no longer think for herself.  The one and only thing that removed my friend’s freedom was prostitution, we can blame the traffickers and pimps but they only exist because of the offenders, men who believe they have a right to buy other human beings.

Some months ago I went on an outing to Dublin Zoo with the survivors of prostitution and sex-trafficking and their children.  We had stopped to see the giraffe’s, they have a new enclosure since I’d last been there and a new baby giraffe.  I picked my friends little girl up to show her, they’re giraffes I said and they come all the way from Africa, she was not that bothered, she like all toddlers was more concerned with trying to climb the fence.

But I looked back around at the giraffe’s, beautiful, graceful creatures from Africa, and then it occurred to me, we bring these animals to our country so that children get to see them. We treat them so well, give them the appropriate shelter, food and settings so they can grow, be healthy and happy, and rightly so.  But they are not the only thing that we now import to Ireland, for we now import women and children from Africa to satisfy the needs of a certain type of man and it is not to be admired and treated with respect like the giraffe’s, oh no it is for very different reasons and none of them have anything to do with admiration and respect.  I picked up that little girl again, I hugged her and kissed her cheek and I apologized to her on behalf of my country, I apologized for what has happened to her beautiful mother but I told her things were about to change.  I felt such shame but it was not the toxic shame, we as prostituted women live with, no this was different, this was shame for my homeland.

Silence is golden, they say, no it is not, peace and serenity is golden, silence can be deadly.  Why has Ireland stayed silent for so long regarding the purchase of human beings for sex because it places a different value on women like me and a different value on the women that are trafficked into this country.  It is something most people would not admit to, placing the value of one woman over another, sometimes they don’t even see it.  But I only have to think what would be happening if the women were being trafficked in from America or Germany, do you think we would tolerated it then, I think not, so if I was a woman born to a “respectable” family from Manhattan, I would be rescued, supported and returned home safely, for America is of great value to us, but if I am born into poverty, uneducated and tricked into coming here from a Eastern European country, I am not entitled to the same treatment because that country is of no value to us, how do we decide this, what right do we have to decide which human being is more valuable than the other.

Human trafficking is the modern day slavery and sexual slavery is the most appalling of crimes, for it removes human beings of all their human rights and dignity.  To do nothing is to play an active role in it happening.  The world over is waking up to this, my country has no choice but to stand up to it.  For freedom is something Ireland had to fight for itself, so we should have no struggle with fighting to protect the freedom of others, no matter what country they come from.

Prostitution is, was and always will be an absolute affront to human dignity and I know that because I have lived it.  Just two and a half years ago I stood on a lonely street having been stripped of every piece of dignity I ever owned and everything I thought I once was had turned on me, despite me.

Sweden did the right thing in the name of freedom, justice and equality, Norway and Iceland followed and now it is Irelands turn and we must not let an opportunity to evoke a social change for the greater good pass us by, for my government does not have the right to continue to let tragic lives become absurd.

In finish, one’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life’s of others, that is my wish for my country, that it attributes value to the lives of the trafficked, the coerced, the displaced, the isolated, the damaged, the addicted, in essence the haunted majority of which I was once one.

Mia de Faoite

Why Ireland Needs the Criminalisation of Demand

30 Mar

Prostitution – the purchase of another human being for sex, is not and never has been the purchase of sex, because neither I nor any of the other women stand on the street or in the brothels with our genitalia and our mouths and throats in neatly wrapped packages which you could borrow and return to us in 20mins. No, I had go with them, you had to talk to me first, my mind was present the whole time. You always have to buy the person before you gain access to their body. So you must ask yourself one question, Do you believe that people have the right to buy other human beings?

When I ask anyone this question, of course they say No but when I ask them Do you believe that people have the right to buy other human beings for the purpose of their own sexual gratification?, they sometimes hesitate, I understand where this hesitation comes from, because they think “well if they are offering it”, what’s the problem, two consenting adults, a business transaction!! I say no, this question requires a yes/no answer, you either believe it or you don’t, end of. I stood on that street selling myself but I always knew they had no right to buy me.

There are many reasons why women find themselves in prostitution and all of them have nothing to do with feeling empowered, and even if they did feel delusionally empowered, I don’t care if she is offering herself up in a gold bikini on a silver platter in the pent house suite of the Berkeley Court Hotel, no one actually has the right to buy her, period!!

Rape does become part of the job, so much so that we don’t really use the term rape, we don’t have permission to, we might allude to it but then its ignored and the subject is changed. Many become desensitised to the pain of others, because if you knowledge someone else’s pain, you may just have to acknowledge your own, and we don’t have anywhere to place or deal with that pain, so some bury it, some use substances to forget it, some disconnect from it and unfortunately some accept it as routine.

I often wonder what people would be saying if they were breaking our bones, because to be honest with you I’d rather be writing this with a few healed bones than half the crap I have to live with in my head.  If the offenders were breaking our bones, would the pro-prostitution lobby be fighting for stronger crutches to hold us up while we work? – water resistant plaster casts, support heists in the brothel beds, etc?  Rape is an invisible violent crime, so how do people view the rape of a prostituted woman? – And I’m not looking for an answer; I unfortunately already know.

People ask me how many men, I was bought by 4-5 offenders, 2-3 nights a week, at least 45 weeks of the year for 6yrs and that is an equation I will never do in my head.  I’m a survivor of a vicious gang rape, an attack which my friend did not survive and I have never seen the world the same way since.  I was no “sex worker”, I was a trapped mind who lived in a body that no longer belonged to me, in fact I was a disconnected, drug addicted, walking rape victim, we all were.

Some may say that we will never end prostitution, well that doesn’t mean that we do nothing either, unfortunately in this world there will always be people willing to exploit the vulnerable, to make profit off the bodies of other human beings because nobody, not even the most equal societies in the world have found the cure for the human condition and all its complexities.  You can pull the plug on technology, you can open more safe houses and instil support systems but it is only legislation that curbs human behaviour; that is in fact why the justice system exists in the first place.  And when a man makes a conscious decision to go out and purchase the body of another human being to do with it what he wants, that is unacceptable human behaviour. We should never be bound by history, Ireland should know this more than most, for history is a series of processes through which humanity must be found and on this issue it is so long overdue and I for one, have had enough.

In the last 3yrs alone 29 children have been rescued from sexual slavery in Ireland, where do you think the children are kept? They are raped and abused in the same brothels as the adults, so I ask you, who pay’s the ultimate price under tolerating regimes?  This is not acceptable to me, this should not be acceptable to anyone and on that basis alone prostitution should be outlawed.

Legislation should always reflect the values of a country, at the moment bodily integrity is not valued in Ireland even though the protection of bodily integrity is enshrined in our constitution and gender equality is not possible while women are up for sale, we will never stand shoulder to shoulder with our male counterparts so long as it is still acceptable for us to be on our knees or backs at their mercy.

At the moment our country is also debating marriage and how much we value it and who is entitled to that right, but at the same time we have a system where by it is acceptable for offenders to make a complete mockery of the commitments they made, because although I wasn’t counting wedding rings, I would agree that up to 60-70% of offenders are married or in committed relationships, I have always believed that these women have a right to know, they have a right to know what goes on in the back seat of the car, the very car they might be bringing the children to school in the next morning.  The commitments these women have made must be valued and treated with integrity the opposite of which is hypocrisy and this hypocrisy must end.

The sex industry is both a cruel and disturbing place, run by criminals and all efforts must be made to bring it to its knees and the only way to do that is to cut off what makes it exist in the first place, the offenders, men who believe they have a right to buy other human beings. I want legislation that will fine offenders, jail the real pimps and coercers and send a clear message out to the traffickers to start packing and get the hell off our island because women are no longer  for sale.

Mia De Faoite

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