Sat, Apr 17, 2010 - Page 8 News List

LETTER

The perils of prostitution

Kudos to the Taipei Times for your article on prostitution (“Sex workers coerced into trade,” April 12, page 2), reversing the popular myth that many young girls voluntarily enter the sex industry merely for money.

A study by The Garden of Hope Foundation found that 60 percent of young sex workers are victims of coercion or deceit. The others, who are needy, have no choice but to become prostitutes. Most of them are controlled by large brothel groups. They did not volunteer to be sex workers.

As the Taipei City Department of Social Welfare’s Chen Shu-chuan (陳淑娟) said, “Many of the girls are desperate for money, for care, or for love.”

During the Victorian era in the UK, some young girls from the working class were sacrificed for the sake of their families to work as prostitutes. For example, Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles depicted how a mother intended to sell her daughter to cover living expenses. In the 19th century, girls were used in this way to get money for their needy families.

However, in the 21st century, some underage girls are still forced to be sex workers for the sake of financial survival. A NOWnews article on Monday told the story of Fenfen (芬芬), whose father forced her into the sex trade when she was eight. The sad case of this girl is a typical one, characterizing the malfunctioning of our social system. The Garden of Hope study found that some of the young girls are deceived by their parents and friends. Most of these young girls in the sex trade are not in it for easy money. They are in fact victims.

As a mother of a six-year-old girl, I read this report with grave concern. This issue relates to social problems and education. What can we do to safeguard these young kids?

Love and care are the most treasured elements in the family and in school education.

First, teachers should not only take care of students’ studies, but also take their family conditions into account.

Second, establishing positive values is parents’ most important responsibility to their children.

Third, reinforcing family ethics is indispensable in our modern society.

Finally, with love and care, our children may steer clear of being deceived by prostitution syndicates.

All women and girls should be treated fairly in terms of the humanistic concept of “gender equality,” a theme which has been globally proclaimed.

It is everybody’s responsibility to rebuild a society of compassion and harmony.

Irene Wang

Taipei

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