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SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT AND SEX TOURISM MUST BE OPPOSED

April 19, 2013 · 

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by Fr. Shay Cullen
The unwelcome truth that civilized people don’t want to hear is that the human race is not so civilized after all. Hundreds of thousands of wealthy males travel from rich to poor countries every year to sexually exploit and abuse children and women in a global phenomenon known as sex-tourism. Sexual violence is common and tragically and sinfully ignored. Hundreds of thousands of women and children are trafficked and in Europe, 27,600 are victims of forced labor.

The dominant financial power of these perverts and sex starved men combined with the crooked complicity of local politicians, police and prosecutors in poor countries makes for a lethal cocktail of corruption. It sets the scene where sex slavery can thrive and children as young as 9 to 16 years old are trapped like innocent butterflies in the spider’s web of abuse and lost childhood.

What makes this so perverse is the sickly silence of the elites, government authorities, some Church leaders, charities and development agencies which are more obsessed with bureaucratic betterment than saving the victims. Abused and enslaved children are in traumatic crises, crying for care while the elites are insulated in posh palaces obsessed with paper reports and prissy protocols. The field workers are out saving the children and they face the risk and death threats coming from maligning menacing sex Mafia and then they suffer deprivation of funds, support and encouragement from those living in luxury that are supposed to help.

There is some light in this dark matter of indifference and apathy towards the victims. Why it has taken so long for the elites to take a stand for the victims of mass rape and sexual violence? The declaration by the Group of Eight (G8) leading nations says new actions to prevent and stop the sexual violence against women and children and men in areas of conflict around the world. It will be adopted formally in June this year at the meeting of the G8 in Northern Ireland.

Rape and sexual slavery have become weapons of war. It is unleashed intentionally by combatants to punish their perceived enemies by raping the women and children and subjugating them to their power. Sexual violence is a way to assert their dominance and victory over their perceived enemies. The warring groups also have an interest in laying claims to territory by making hundreds of women in an area pregnant, many of whom will give birth to the children. The invading soldiers who raped and fathered the children can lay claim to a right of occupancy and domicile over the ethnic population and the land they live in. These are war crimes and too little, too late, has been done to stop them.

Sexual violence is mostly about the aggressive assertion of power and dominance as much as it is about satisfying base perverted desires and physical satisfaction of sexual urges. The countries where it is widespread and most prevalent today are Syria, Bosnia, Libya, Sudan, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commission for Refugees, has been pushing for this for many years. Women refugees who manage to flee from conflict-torn regions tell of the brutal violence that they endured and that of their children and neighbors.

This is the most serious crime and injustice and violation of the dignity and most sacred rights of the person. When young children are victims, it is the most heinous crime imaginable. But all, too frequently the international community of elite agencies and government and some UN officials, look away from the horror, or take it as collateral damage part of war or even call it a “cultural phenomenon” so that they don’t have to do anything.

Soon we hope the rich and powerful perpetrators protected in their own country who live with impunity can be arrested on an international arrest warrant and brought before the International Criminal Court.

An international protocol is being formed to authorize the investigation of the crimes and the collection of evidence and the support and protection of the victims. In any peace treaty, amnesty for such sexual crimes will not be allowed. Investigative teams of police and medical personnel will be trained and sent to the war torn region for this purpose and education and awareness building will be part of this.

The international community of nations is finally ready to act for forcibly recognizing the enormity of the situation. The Catholic Church and their agencies and local governments must act to curb the sexual exploitation of women and children in their communities and eliminate it. Sex tourism is another form of violence against women and children.

A 14 year-old appeared on television in the US and on YouTube with her aunt offering to sell the girl’s virginity to a foreigner for big money. The aunt and the child appeared on camera as skinny emaciated, hopeless, hungry, and they have nothing, truly the wretched of the earth. How can they be held responsible? All dignity and human values had been drained from the old woman. The child was frightened and nervous. View it here: http://abcnews.go.com/International/americans-targeted-allegedly-running-underage-prostitution-philippines/story?id=18582802&page=4#.UWAHubtihVM

Meanwhile, they are surrounded by wealth and luxury living. The officials in the Mayor’s office continue to issue Mayor’s business permits to these dens of iniquity. The institutional Church has been silent too long and the social teaching of the Church has been ignored too frequently in exchange for opulent living and religious rites and rituals and meaningless sermons while social evils proliferate. We have to get priorities correct and speak out and take action to end the trafficking and sex slavery of the women and children. [end]

 (Fr. Shay’s columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.)

 

Email: shaycullen@preda.orgwww.predafairtrade.net

 

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