Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Real National Women's Day

Today is International Women’s Day that has been commemorated by the United Nations and designated by many countries as a national holiday. If you read my previous blog posts, you may know about my disapproval of Valentine’s Day but this is something even I can appreciate…well maybe not completely but the basic concept.

Inspired by a hundreds of years of women wanting equal footing including a sex strike against men to end war in ancient Greece, “the idea of an International Women's Day first arose at the turn of the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies,” according to the United Nations.

Right here in San Francisco, the Charter of the United Nations, signed 1945 was the first international agreement to “proclaim gender equality as a fundamental human right. Since then, the Organization has helped create a historic legacy of internationally agreed strategies, standards, programs and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.”

However, I want to shed some light on some interesting facts about modern day inequality for women.

In San Francisco, we have heard, seen or read many times about the Asian massage parlors, brothels and backrooms of businesses that are known to exist in our backyards. Many of the sex slaves are Korean and it’s disgraceful to see crime of this nature being carried out against our own people. Even more shameful because of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent comment that there was no proof Korean women were forced into prostitution, despite countless accounts by survivors even today.

Sex trafficking is an $8 billion worldwide business with more than 800,000 sex slaves and forced laborers with many more unaccounted for.

Recently, a friend of mine and fellow USC Trojan alum went on a short-term mission trip to Thailand and told me about her experience firsthand. I hope to have a longer conversation and share some of her photos in a future blog post but for now, here are some sad facts.

Despite prostitution being banned, police don’t do a thorough job of raiding downtown areas. After noisy sirens from police cars went down a busy street in a tourist area, it was revealed that police were making sure there were no prostitutes. When the police failed to check the back rooms and up stairs, someone asked why they didn’t, the police avoided answering. However, the real reason was that the police own some of the bars that these prostitutes work in.

Looking at some of the young petite ladies, you might think the girls are underage. While some are, others are in their 30s wearing school girl outfits so they can look like a young teenager as these are the girls most attractive to Johns.

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