Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Timor Leste's Prostitution. To condemn or to manage it?

 Tempo Semanal-Dili, 29.12.2010

An Indonesian who is run a brothel
 in Dili near Paulus School
Recent news headlines in Timorese medias have been about prostitution and human trafficking.

Those who involved in prostitution mostly come from neighboring countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Philippine and China. Those people are victims of human trafficking lured to Timor Leste with promises of decent jobs and good earnings. However when arrived in the destination country most of them are forced to provide their service in prostitution. They are forced to do the work by sex traffickers operating in those countries. Hence it is mandatory to the authority to prosecute those people involved in human trafficking by putting them in jail or have them deported.

A database of men suspected of human trafficking need to be established. Identify these people, prosecute them, deport them and deny them entry to Timorese territory for unlimited of time. Timorese authority has been cracking down those involved in prostitution. Many foreigners have been deported whether they are victims or traffickers.

One important question raised from this issue is how about those Timorese who are also doing their service in prostitution? Should they be condemned by the society? Or should we, as society help them by providing certainty on their activity with a proper legislation and a designated place? A designated place or decriminalized brothels need to be considered to help improve safety. Yes, we talk about safety whether it is in term of health, combating human trafficking, security for all and social impact on the society.

Those people involved in prostitution are not the enemy of society as long as they make it for a living and do not harm anybody. But those that need and should be considered enemy of authority are those traffickers. Therefore, Police need to have guidance on how best to deal with problem linked to prostitution.

A debate is also needed in creating a prostitution law in order to tackle the negative effects from this activity. In order to manage something, one needs firstly to create a proper legislation to that end.

Designated places must be established openly and recognized by government in order to manage those girls who make a living in that service. To condemn is easy but it is more difficult to find a proper solution to the issue. So it is better to manage than to condemn.

Management by laws, legalization and finding designated places are good steps forward to help solve the negative effects of prostitution. By a good management on this issue, the government can monitor those who make a living from this activity and prosecute those who involved in exploitation of human beings. The government as representation of State must help those women in the prostitution by providing them safety guidance on health issues. Consider them as partners in combating health issues such as HIV-AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and cooperation in combating against human trafficking, which is synonym to sex exploitation of women. This can be done with decriminalization policy on prostitution.

It is time for this debate by Timorese society. (***) 


sushi said...

sex worker is another term that can be consider.

WLW said...

See also an analysis of the social problem of Prostitution in East Timor by civil society in the Legislative Drafting Initiative by the Univsersity of San Francisco and the Asia Foundation conducted in 2004 on the East Timor Law Journal.


Anonymous said...

I am disgusted and shocked at how heartless and inhumane our society has become! On one hand, we have Women's liberation against the sexual exploitation, on the other we encourage sexual exploitation as a way of earning a living.Talking from a man's point of view, are all men that desperate that they have to be serviced by Prostitutes? What's wrong in getting yourself a wife? Why do we men think that we have to have the best of both worlds? On one hand we want to fight AIDS but on the other hand we want to encourage Promiscuity! Men who think they can't live without sex,spare a thought for the people who died of AIDS! Did they think it was a good idea dying of Aids? If anybody is serious enough about the dignity of every human being, please! Please! don't treat women or men for that matter as sexual objects to satisfy your sexual uncontrollable urges! Also, Timor Leste needs good people to rebuild the Country, not people to satisfy their sexual whims and fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Ema sira ne, animal maka la hatene tuir an! Hatene daundaun katak Timor rai ki'ik ida, la iha facilidades sanitarius atu hapara SIDA, ba hanoin fali atu legaliza Prostituisaun iha Timor Leste? Nudar ita nia katuas ho ferik sira dehan: Katar ba koir ou entaun sunu ho ahi klak para hamate tiha kutun. Nusa, saida maka la diak? Kaben ho fen ida la to'o?Con lisensa,historia ida be ema nia aman mate iha feto at nia leten seidauk to'o? nusa maka halimar ho isin hanesan ne'e, servisu la iha atu halo? Timor ida be sei hamlaha, hatais la to'o ba nia oan sira, uma mahon la to'o, dalan atu liu ba foho sira sei dauk iha, ita hanoin ona atu legaliza Prostituisaun? Sinal ida seidauk to'o hakarak sinal barabarak tan para hamoe deit an. uza imi nia kakutak, buka servisu kaer,halo buat ruma diak baema sira nebe terus. Iha fen ida contente ona, la iha fen, buka kaben ho fen ida, se la kohi kaben, keta mangame tanba mangame, mate saugati.

Anonymous said...

The suggested approaches to the issue of prostitution have done little to address the sexual servitude/slavery and health issues in the West.

The model that criminalises the operator/pimp/madams and users of prostitutes is a much better means.

A midway approach could see all 'customers' registered like firearm holders or drivers. The crime of being an unregistered sex client would address the problem more thoroughly.

loke neon 1 said...

Yes I do agree with certain arguments to condemn married men that use the service of prostitutes for their own egoistic pleasures. However we also need to be realistic enough and far from being Utopian, dreaming of a perfect society where you are free from all social problems and bad things. That in our perfect little timorese world you would not find prostitutes because 98 % of people are Catholic or that people are so religious therefore the result shall be a perfect society with no prostitution whatsoever. Everybody lived according to the teaching of faiths and being faithful to their partners and no cheating whatsoever. Or that young people lived as celibate even when they have reached puberty or active sexual ages, that they would not be tempted to use the prostituiton services or they would cease far from it. Well, my friends unfortunately this perfect world does not exist here in Timor Leste or even any in where else in the world. Whether we want it or not, there will always someone there to provide their service as sex workers, as there are also those who are willing to pay for that service. In this regard we are talking about a profession with thousand years of old even mentioned in the bible.

Prostitution is a reality and it is as old as the pyramid in Egypt or even in Noah's time in the Bible. Regardless of any moral grounds to judge prostitution as something that needs to be condemned and therefore rejected or even disgusted unfortunately it is not the right solution. By taking such harsh approach towards the problem, one will only try to cover it or hide it for a limited time which could be a time bombs in relation to health safety and exploitation by sex traffickers.

Indeed we shall not agree that any woman who is forced to do such profession is encouraged to go on doing it. Instead to those who are forced to such activity against their own free-will must be assisted to quit. Authorities shall provide proper help for those who get exploited against their choice to do such profession. And that is why we have so many woman rights organisations and government institutions which provide expertise for the mentioned objectives.


loke neon 2 said...

______________----------" part 2

But one must also be realistic enough to understand that there are also people (Women or Men) who with their own free-will and choice make a living from this oldest profession in human history. These are people that needed to be assisted and managed through a proper legislation. A legislation which does not seek to target them as criminals but instead a legislation which seeks to consider them as fellow citizens of our heroic country in the spirit of humanity. People who need to have a decent life from a decent preferred job which suited them best according to their choices. These are people that need to be regulated in such a way to prevent them from being exploited against their own free-will.

If a society chooses to condemn these people by labeling them as rubbish, low-cast and etc.. then it equals to taking these people into darkness and making them more vulnerable to health problems and exploitations by sex traffickings. Hence it would be bad to them as much as it would even be worse to the timorese society as a whole.

A policy of criminalizing sex industry has been outdated and failed miserably in so many countries and worse.. making it to become uncontrolled sources for the spreading of HIV-AIDS and other related Sex Transmitted Infectious Diseases (STIDs).

As fanatic religious moral based values of blind condemnation only solve this social problem by covering it in short period of time, the attitude only transforms the problem into a time bomb that could at any time explode with unprecedented health related consequences. By the time it happens one can only notice its effects with shock. Unpleasant surprises on the high increases in HIV-AIDS, in so many families in our nation.

We would see high increase of drug users linked to criminalizing prostitution. The attitude of condemnation and criminalizing prostitution will only lead to hidden or clandestine type of brothels which are fertile grounds for drug related usages and traffickings, as well as sex abuses or exploitations of sex workers.

There are so many social and economic causes and effects factors which contribute to people making a living from this oldest profession on Earth. They come in various dimensions which need to be realistically analysed and debated before taking any further negative prejudices attitudes in relation to this complex multidimensional social problem.

By making more debate with fresh ideas and openness, far from traditional conservative prejudice values, hopefully decriminalizing to better managing can be considered as more realistic approach in addressing prostitution in Timor Leste.

Yes more debate is needed, frank and open debate with fresh brains.