Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Child-Sex Tourism: Why Don't They Get These Guys?

In today's Straits Times (17 May 2005, Page 3 and H4), Theresa Tan (my younger, brighter, smarter, better-writing, passionate young friend of the same name) reported on the issue of child sex exploitation by Singaporean men being brought up in Parliament.

I've been on the bandwagon since visiting the website of a US 501C organisation called Shared Hope International (www.sharedhope.org) that runs rescue missions of young women and children who have been forced into prostitution. The stories ripped my heart to shreds, as they would any humane, intelligent human being not possessed by satanic forces.

It's new to me, but the trade is as old as the Bible. That doesn't make it right. These are CHILDREN we are talking about. In villages around Surabaya, Indonesia, for example, parents wait till their daughters get their first period and gladly sell them off to "friends" and "farangs" who are going to give their daughters a "job". These girls may be told their going to be doing sales. They just don't realise they're also the product they're selling. In India, mothers are known to sell off their daughters that are eight or nine to be "dolls" in brothels. These girls, who if they were living in Singapore, would be pulling on their uniforms and getting on the bus to school and studying for their Primary Three streaming, are kept in cages, and every 15 minutes some FULL GROWN MAN is going to come along, tap them on the shoulder, take them to a room and rape them.

I say rape, why? What does an eight-year-old know about sex? What is she SUPPOSED to know about sex at eight? Her reproductive system isn't even completedly formed yet. There is no way to have "consensual sex" with an eight year old. If it's not consensual, it's RAPE. If she's underaged, it's RAPE.

So Singaporean men would probably say, "No lah I'm not so sick as to take advantage of an 8-year-old. That's sick, doesn't even turn me on."

Listen, a child is someone under the age of 18. So it's rape if she is 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Many of the girls working in Batam, the ones the pimps sell as "virgins" and charge $500 for — let me tell you the truth.

A: they're NOT virgins. When these girls are first brought to the brothels and forced to work, they are locked up and RAPED repeatedly, BEATEN till they submit and have lost hope. So if Singaporean men think they're getting a virgin, they may as well give me the $500 and I'll give them a bottle of olive oil — EXTRA VIRGIN, since they want virgin so much.

B: they're underaged. Some are 11, 12. Others are 14, 15. Most have makeup on, and they are instructed to say they are above 16 (the legal age in Indonesia) if asked. We know better, because we have spoken or seen these girls who run away to shelters, and they are definitely underaged.

Some of these 14 year old girls (who should be in Sec 2, wearing a uniform and going to school) have serviced between 300-400 men already.

Their bodies have been severely abused. (Many are given drugs to stay "happy" for clients)
Their spirit has been broken to pieces.
They have no self-esteem.
They believe they have no escape.
Some die from the abuse — some men beat up these girls, and just pay extra for the fun.
Some get pregnant and die, because their young bodies cannot sustain a full-term pregnancy.
They are told that if they don't work, the agents will send people to kill their family.
They are made to believe that this was what they are good for only — meat for the market, and this is their lot in life.

Would you do this to your own daughter?
Would you stand by and take it if someone did it to YOUR daughter?
Or your sister? Or your friend?

If you say no, then do something about it.

*********************************

But back to why the government is so reluctant to do anything about this.

Prof Ho Peng Kee, ex-ACS boy and classmate of my ex-boss Michael Chiang. I like the man. I think he has dignity. I think he also has the unfortunate position of being the elected voice on this issue.

He says that Singapore needs to observe the laws that have been put in place, extra-territorial laws that other countries like Australia, Thailand, the US practise where if a man from Australia goes to Thailand and abuses a child there, he will go to jail when he returns to Australia.

It may not be the most fast-acting law. It IS hard to prove that a man went from Singapore to Batam to a brothel where he goes to a room, takes out his penis and penetrates a 12-year-old. You won't have pictures to prove that the act happened (or they'll just appear on the internet and service thousands of other sick freaks). BUT as long as a man goes to Batam for the express purpose of sex with a "young girl" or "virgin" you can assume she's not 25.

I think it's a good law. Because:
a. If you catch them, they get duly punished.
b. They only need to KNOW that they WILL definitely get punished when caught. It's a matter of time. Knowing becomes a deterrent.

In a survey done among child sex offenders who have been caught and interviewed in prisons in Australia, the number one deterrent for them is GETTING CAUGHT. They have a fear of it, which is why Internet child porn has mushroomed, because it's a crime you can commit in the privacy of your own home. But I'm happy to note that in parts of Europe and the US, getting caught with porn in your home PC is proof you are a child sex offender and YOU WILL GET THROWN IN JAIL.

These laws may not work the same way as getting the Traffic Police to stand under some trees and catch ozone-killing motorcycles from Malaysia. But that they are in place (let me quote the speechwriter of our MPs) SENDS A SIGNAL.

And we SHOULD be sending a signal: we should be telling our men,
"STOP BEING A PREDATOR — YOU ARE ONLY BEING PATHETIC!
SEX WITH "VIRGINS' DOES NOT CURE YOU OF IMPOTENCY, STDS, AIDS, COUGHS, COLDS AND OTHER AILMENTS!
IT IS A CRIME TO HAVE SEX WITH CHILDREN (IE PERSONS UNDER 18 YEARS OLD) HERE OR IN OTHER COUNTRIES!
YOU WILL GET CAUGHT AND YOU WILL GO TO JAIL!
YOUR FACE WILL APPEAR IN THE PAPERS AS A CHILD SEX OFFENDER AND YOUR LIFE WILL BE RUINED!"

and perhaps most importantly, that GOD SEES EVERYTHING WE DO. You can run, but you cannot hide.

So what should the government do?
Impose the law.
Do it now.
Every day that you do NOT do it, means another 40 men get to abuse one child.
Every day that you do NOT do it, means that Singaporean men will think the government is lenient on child sex crimes.
If a better law comes along, AMEND the one you have now.

Mr Ho is correct in saying that the government cannot do this alone.
You are not doing it alone.
Welfare groups have been fighting this for YEARS.
Groups like WMD are going to fight it for YEARS.
But we need moral and financial support.
We need the public to know.
We need men to be told the truth and to be slapped into behaving.
We need our neighbours and our neighbours are already FAR AHEAD OF US in the progress of nailing child sex offenders!
Singapore is Jurassic in its approach!
All this only contributes to accusations that we are a patriarchal society — our government will be seen as an indulgent father who doesn't believe in disciplining his sons' abominable behaviour. Worse, people might start to think our government has misogynistic leanings! I won't have that, because I don't believe it — but that is what INACTION and INDECISION is going to suggest.

So do it!

=====================

WHAT CAN YOU DO, MY FRIENDS?
- Tell everyone you know about this.
- WMD will be raising funds with UNIFEM very soon through sales of T-shirts and bags to fund shelters for these children and women — SUPPORT THAT.
- If you know anyone who goes on sex tours to Thailand or Batam or Vietnam, tell them about this law. Tell them what has happened to these kids. Tell them that the law will be imposed and they will be caught. Tell them that God can see their crime, and He will punish anyone who abuses the innocents. Tell them to stop going. Buy them a beer and take them to see Revenge of the Sith instead.
- Write to the Straits Times and tell them how you feel.
- Feel free to add comments to my Blog.
- And most of all, PRAY EVERY DAY. We war not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities that we cannot see (spirits). The prayer of a righteous person is effective.

Be blessed!

Theresa

9 Comments:

Blogger Ondine said...

Welcome to Blogosphere. :) Dan and I can help you set up links if you want.

8:22 AM

 
Blogger PensiveTabby said...

Passionate, extremely well-written post that exposes the ugly truth of the child-sex trade.

Very impressed.

1:16 PM

 
Blogger LesterMan said...

Provoking!...but I thought a minor (or child) is defined as someone below 16 years old in Singapore?

3:21 PM

 
Blogger threez said...

Lesterman, the age of consent is 16 in Singapore for consensual sex. But the definition of child in the case of pornography and prostitution is anyone under 18 years of age. Hope this helps!

9:36 PM

 
Blogger PensiveTabby said...

Hi Theresa,

I'll definitely support the T-shirt drive, not to mention registering on your website.

I dont know Jack Neo, but I'll send your link to Mr Brown. If this link gets browned, chances are it will reach a much wider audience, and hopefully, someone in that audience knows Jack Neo.

Good luck, and God Bless.

10:11 AM

 
Blogger Cowboy Caleb said...

Outstanding piece of work! Raises awareness and creates an uneasiness in the pits of the tummy.

You've been tomorrowed by the way.

http://tomorrow.sg/archives/2005/05/19/a_call_for_child-sex_tourism_leg.html

12:25 PM

 
Blogger faith-t said...

You remind me so much of her

Great article. I've passed it on to others viz email (not everyone i know blogs).

2:14 PM

 
Blogger threez said...

Dear Cowboy, Faith-T and Hobbes

Thanks for making my virgin tour of Blogosphere such a rewarding experience.

God bless you all!

*Now pressured to write another one ...*

8:46 AM

 
Blogger Lam's Creation said...

Thanks for such a passionate post ...

4:04 AM

 

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