Archives de Tag: Rescue industry

However raids on Entertainment Places are traditionally carried out in the night and our research shows that raids in response to instances of suspected human trafficking in the sex industry are regularly carried out around 11pm or later. According to tradition usually large numbers
of armed police arrive at the Entertainment Place, enter and apprehend all women on the premises and any other workers present e.g. doorman, cashier, manager. Any women who attempt to run away, often from fear and confusion, are chased and controlled by force. It is not unusual for women to be injured in police raids while trying to escape.

Empower Fundation, The impact of anti trafficking policy and practice on Sex Worker’s human rights in Thailand

In 2003 the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand recognized that police entrapment often leads to serious human rights violations, especially against women in the sex industry and recommended it should only be used under a clear and precise system that prevents such human rights abuses. However instead of stopping the practice of entrapment or developing adequate safe guards, under the Suppression of Human Trafficking Act 2008, use of entrapment by police and NGOs has increased and appears to be a routine practice that continues unmonitored regardless of the negative consequences for sex workers and entertainment place workers.
In our research, the use of entrapment has resulted in at least two incidents of minors deciding to sell sex for the first time then being detained and later deported.
Both of the girls were entrapped by police and falsely identified as being victims of trafficking on the basis of their immigration status, age and the fact that they were working in an Entertainment Place, where sex workers were also employed. Neither of them were working as sex workers; and they did not want to be assisted by the government welfare department nor rescued from their working or living situation.

« I came to Chiang Mai about 4 months beforehand. I was staying with my aunty and working in the karaoke bar. When I applied for the job no one asked my age and I never thought to mention it. I didn’t know it was important. I wasn’t ready to go with customers. I felt too shy. There was no pressure from anyone, it was up to me. It just meant I didn’t earn as much as the others. Then this guy came in three nights in a row. He said I looked very young and he wanted me to go with him. Even though he offered to pay a lot I refused for the first two nights. Then I don’t know why but on the third night I thought well, he seems nice and it would be good to have some more money. So I agreed to go with him. Big mistake. He turned out to be a policeman and I was arrested and locked up for 8 months. »
Tip, research partner, Chiang Mai

Empower Fundation, The impact of anti trafficking policy and practice on Sex Worker’s human rights in Thailand

Evangelical antitrafficking efforts thus extend activist trends that have also become increasingly prevalent elsewhere, embodying a form of political engagement that is consumer- and media-friendly and saturated in the tropes and imagery of the sexual culture it overtly opposes—a feminine, consumptive counterpart to the masculine politics of militaristic rescue. A recent photograph from a special issue of the magazine Christianity Today on sex trafficking titled “The Business of Rescue” makes this dynamic quite clear. The image depicts a smiling young activist from a Christian human rights group who is ministering to a sex worker in a Thai brothel (see fig. 1). Although the magazine’s evangelical readership would be likely to interpret the woman’s happy affect as evidence of Christ’s love (see Wilkins 2008), young missionaries’ brothel visits are also situated within the contemporary practices of consumer-humanitarianism, in which touristic adventures in exotic settings serve to reinforce Westerners’ sense of freedom and good times.25
Although consumer-friendly politics have become a stock feature of many forms of contemporary social justice activism, they occupy an especially prominent place in evangelical antitrafficking campaigns in which new abolitionists are frequently summoned to make purchases that will contribute to faith-based organizations (as in the ironically titled Not for Sale Freedom Store; see or by purchasing items that women who have purportedly been freed from sexual slavery have crafted. For contemporary evangelicals, the purchase of consumer goods in the name of fighting trafficking serves a dual purpose in solidifying the distinction between freedom and slavery: on the one hand, “freedom” resides in Western consumers’ ability to purchase the trinkets and baubles that “trafficking victims” produce; on the other hand, it pertains to the practice that new evangelicals call “business as mission,” in which former “slaves” are brought into “free” labor by producing commodities for Western consumers. Ultimately, business as mission can be seen as a global-capitalist refashioning of the nineteenth-century evangelical practice of “rescuing” women from prostitution by bringing them into domestic labor or teaching them to sew (see Agust ́ın 2007).

Elizabeth Bernstein, Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Antitrafficking Campaigns, Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2010, vol. 36, no. 1, p. 63-64

Although IJM’s operations have attracted some controversy, the undercover and mass-media-oriented model of activism that IJM propounds has become the emulated standard for evangelical Christian and secular feminist organizations alike.22 The liberal feminist organization Equality Now, for example, has recently enlisted male volunteers to go undercover to find traffickers and to work with local law enforcement to bring them to trial (Aita 2007). Notably, IJM’s tactics have been hailed both by the Bush Administration and, more recently, by secular humanitarians in the Obama Administration such as Samantha Power. As Power notes in her recent interview with Haugen for the liberal-leaning New Yorker magazine, “Haugen believes that the biggest problem on earth is not too little democracy, or too much poverty … but, rather, an absence of proper law enforcement” (Power 2009, 52). Through IJM’s rescue missions, men are coaxed into participating in women’s and other humanitarian issues by being granted the role of heroic crime fighters and saviors. Unlike in other Christian men’s groups, however, here it is not headship in the domestic enclave of the nuclear family that draws men in but rather the assumption of a leadership role in and against a problem that is global in scope and that requires transnational actors to combat.23
But more than a newly transnationalized middle-class masculinity is at stake here, particularly since the majority of the organization’s grassroots activists—as in antitrafficking campaigns in general—are middle-class young women. In contrast to a previous generation of evangelical Christian activist groups that avowedly embraced sexual and gender traditionalism for Western women, IJM’s members make frequent reference to the backward traditionalism of third-world cultures as one of the primary causes of sex trafficking, a framework that helps them to define and re- inforce their own perceived freedom and autonomy as Western women. In this regard, they follow what Inderpal Grewal (2005, 142) has identified as the contemporary feminist model of human rights activism, produced by subjects who imagine themselves more ethical and free than their “sisters” in the developing world.
The embrace of the third-world trafficking victim as a modern cause thus offers these young evangelical women a means to engage directly in a sex-saturated culture without becoming “contaminated” by it; it provides an opportunity to commune with third-world “bad girls” while remaining first-world “good girls.” Whether by directly entering the third-world brothel or by viewing highly sexualized media portrayals, the issue of trafficking permits a sexualized frame to exist without threatening these women’s own moral status or social position.

Elizabeth Bernstein, Militarized Humanitarianism Meets Carceral Feminism: The Politics of Sex, Rights, and Freedom in Contemporary Antitrafficking Campaigns, Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2010, vol. 36, no. 1, p. 62-63