2 de Maio de 2012

Dois artigos relativamente recentes sobre prostituição revelaram-me o pouco que sabia sobre as principais questões que estão associadas a esta actividade. Nomeadamente no que diz respeito à prostituição no mundo ocidental.

Não sou dos tempos nem dos sítios em que «tornar-se homem» equivalia ao ritual de perder a virgindade com uma prostituta. Portanto o conhecimento que tenho é meramente literário e de filmes e séries de televisão ou ainda de notícias. E por conhecimento refiro-me aos pormenores básicos do fenómeno: quem são estas mulheres, quem são os clientes, porque, como e em que condições é que a prática da prostituição ocorre.

Estes dois artigos, um da Vanity Fair[1] e outro do New York Times[2] estão longe de serem estudos exaustivos. O primeiro fala sobre as tendências actuais da prostituição em Espanha e o segundo conta a história de exemplos de tráfico humano de adolescentes brancas na Nova Inglaterra (E.U.A.). Com eles fiquei a saber que pouco sabia do que se passa. Deixo aqui alguns excertos sobre os aspectos que mais me surpreenderam.

Família

A iniciação à prostituição, ou mais propriamente, a introdução nos círculos de tráfico de pessoas, tem raízes familiares. A servidão é deliberadamente causada pela família. Um exemplo acerca das mulheres estrangeiras que se prostituem em Espanha:

“Some of the women are sold into the business by their families, Mr. Cortes said. The police came across one case in which Colombian traffickers were paying one family $650 a month for their daughter. She managed to escape, he said. But when she contacted her family, they told her to go back or they would send her sister as a replacement.”[2]

E nos Estados Unidos:

“According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she had been sold to him, for $1,200, in a package deal with her best friend, Alicia. The vendor was Brian Forbes, a six-foot-five-inch, 40-year-old bodybuilder, whom local law enforcement understood to be employed in the bail-bond business.

In the fall of 2003, after turning 18, Gwen headed down to Hartford to visit her Aunt Lucy, her mother’s sister. Her aunt, in turn, introduced her niece to Brian Forbes. “She told me he was a really nice guy and stuff,” Gwen said.

(…) Gwen’s Aunt Lucy, of course, had set her up. Intra-familial recruiting of sex slaves is a common practice. Eva, a Norwich, Connecticut, girl, was forced by her mother-in-law—via starvation, drugs, and threats to her baby boys—into prostituting herself at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, the Connecticut casinos. Caroline, the former 4-H member, was taken to a brothel by her best friend’s mom and a pastor, the Reverend Henry L. Price. Gwen was especially easy prey for her aunt and Forbes because, before she had even left Vermont, she was hooked on heroin—a virtual epidemic nowadays in the New England and New York suburbs because of its current purity, potency, and cheapness.”[1]

Nem, mesmo os clientes se apercebem, na maior parte dos casos, do que se passa:

“Johns don’t understand what they’re contributing to. It never occurs to them that the woman who is smiling is being abused. They really don’t know what’s going on—and they don’t care.”[1]

Tráfico

Os exemplos acima parecem não ser excepções no panorama geral que indica que a maioria das mulheres que se prostituem não o fazem de livre vontade, mas são de facto vitimas de tráfico humano:

“There is little reliable data on the subject. The State Department’s 2010 report on trafficking said that 200,000 to 400,000 women worked in prostitution in Spain. The report said that 90 percent were trafficked.”[2]

E, dependendo dos locais, das leis e das condições sócio-económicas, as origens das mulheres pode ser muito variada:

“Thirty years ago, virtually all the prostitutes in Spain were Spanish. Now, almost none are. Advocates and police officials say that most of the women are controlled by illegal networks — they are modern-day slaves.”[2]

Falta de leis, ausência de resposta das autoridades

Em muitos casos, a falta de legislação adequada não permite lidar eficazmente com esta terrível combinação de tráfico de seres humanos com as redes de prostituição forçada:

“Fueling the boom in the sex industry in Spain are many factors, experts say, including porous borders in many parts of the world and lax laws. Until 2010, Spain did not even have a law that distinguished trafficking from illegal immigration”[2]

De facto, parece que nem as autoridades estão verdadeiramente ao corrente do que se passa:

“Until recently, for instance, the police in Barcelona did not even realize that Chinese mafias ran prostitution rings in the city. Then they began noticing more and more advertisements for Chinese, Japanese and Korean women — all of them, it turned out, Chinese — working in a network of about 30 brothels.”[2]

Alterações das atitudes

Outra questão importante é a alteração de atitudes – e por ventura padrões morais – das pessoas e do colectivo. Em particular a sexualização e consequente dessensibilização da sociedade:

“«The young used to go to discos,» said Francina Vila i Valls, Barcelona’s councilor for women and civil rights. «But now they go to brothels. It’s just another form of entertainment to them.»”[2]

"In the meantime, here in the U.S., hot-pink patent-leather stiletto crib shoes for baby girls, aged zero to six months, and Abercrombie & Fitch push-up padded bikinis for eight-year-olds have been all the rage in downward-deviant fashion, prostitution is a mainstay of Las Vegas’s economy, and Ice-T has produced a documentary on the life of Iceberg Slim, who, in his dotage, expressed remorse in Pimp for his wasted youth and his squandered fortune, but never for any of the girls he thrashed into red jelly with his homemade wire whip. Slim did speculate, however, that his cruelty toward women arose from his «unconscious hatred» for his mother. «It’s disgusting,» Natalie says. «The pimp is winning out.»”[1]

A vitalidade do negócio nota-se no aumento da publicidade aos serviços, mas fiquei surpreendido pelo à-vontade com que a prostituição é publicitada:

“The visibility of prostitution has become an issue here. A battle has raged over whether to allow ads for prostitution in newspapers, but they remain legal and appear even in the most reputable papers.”[2]

“Scates had noticed that the X-rated classifieds in the back of The Hartford Advocate had dwindled slightly, she hoped as a result of the task force’s valiant efforts. But she quickly caught on that a new, tech-savvy generation of pimps was filling the void by merchandising girls on Craigslist (in September 2010 the site succumbed to pressure to remove its adult-services section, which was expected to earn $44 million last year); on Backpage.com (owned by Village Voice Media); or via theeroticreview.com. Females on theeroticreview.com are rated for consumers—ostensibly by “hobbyists” but more often than not, victims say, by their ever shrewder pimps.”[1]

Que políticas públicas?

Porém, o que mais me terá surpreendido foi a conclusão indicada sobre as atitudes a tomar por parte dos órgãos legislativos. Paralelamente ao que tenho ouvido acerca das drogas, em que a despenalização dos comportamentos menos graves parece ter tido um efeito positivo, pensei que a liberalização da prostituição tivesse também consequências benéficas para quem se prostitui. No entanto, o relaxamento ou mesmo a ausência de proibição parece configurar a situação óptima para a proliferação de redes de tráfico de seres humanos, que acabam sempre por fazer da prostituição servidão:

That, in fact, is exactly the theory behind the Sex Purchase Law in Sweden. As of 1999, johns are punished by up to six months’ imprisonment, traffickers are locked up for 2-to–10-year hits, and prostitutes are offered medical care, education, and housing. As a result, prostitution has been reduced by 50 percent in Sweden, and the purchase of sex, which is understood to be a human-rights abuse, has decreased by 75 percent. In contrast, Europol studies show, nations such as Holland and Australia, where prostitution has been legalized, have become lucrative, low-risk magnets for international sex-slave drivers and organized crime. On the subject of Sweden’s demand-side laws—which Finland and Norway have now adopted, and Denmark is currently considering—Sweden’s minister for justice, Beatrice Ask, notes, “If we could get rid of slavery, then I think this type of buying human beings is something that we have to fight too.”[1]

Recomendo a leitura de ambas as reportagens.

  1. Sex Trafficking of Americans: The Girls Next Door, Vanity Fair  ↩

  2. Young Men Flocking to Spain for Sex With Trafficked Prostitutes, New York Times  ↩

 

2 de Maio de 2012