Some time ago I wrote a submission to Stickman regarding the sex trade in SE Asia.
Today I received this email from a man named JC.
I would like to post my response to Jamie as a submission on the Stickman website.
I am so glad that you included your e-mail address at the bottom of the page. I found your online publication doing research on Trafficking of Women and the Sex Slave industry. You have obviously participated.
Do you even realize that most of the young girls you speak so casually about have been kidnapped or sold by their families, and forced into the sex industry? They incur unimaginable physical and emotional abuse. Do you think any of those girls actually want to have sex with you or any other client? You are clearly a depraved individual with no humanity and you should be ashamed! You are a monster!
Thank you very much for your email.
From the generalized nature of the email I think you may have forwarded the same email to a great number of people who have posted on the Stickman website. I can only guess just what motivates you to do such a thing.
I have traveled to Cambodia many, many times and in fact I have traveled many times to every country in South East Asia. At no point in my submission did I actually acknowledge that I have paid a woman in Cambodia to engage in sexual relations. I do however offer information about prices of a great many items in Cambodia including various different women.
You have read my submission and drawn the conclusion that I have “obviously participated” in the sex slave industry.
My response to you is that you are taking a very elitist Western viewpoint that is ignorant of the local culture and society.
There are prostitutes in every country of the world (including the Western World) and I’m quite certain that when each of these people grew up they were not dreaming of having sex with multiple partners in a night. In the case of Asian prostitutes I am quite certain that they were not dreaming of ever having sex with a Western man during their lifetime and I am quite sure that when they finally find a Western man to marry them and take them back to UK, US, Canada of wherever, their real dream was to marry an Asian man and live their life in Asia.
But the fact is you have to play the cards life dealt you, and unlike you I am not going to feel some way responsible or guilty for the fact that I was born into an affluent society with more money than these Asian people and I am able to buy them at any time. There are a lot more wealthy people in the world than me who were born into the life of luxury and there are a lot more starving people living in Africa who would give anything just to live in Cambodia where conditions are much better.
Whilst I did not acknowledge on my submission that I have engaged in the sex industry in Asia, I am happy to say to you in this email that I am quite at ease paying poor uneducated underprivileged women from SE Asian countries money to engage in sexual activity. Every woman I have ever paid for sexual services has been freelance and acting of her own free will.
Whenever I read articles in the media regarding underage prostitution, sexual slavery and sexually transmitted diseases in SE Asia I always found that the articles would directly quote statistics provided by NGOs and I would be more than a bit skeptical of these so called “facts”. In my younger years for my own personal interest I spent a great deal of time searching out underage prostitution and women who were sold into the sex industry and in all my searching throughout all these countries I never came across one underage girl or one woman who was actually “sold” to somebody else (such as a pimp) and held in conditions of slavery to sexually service men.
I did however find that many of the women I met were free to come and go as they pleased. The women were acting of their own free will. The women were all coming from a position of deprived economic circumstance and making the best of “the cards life dealt them”. The women were generally all looking for a ticket out of Asia and using the sex industry to find Western men as that is the only escape route they could see available to them.
Of course I do pity these women because when most of them eventually find their Western husband and marry him and leave SE Asia, they find that the West is not quite the garden of Eden they had dreamt of and they would have actually lived a happier life staying in their own country with their own family and marrying a man of their own culture and getting a job working in a factory or out on the rice paddy like all the other ugly kids from school. (Only the attractive women end up in the red light districts.) <Wrong. As far as the indigenous people go as well as many long-term residents, it is the least attractive who often end up in the industry, particularly working with Western men – Stick>
Every woman working in the sex industry has a different “hard luck” sad story to tell. Most are forced into the red light district not by family or by pimps but by the Asian culture itself. The woman gets knocked up and has an informal marriage to some local guy in the village who drinks too much and shags all the neighbors and eventually shoots through leaving the woman and child behind. The misogynistic Asian culture blames the woman for not attending sufficiently to the man's needs and now that he has left her no other man will want her because she is a used piece of meat and he would not want to be seen in public with another man's trash. So she drops off the child to her parents and catches the first bus to the red light district. She has no other choice. I would almost define her as a sexual slave to the Asian culture. She was not forced their through economic circumstance, but through Asian culture.
I have met a great many Asian women who were living good, respectable and morally virtuous lives when another member of the family fell seriously ill and the family was forced to go and see the local village mafia loan shark to borrow money to pay for emergency medical treatment. Or in other cases the alcoholic father ran up a massive gambling debt and the loan shark was called in to help settle the debt before his kneecaps were removed. In either case the family was then forced to choose another member of the family to travel to the big city to find work that would pay the loan back before the crippling interest sent the family broke. They would not ask the individual what they would actually do and because of Asian culture the individual had no choice but to obey the family or be ostracized, and when you are ostracized by the family in Asia then you have nobody left. In this case it is a lack of social security and health care combined with Asian culture that has forced the woman into a position of pseudo sexual slavery. Her culture never really gave her the chance to stand up to the family and say no.
Having shed all these tears for these women who have ended up in the red light districts for whatever reason, I actually do not hold the act of sex in very high regard. To me it is not much different to a hand shake or a pat on the back. Of course if you are not careful sex can create a new life (pregnancy) or end your own (AIDS) which you obviously cannot do from a hand shake. So I happen to get naked with a woman for 20 minutes and we engage in a rather bizarre and unhygienic act of rubbing our bodies up against each other to stimulate erogenous zones in our body that are very sensitive. To me it’s actually not such a big deal. I would find it crueller if I forced the woman to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week in a factory with terribly unsafe working conditions carrying out repetitive duties that would eventually lead to long term health problems.
I do not feel responsible or guilty for the fact that I have been born into a more wealthy society than these women. I do not feel jealous of people born with more wealth than me or with other physical and mental attributes that I do not possess. I make the most of what god gave me and just get along in life.
I have spent 60 minutes writing this email to you and I highly doubt that I have had any effect in changing your mind. When you go on a field trip and walk through a red light district in SE Asia, you see what you want to see. Personally I have never seen women chained to the bed by a pimp and forced to service Western clients. I have seen a lot of very poor women who have ended up doing something they never planned to do when they were growing up. But when I leave the red light district and move around the rest of the Asian country I see a lot of other very poor people doing many other very unhealthy things to survive as well.
I have had moments in my life where I have reflected on my behavior towards women working in the red light districts of SE Asia and whilst I can clearly see that my activities have perpetuated the industry, I have decided that I do not have a moral dilemma with my conduct. I can live with myself at the end of the day. I am not proud of the fact that I have participated in the services of the sex industry nor am I ashamed either. I do believe that a great many women living in the West would agree with you that I am depraved and lacking humanity. But I can live with that stigma.
One day Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines may be mighty empires again and the men from those countries will travel to Australia to pay for sex with our women. I will not have a problem with that and I would not feel angry with them for having more money than me. I will just make the best of the cards that I was dealt.
Good luck with your research. If your work is based on genuine honest accounts and factual statistics rather than deluded dribble concocted by a sensationalist author trying to elicit an emotional response then I would be very interested in reading it.
Excellent email. I'd love to know what he makes of it.