The New People Traffickers
Before I go into my piece, I would like to make the UK Nationals who visit this site aware of changes to passport legislation coming in 2012. From that date onwards if you apply for a British Passport, you will be required to “volunteer” to be added to the National Database. If you fail to “volunteer”, you will be denied a passport. I don’t normally like to quote the Daily Mail, but so that people will understand what I am talking about, please follow this link.
For my two cents worth on this, I deplore the loss of personal freedoms that have materialised over the last ten years or so in Britain, the country that set standards with the Magna Carta, There are those who will argue that we need such databases because of the world we now live in, and may even make mention of the 7/7 bombings. Yes, they were a tragedy, and they were the responses of alienated Muslims who were appalled at what was happening to fellow Muslims in Iraq following the illegal invasion.
Spain suffered similarly with the Atosha station bombings. The thing that links both Spain and the UK was that the overwhelming majority of their citizens opposed the war, and yet both governments went to war against the democratic will of the people.
Thirty years ago, I could have walked into Downing Street and stood outside the Prime Minister’s residence at Number 10. Nowadays, I can only get in there if I have a Tank. This is because various UK governments have been the targets of terrorists. The reality is that this does not stop terrorism, it only moves the problem elsewhere, which means that the people become targets of terrorism.
The thing about the Database is that it is not fixed as to what it may contain. It may start off with your passport and National Insurance number, but the government will add to it as they see fit. The Government (past and present) have not got a great record as far as protecting personal data is concerned, but my own view is that the terrorist argument is really a smokescreen and the UK is now run by control freaks. Whether you agree with me or not, you might want to consider the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Those who are prepared to give up freedom for security deserve neither”. If I still had a UK passport, I would be making a nuisance of myself right now, not because I don’t trust the government to deal with the terrorist problem, but because I don’t trust any government that will coerce me into giving them a blank cheque on my personal information.
Anyway, my inspiration for writing today is that I was watching a TV programme earlier, which had a segment on “Mail Order Brides”. Amongst the things I learn, was that in Thailand, the average wage was less than $2 a day, and consequently, a lot of girls were forced to look for a foreign husband as an economic necessity. <Factually incorrect when talking about Thailand as a whole. Did they specify a certain region? – Stick> I recently read an article on Isaan on Wikipedia, which pointed out that average salaries there were just over 3,000 THB monthly and that this in turn, was about half the national average of 6,000. At today’s exchange rates, this is $3 in Isaan, or $6 nationally. The programme that I was watching, could be called factual if they could get their facts right.
However, what I found really interesting was the suggestion that those of us who participated in online dating, and Asian marriage bureaus etc, were really people traffickers. Interesting concept.
I tend to think of people traffickers as those who trick or coerce unwilling women into prostitution, or to work for slave wages in the black economy, but then what do I know? In addition, a proposal was made that the person at the other end of an online dating site/marriage bureau should be able to access details of any criminal record that the suitor may have.
In an earlier piece I wrote about online dating, I mentioned that one of the proposals I had was from a Ghanaian man (the infamous Osei Williams) who posed as an Oriental girl on a dating site. Assuming I had a criminal record, do you think he would be that interested in this? Seriously though, the whole tone of the programme was how exploitative the male was in these circumstances. I had a vision of hundreds of men who had just been made aware of these sites going online, only to fall madly in love with the picture of a beautiful 22 year-old Thai/Filipina, who was in reality 40+ and using her niece’s picture while scamming multiple sponsors.
To be fair, some of the issues raised were commendable. One particular aspect was that in Ireland, if the relationship failed, there was no guarantee that the bride would be allowed to remain. I have a recollection that there is a five year qualifying period in Ireland, but only one year in the UK.
One owner of a Thai marriage bureau made the argument that many Thai girls were not necessarily looking for a Farang as an economic essential, but rather, were looking to escape from Thai men who did not make the best husbands. I have to say that based on my trawls through the websites, I have some sympathy with this assertion. There are gold diggers out there and there are those who are looking for a relationship that includes mutual support and respect.
While watching the programme with interest, I had this feeling that I had been here before sometime, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, then it hit me: $2 a day, human trafficking, exploitation. Someone was angling to set up an NGO to solve the problem. Believe it or not, this is how many NGOs have started. First of all, identify a problem which nobody else has seen. Then describe it in pejorative language, while distorting the facts Make a few recommendations as to how to solve the problem, and you are now the established expert in the field. Who better to run an NGO?
Of course, the programme only dealt with marriages where the bride was imported into her husband’s country. So this raises the question: Is it trafficking if the husband moves to Thailand? On that subject, I have read that Gambia is a great place for female sex tourists to meet the local menfolk, and I have seen documentaries where such meetings have led to marriage. I suspect that many of these men earn less than $2 dollars a day, but who is fighting their corner for them, and advising them of the criminal records of the predatory women who visit these places?
Another documentary I recall seeing was about Irkutsk in the former Soviet Union, and it was stated that 90% of the population aged between 15 and30 were HIV+. And the Russian government was doing nothing about this. Surely just the place that needs the help of an NGO but the problem has been largely ignored by the rest of the world. Isn’t it amazing how many NGOs are situated in the more desirable underdeveloped area.
It sounds like that program was full of spurious "facts".