Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…

….so I can wish you all a very fond farewell.

 

Today is my last day with STOP THE TRAFFIK and therefore my last blog post (well, almost. I want to reply to a comment left the child abuse image post so this will come in the next few days).

 

It has been joyous working with such a beautiful and supportive team.

It has been inspiring to work with and learn from you, our activists both near and far.

It has been fun writing and managing the blog, listening to your thoughts and comments.

It has been wonderful to meet Katy and talk to her about her new role with STOP THE TRAFFIK (I think Bex is secretly happy there will be one cleaner desk in the office!).

I have written a lot of resources, learned more than I imagined, been challenged, been inspired, cried at my desk, sworn at the phone and introduced the team to German techno (which they secretly love despite what they say).

So, one and all, with sadness and a lot of excitement to see Travel Alert! launch on Monday, I say farewell.

Elvis and Victoria have left the building.

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Women of the world UNITE!

Today is International Woman’s Day!

Today is the day we put our feet up and celebrate the very simple fact that we are and (in most cases) always will be women.

Wondering what to write, the women in our office tried to think of reasons why it is great to be a woman. Ourlist started with things like; we have soft skin, we are nurturing, we wear nice pants…  I was very quickly reminded how lucky I am being a woman in the UK.

Today, as I sit here with the sun streaming through the window, a friend I met at an anti-trafficking conference in Egypt is inspiring her fellow women to meet in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to use this day both a celebration and as a way of re-connecting with a political voice that was taken away and forgotten.

As I sit here, I know there are women and young girls working in a brothel I visited as part of a project run by Oasis India. I can see it perfectly; a narrow house in the middle of a district famous for its sex industry. Small sprawling rooms no bigger that a sauna but just as warm with at least 8-10 young women and girls in each, waiting for customers with a man guarding the door….. I think they would find my list insulting.

As I sit here with my Masters Degree I think about the girls denied an education because they are girls or because there are no girl’s toilets in their school or because the school is too far away. Pretty grim isn’t it?

To stop me hurling myself out the window in despair, I think a little bit deeper….

Sally in Egypt has taken to the streets. She may be surrounded by hundreds of empowered women, she may be there yelling on her own, it doesn’t matter how many people are there – the movement has start somehow. Admirably she has the drive to get up and fight for what she believes in.

I can see women sat in Mumbai’s brothels but I can also see the tiny lady from Oasis India talking to them and holding my arm for support. They won’t stop fighting for India’s untouchables.

Then I read an email from 3 mums in Australia who are taking part in Freedom Ticket for Life and want to raise money to get vulnerable girls into school.

Life’s funny isn’t it?

We are women and women rock. We have a voice; we should always use it because one thing we are good at is shrieking.

An excited to be a woman Victoria Kuhr

Child sex abuse images: A linguistic revolution

Right, here goes. Let’s cause linguistic mayhem.

I am sure most people reading this (hi mum!) are familiar with and may have used, terms like ‘child pornography’, ‘child prostitution’ and ‘underage prostitute’ (erhem Silvio Berlusconi).  Well, I reckon it’s time we stopped.

The words prostitution, prostitute and pornography are normalised and common in most societies around the world. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what they mean and what they stand for – the words themselves are used casually and have become assimilated into everyday language.

How about adding the word child?

Adding the word ‘child’ obviously adds a different dimension but essentially it has the same meaning; a child engaging in something that we talk about on a day to day basis, nothing out of the ordinary.

But it is out of the ordinary. It is a child.

I know laws around the world differ but essentially it is agreed that a child cannot, or does not choose out of free will to be involved in pornography or the sex industry without an element of coercion or force. Why then, is it given a normal name?

Surely child pornography should be reclassified as ‘child sex abuse images’ or ‘videos of children being abused’ because that is what they are. Child prostitution is not prostitution, it is abuse and rape. The end.

So I hereby call on you, beloved readers to help me shake things up.

Also, this use of lazy and inaccurate language may affect people who choose to look at, and engage in, child abuse. ‘It has a ‘normal’ name, so it can’t be that wrong’.  Maybe if we call it abuse (which it is) it would cause someone to stop and think.

C’mon world, let’s do it! Let’s call it what it is. It’s not pornography, it’s not prostitution it’s abuse and rape.

I declare from this moment on I will only use accurate terminology to describe child abuse.

I urge all of you and your friends to join my quest for a linguistic revolution.

Your slightly angry Victoria Kuhr