New York City — With approximately 17,000 women and girls sex-trafficked into the United States annually and tens of thousands more trafficked for labor purposes, the second session of AF3IRM’s Summer School of Women’s Activism will build the foundation of understanding the trade of women as commodities.
Debunking the Myths and Stereotypes of Sex Trafficking and Its Link to Labor
The second session on June 14 will be facilitated by Fredi Kain, Joan Ariete and Nicole Ty, young women who have witnessed the impact of the commodification of women’s bodies in the sex and labor markets.
From porn to the sex trafficking of women, the facilitators debunk myths and stereotype of the sex trade as “legitimate” business and discuss both sex and labor trafficking from a five continents feminist perspective. Ms. Kain, Ms. Ariete and Ms. Ty will provide a foundation for understanding sex and labor trafficking in the United States and overseas, the impact that it has on generations of women and how sex trafficking and labor trafficking are inextricably linked to each other.
The facilitators discuss the issue of “choice” versus agency, the problem of harm reduction, the mental health toll and how women’s bodies are created and used as a source of profit. Sex trafficking is not just an international problem, it is prevalent in New York City. As a “legitimized” business, the sex trade is subject to market principles where competition is invariably linked to race, class, gender, age, citizenship status and sexuality. In ethnic neighborhoods, commercializing of very young women is almost par for the course.
The class will highlight the risk factors that make individuals, particularly women, susceptible to trafficking, the institutions that allow trafficking to exist and finding ways to become involved to eliminate trafficking in our own backyards. The type of work where individuals are often trafficked: domestic work, nail salons, teaching, sweatshop labor, food service and migrant labor. It is these women who are often left vulnerable to sexual violence and exploitation.
Ms. Ty notes, “the creation of a temporary labor force and use of economic, psychological violence and citizenship status exacerbate exploitation particularly against women. As long as the business of exploiting cheap labor and the creation of sex as a “legitimate” business to support that idea that women’s bodies are for sale, women will always be treated as second class citizens.”
Our Militarized World, Nations and Communities: 3rd SSoWA Session
On June 21st, AF3IRM’s Summer School will tackle militarism and the ways by which women, often through no choice of their own, become integrated into armed conflict.
Facilitated by Gebar Areha and Leani Auxilio, both of whom have close experience of militarism and armed conflict, SSOWA’s 3rd session will look into the ideological foundations of militarism, its links to the corporate competition for and control of the world’s resources; and how even “peaceful communities” are becoming more militarized as inequality has grown in the corporatized world.
AF3IRM said that the recent abduction of 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria essentially underscored why militarism and armed conflict are a major concern for the women of this world, especially women of color. Living in areas which are often sites of armed conflict over power, control and resources, women become “collateral damage” in a masculinist ideology of dominance that feeds into corporatism.
The recent abduction of 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria, their use in a power game between the prevailing government and dissident organizations, confers an urgency to this discussion. The United States, which is already involved in armed conflict in 73 countries, has pledged help in recovering the girls. What this will mean for current and future women and girls who become “trading coins” in the war for power and control will be discussed in this session.
As women enter public life for their own survival, the issue of how militarism looks at and uses women becomes more and more a deadly consideration. With an impending redivision of the world by old and emerging imperialist powers and the threat of a series of proxy wars like that now rending Ukraine apart, it is but wise for women and girls to understand the roots of militarism, its relationship to the state and to imperialism.
The first two sessions of SSOWA discuss women’s history and the rise of patriarchy, followed by the issue of reification, trafficking and prostitution. While the school is open to any woman, analyses are through a transnational woman of color lens, thus filling in a gap in feminist thought and practice in the US, where the perspectives of women of color are often neglected.
Now in its fourth year, the SSOWA remains unique in both its approach and methodology. While it is recommended that all four sessions be attended for a wholistic understanding of women’s activism, women may audit one or more of the sessions. AF3IRM PR
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