Thursday, April 24, 2008

CATW Protests HBO's CATHOUSE



Earlier this afternoon, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), held a picket line protest from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm in front of the corporate offices of HBO in New York City, protesting its reality series Cathouse set in a brothel.

Here are excerpts from CATW's letter to Richard Parson, Bill Nelson and Sue Naegle, the Chair of Time Warner, Chair of HBO, and President of HBO respectively:


CATW urges HBO to stop promoting prostitution and sex trafficking. Rather than revealing the reality of the exploitation of prostitution and its inextricable link to sex trafficking, HBO's show Cathouse serves as propaganda for the sex industry, denying and concealing the harms to both prostituted women and society at large. HBO must cease glamorizing commercial sexual exploitation through so-called "documentary" shows like Cathouse. Instead, we urge HBO to produce programming that tells the truth about prostitution and its profound impact on human trafficking.



Shows like Cathouse are highly staged, one-sided advertisements for the pips that seek to increase social acceptance of buying and selling women. HBO has adopted the false image that no one is ever hurt in prostitution. Through our work with trafficking survivors, CATW and its partners around the world know that this belief is tragically and dangerously inaccurate.


By airing shows like Cathouse, HBO normalizes prostitution and its legalization. The cultural and legal acceptance of prostitution, in turn, encourages the demand for prostituted and trafficked women and girls in the global sex trade. Legitimizing pimps as entrepreneurs and managers, as well as portraying patronizing prostituted women as acceptable, harmless entertainment commences a vicious cycle in which the sex industry expands, and increases the demand for sex trafficked women and girls.



CATW calls upon HBO to take responsibility for its role in normalizing and promoting prostitution by removing the series Cathouse (and all other shows promoting prostitution) from its programming. HBO must not only stop airing Cathouse and all similar pro-exploitation shows but also use its resources to produce programming that exposes the truth about the harms of prostitution and trafficking, rather than profiting from the further exploitation of its victims.


NYC Council Member John C. Liu discusses Human Trafficking & HBO at the protest


Council Member John C. Liu Continued...



5 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:07 PM

    Please provide one bit of evidence that legal brothels in Nevada are connected to sexual slavery and/or human trafficking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your comment.

    The CATW protest focused on the HBO show Cathouse and the glamorization of prostitution and how it misrepresents the abuse and trauma experienced by many women in the sex industry and ultimately, through its message, helps create an environment where sex trafficking can flourish.

    This post does not directly link legal brothels in Nevada to human trafficking; however, the link between prostitution and human trafficking has been documented in countries across the world as can be seen in numerous articles on this site.

    As far as human trafficking in Nevada is concerned, please refer to the following articles:

    http://www.nowpublic.com/strange/do-we-have-human-trafficking-problem-justice-department-names-las-vegas-among-17-most-likely-destinations

    http://www.klas-tv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5734951

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/7350146.stm

    While I am personally unaware of evidence linking human trafficking to legal brothels in Nevada, the larger issue at hand is the values that shows like Cathouse promote.

    In CATW's words:

    HBO's show Cathouse serves as propaganda for the sex industry, denying and concealing the harms to both prostituted women and society at large. HBO must cease glamorizing commercial sexual exploitation through so-called "documentary" shows like Cathouse. Instead, we urge HBO to produce programming that tells the truth about prostitution and its profound impact on human trafficking.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:25 PM

    First, prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas. The link you provided specifically referenced illegal (underground) brothels, staffed by illegal Asian immigrants in Las Vegas, not in the Nevada counties where prostitution is legal.

    Secondly, since this link was in regards to “trafficked” Asian women, a substantial number of these ladies are from South Korea. I can speak with authority when I say that more than 80% of these women are in the United States, working in the commercial sex industry by their own choice. Yes, many of them have incurred enormous debt from some pretty shady characters to get here, but as soon as they are picked up by immigration and returned to Korea, they are looking for a way to get back to the U.S. It is the money they can make, not threats against them or their families that motivates them.

    Third, for more balanced research and opinion concerning the damage done by “linking” prostitution and human trafficking, see some of the articles by Carol Leigh of SWOP (Sex Workers Outreach Project), or if you prefer more scholarly writings, see the work of Ronald Weitzer a sociologist specializing in criminology and a professor at George Washington University,

    We all agree that the very thought of sexual slavery or forced prostitution is totally repulsive; however, you are making the same mistakes made by those in the temperance movement a hundred years ago that resulted in prohibition and a gold mine for organized crime

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for your comments, I'm glad you brought up the problems associated with linking human trafficking to prostitution.

    My goal is to explore human trafficking and present it in multiple viewpoints that show the different sides of the issue.

    And while I agree that making prostitution illegal can drive it further underground and allow trafficking to increase, there are sound arguments and examples (Germany for one) of legalizing the sex industry that have led to increases in trafficking. Australia's sex industry is another example of legalized prostitution that has created a demand for child prostitutes as, in the words of Professor Janice Raymond, "customers want more “exotic,” younger, cheaper women and those who can be induced not to use condoms."

    What is your experience with trafficking and where did you get the statistic that "80% of South Korean women in the United States are working in the commercial sex industry by their own choice?"

    I will definitely be looking into the authors you suggested, thanks for the tips.

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  5. Shenanigans Padunkadunk12:52 AM

    There are going to be pros and cons of every point. When I read the comments by Anonymous, I think of Ann Coulter who refers to the 911 widows as "blood suckers". Fine, there are some Sex Workers out there who "choose" to preform such admirable and noble, not to mention productive lives, great for them! But to challenge anti Human Trafficking, the suffering of human beings who've been victims of this atrocity and then to belittle their pain by promoting the exaggeration of said evil is just too much to bear as far as I'm concerned. I say "F#@! You" Anon! You and your cohorts might as well wear white hoods and exploit who you choose to when you feel to because, well, who cares? Only your pleasures and whims are what counts anyway!

    ReplyDelete