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Source: (consider it) Thread: Aid workers and prostitution
lilBuddha
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Originally posted by Stetson:

quote:
TL/DR: A perceived "Do as I say, not as I do" ethos is harmful to the credibility of the NGOs, and could result in less public support for their causes.
But it isn’t truly “Do as I say, not as I do”. Yes, that might be a perception and it is certainly the spin of uncaring bastards, but it isn’t what is happening. It is poor management of an inevitable occurance. Accountability of the agencies is important. So is helping the disadvantaged. Using what has happened as an excuse is not excusable.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Sarasa:
... I definitely think there is a certain amount of using this as an excuse to cut aid, I hope it doesn't stop people donating to the shops. Apparently two volunteers at our shop have decided to leave because of this scandal.

The only point on which I'd disagree with you Sarasa, is your use of the words 'a certain amount'. I am sure that the Daily Mail is keen to use this as an excuse to whip up both hostility to aid generally and Oxfam specifically. It sees Oxfam as a nest of dangerous lefties hostile to it and critical of the international financial interests of its proprietors and their chums.

And do you instinctively believe anything the Daily Mail says? The thing that worries me, is that I know people who do. Personally, I find it better to assume everything in it is fake news unless corroborated by someone else who is reliable.

[ 13. February 2018, 20:27: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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Penny S
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I wonder if everyone concerned with the DM is squeaky clean.
Present at the President's thing the other week, perhaps?

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Alan Cresswell

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I don't know if any of the staff at the Mail have ever been involved in some form of sexual misconduct. But, they're certainly involved in inciting racial and homophobic hatred and violence, propagating lies about immigrants and muslims, seeking to suppress and prevent democratic processes, and printing other lies and misinformation. They may be clean in regard to sexual misconduct, but they have blood on their hands on other counts.

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Kaplan Corday
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There is an element of evolving attitudes in this issue.

George Orwell, despite his excoriation of imperialism, used young prostitutes in British colonial Burma and French colonial Morocco (quite likely under-age in the former, and almost certainly in the latter) without any apparent awareness of its constituting an exploitation of a power differential, ie rich (comparatively) Westerner and poor peasant.

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Gramps49
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As I understand it, only a handful of Oxfam employees wore involved in using prostitution. That detracts from all the honest workers who are doing very good things with what they have.

It is a terrible situation that young girls are at the point of having to prostitute themselves just to keep them and their families alive. Remember Haiti has next to completely devastated by an earthquake. But it is true that even before the earthquake wealthy men were going to Haiti on sex trips. While it is illegal in Haiti, prostitution is everywhere.

A little-known fact is that prostitution actually civilized the Wild West of the United States. Remember Kitty from Gunsmoke? She was not just the owner of a saloon, she was a madam. Remember the stairs going up to some rooms? They had beds in them.

At the Comstock Lode in Nevada, they had 2,306 men working the mines, and there were 30 women in the camp. They were not laundry maids. Those women were getting up to $50 dollars a week, far more than the men working in the ground.

It was not uncommon for a Madam of several girls to give them healthcare. They were offered protection unlike the schoolmarm or the women that did follow their husbands out west. They were able to walk freely down the streets, drink booze, even develop dances that eventually became the craze of the Roaring 20's. Lipstick? Came from those painted girls.

Moreover, many prostitutes helped to set up schools, libraries, even (gasp) churches and whole towns were developed.

Don't believe me? You might want to read
this article.

Here is also a video that also explains how they settled the west.

That is not to say there weren't any dangers for these women. Some died in childbirth. Some became addicted to drugs. Some died violently but without them, several states would not have been able to join the union when they did.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
As I understand it, only a handful of Oxfam employees wore involved in using prostitution. That detracts from all the honest workers who are doing very good things with what they have.

It is a terrible situation that young girls are at the point of having to prostitute themselves just to keep them and their families alive. Remember Haiti has next to completely devastated by an earthquake. But it is true that even before the earthquake wealthy men were going to Haiti on sex trips. While it is illegal in Haiti, prostitution is everywhere.

A little-known fact is that prostitution actually civilized the Wild West of the United States. Remember Kitty from Gunsmoke? She was not just the owner of a saloon, she was a madam. Remember the stairs going up to some rooms? They had beds in them.

At the Comstock Lode in Nevada, they had 2,306 men working the mines, and there were 30 women in the camp. They were not laundry maids. Those women were getting up to $50 dollars a week, far more than the men working in the ground.

It was not uncommon for a Madam of several girls to give them healthcare. They were offered protection unlike the schoolmarm or the women that did follow their husbands out west. They were able to walk freely down the streets, drink booze, even develop dances that eventually became the craze of the Roaring 20's. Lipstick? Came from those painted girls.

Moreover, many prostitutes helped to set up schools, libraries, even (gasp) churches and whole towns were developed.

Don't believe me? You might want to read
this article.

Here is also a video that also explains how they settled the west.

That is not to say there weren't any dangers for these women. Some died in childbirth. Some became addicted to drugs. Some died violently but without them, several states would not have been able to join the union when they did.

There are apparently additional issues with the operation of their charity shops in the High Street. It seems they have been taking on volunteers with few background checks and it's resulted in claims of abuse against other (vulnerable) staff and volunteers.

I must admit I was staggered when I heard this. It's an unbelievably lax approach, so much so that it must be policy.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

A little-known fact is that prostitution actually civilized the Wild West of the United States. Remember Kitty from Gunsmoke? She was not just the owner of a saloon, she was a madam. Remember the stairs going up to some rooms? They had beds in them.

At the Comstock Lode in Nevada, they had 2,306 men working the mines, and there were 30 women in the camp. They were not laundry maids. Those women were getting up to $50 dollars a week, far more than the men working in the ground.

It was not uncommon for a Madam of several girls to give them healthcare. They were offered protection unlike the schoolmarm or the women that did follow their husbands out west. They were able to walk freely down the streets, drink booze, even develop dances that eventually became the craze of the Roaring 20's. Lipstick? Came from those painted girls.

Moreover, many prostitutes helped to set up schools, libraries, even (gasp) churches and whole towns were developed.

This seems to me to be a post-temporal* justification: Yeah, prostitutes died regularly of STDs, yes they were exposed to terrible violence, yes they lived outside of the protection of the law, yes they were effectively sold or forced into a lifestyle they wouldn't have chosen. But hey, they built churches.

This is meaningless in my opinion. And one could make a very similar argument that comes close to justifying slavery.

* not sure if this is a proper term, I just mean seeking to put a historical wrong in the best possible light

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
There are apparently additional issues with the operation of their charity shops in the High Street. It seems they have been taking on volunteers with few background checks and it's resulted in claims of abuse against other (vulnerable) staff and volunteers.

I must admit I was staggered when I heard this. It's an unbelievably lax approach, so much so that it must be policy.

Is it? What kind of checks are you expecting a charity shop to make of volunteers?

I doubt that checks are made for every possible role in church - who thinks to do checks on people who clean or wash the dishes? If children are not involved, there is no particular reason to do a police check.

As a result, it is entirely possible that bullying happens. It is entirely possible that sometimes this might have been avoided if extensive checks (personal, police) had been made.

But, as anyone who has worked in any role with others knows, even more formal checks for employment do not always stamp out bullies.

It is best practice for British volunteers to at least have references for volunteer roles in charity shops. In practice there is often a massive turnover of volunteers so this is practically impossible.

This is not a story. And a shameful way to extend a real issue in disaster zones into British charity shops.

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arse

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

I doubt that checks are made for every possible role in church - who thinks to do checks on people who clean or wash the dishes? If children are not involved, there is no particular reason to do a police check.

Children or vulnerable adults.

[ 14. February 2018, 07:33: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
There are apparently additional issues with the operation of their charity shops in the High Street. It seems they have been taking on volunteers with few background checks and it's resulted in claims of abuse against other (vulnerable) staff and volunteers.

I must admit I was staggered when I heard this. It's an unbelievably lax approach, so much so that it must be policy.

I'm not sure there would be a legal requirement for background checks in that instance. Though the charity shop sector does tend to have a higher proportion of vulnerable adults volunteering than would be the case for employees in retail generally. Does there need to be background checks whenever there may be a vulnerable adult in the same room? In which case it would need to be a requirement for all employers since the alternative would be the (illegal) decision not to employ vulnerable adults.

I bet that the same idiots who are up in arms about the lack of background checks would equally be indignant if it was revealed that Oxfam admin costs were high because they'd paid for background checks on all their staff and volunteers - I don't know the costs but even if it was just £100 then that would be £3m or so just to do checks on current staff and volunteers, and there's probably a high turnover of volunteers.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
Children or vulnerable adults.

Well ok. It is possible that someone vulnerable might volunteer in a charity shop or cleaning a church. Of course there are different kinds of vulnerability, but in my experience arrangements are made (such as support workers in attendance) where this is known to be an issue in a charity shop.

I suppose in an ideal world every person who volunteered in a charity shop would have a police check because they might interact with a vulnerable adult.

I have never known of a charity shop that did this. And I've seen how the various charity brands run their shops and manage volunteers.

[ 14. February 2018, 07:46: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I suppose in an ideal world every person who volunteered in a charity shop would have a police check because they might interact with a vulnerable adult.

If you follow it to the logical extent, then everyone may meet a child or vulnerable adult. We should ensure everyone has a full background check before they're allowed outside their front door.

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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
I bet that the same idiots who are up in arms about the lack of background checks would equally be indignant if it was revealed that Oxfam admin costs were high because they'd paid for background checks on all their staff and volunteers

This.

Two things are clear here (to me, anyway).
1) The sexual exploitation of people by Aid Workers is abhorrent.
2) Many are using this as a stick to beat Aid in general and that is also evil.

How cynical do you have to be to use sexual exploitation of vulnerable people to further your agenda?

AFZ

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Curiosity killed ...

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DBS checks cost £26 for a standard check and £44 for an enhanced check. They are free for volunteer positions.

It costs £13 a year for someone to subscribe to the update service - so the standard £44 + £13 for the first check.

(So should use preview post)

[ 14. February 2018, 07:57: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
I'm not sure there would be a legal requirement for background checks in that instance. Though the charity shop sector does tend to have a higher proportion of vulnerable adults volunteering than would be the case for employees in retail generally. Does there need to be background checks whenever there may be a vulnerable adult in the same room? In which case it would need to be a requirement for all employers since the alternative would be the (illegal) decision not to employ vulnerable adults.

I suspect this depends on who is determined to be vulnerable. Charity shop volunteers are often older, often younger, often unemployed and sometimes lacking in social skills that one might expect in employment. Of course this makes some vulnerable as they lack the resilience to cope with things like bullying.

But I'm not sure that many who volunteer would count as being the kind of "vulnerable adult" that would therefore require routine police checks of other volunteers. As far as I know, no high street charity shop brand routinely checks volunteers in this way.

quote:

I bet that the same idiots who are up in arms about the lack of background checks would equally be indignant if it was revealed that Oxfam admin costs were high because they'd paid for background checks on all their staff and volunteers - I don't know the costs but even if it was just £100 then that would be £3m or so just to do checks on current staff and volunteers, and there's probably a high turnover of volunteers.

Sadly charity shops are the face of the big charities, so tend to be a convenient whipping boy when there is a charity scandal. In practice few charities make much money from charity shops (relatively, considering the costs and comparing to other incomes) so a sad result of ongoing attacks in this way might well lead to some deciding that it isn't worth the effort. Charities like Oxfam use their charity shops as a literal shopwindow for their work, so they're always going to be badly affected by this scandal.

Also possibly worth remembering that volunteering in a charity shop is quite a weird thing and often causes conflict. There are a lot of pissed-off ex-volunteers, so some saying that they're leaving Oxfam because of the current problem is no big deal in and of itself.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
DBS checks cost £26 for a standard check and £44 for an enhanced check. They are free for volunteer positions.

I thought they were free to the volunteer but cost the charity. Am I wrong in thinking that?

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arse

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Penny S
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I am now feeling guilty about something I didn't do anything about.
There was a new Oxfam shop in the town, unusually with a male manager, and he was from one of India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. He was also a smarmy type, sucking up to white female customers, and triggering my antennae, so I didn't spend long in there.
That wasn't what I should have done something about, though. There was a young black volunteer, and on one occasion she was going through the children's clothes, and asked him if she could have a discount on the item. There are ways of pointing out that the purpose of selling things there is to make a profit for the charity, but one of them is not saying loudly "You aren't in Africa now."
I left at once, and didn't return, but I had no idea who I should speak to, and also was afraid he would use the race card at me. And i wish I had done something.

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Curiosity killed ...

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Most employers pay for DBS checks. It's a few years since I was given a DBS* check as a volunteer, but that was free both to me and the organisation.

* I pay for my own DBS on the update service, which means I'm covered for the voluntary work I do too. But the update service has only been running for a few years. It's not so long ago that I had 5 current CRB checks for different things as each organisation required their own CRB. (CRB checks became DBS checks not that long ago)

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Enoch
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I can't always say this, but I find myself agreeing with Mr Cheesy's recent posts.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:
I am now feeling guilty about something I didn't do anything about.
There was a new Oxfam shop in the town, unusually with a male manager, and he was from one of India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.

I'm sure he wasn't. Nobody from Pakistan, India or Sri Lanka would get a visa to be a manager of a charity shop.

quote:


He was also a smarmy type, sucking up to white female customers, and triggering my antennae, so I didn't spend long in there.
That wasn't what I should have done something about, though. There was a young black volunteer, and on one occasion she was going through the children's clothes, and asked him if she could have a discount on the item. There are ways of pointing out that the purpose of selling things there is to make a profit for the charity, but one of them is not saying loudly "You aren't in Africa now."
I left at once, and didn't return, but I had no idea who I should speak to, and also was afraid he would use the race card at me. And i wish I had done something.

Sounds inappropriate although possibly the volunteer was a recent refugee from Africa where haggling is a feature of commerce.

I actually think some charity shop managers need to lighten up. The purpose of the shop is to maximise a return of profit to the charity, not to have products on shelves awaiting for months the ideal customer who will pay the full asking price. Haggling is an distraction in a shop where there is a lot of trade and items are easily sold for the full asking price. But may be a benefit if trading is slow.

Also charity shop managers might well benefit from giving volunteers a discount.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
Most employers pay for DBS checks. It's a few years since I was given a DBS* check as a volunteer, but that was free both to me and the organisation.

Oh right, I didn't know that. Possibly they should be more routinely used in charity shops than they are in my experience, then.

[ 14. February 2018, 08:22: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Penny S
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Correction - his family was from .....
But his English was accented, and he could quite possibly have been part of the group that came in from Uganda. Or, indeed, have come in earlier as from the Commonwealth before rules were changed.
And he had contacts who could get him clothing in sub-continent fabrics - which I would have quite liked.
Anyway, his race was part of my problem with dealing with his behaviour.

[ 14. February 2018, 08:24: Message edited by: Penny S ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Penny S:

Anyway, his race was part of my problem with dealing with his behaviour.

Yes, it certainly sounds like it.

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arse

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Alan Cresswell

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Curiosity killed ...:
DBS checks cost £26 for a standard check and £44 for an enhanced check. They are free for volunteer positions.

I thought they were free to the volunteer but cost the charity. Am I wrong in thinking that?
If they are free to the charity then the only cost is the time to fill in the paperwork and await the check to be returned.

Though, of course, that's effectively a multi-million pound government subsidy to charities. If the government charged for those checks, and if we're talking children and vulnerable adults it won't be the basic check that's demanded, that would give the government oodles of extra cash to fund tax breaks for the rich.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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alienfromzog

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This from the Independent is very good

I particularly like how it finishes:
quote:
Quoting Rachel Moran:
Wouldn’t you say, if a person cannot afford to feed themselves, the appropriate thing to put in their mouth is food, not your cock?

AFZ

--------------------
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
[Sen. D.P.Moynihan]

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Lola

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

A little-known fact is that prostitution actually civilized the Wild West of the United States. Remember Kitty from Gunsmoke? She was not just the owner of a saloon, she was a madam. Remember the stairs going up to some rooms? They had beds in them.

At the Comstock Lode in Nevada, they had 2,306 men working the mines, and there were 30 women in the camp. They were not laundry maids. Those women were getting up to $50 dollars a week, far more than the men working in the ground.

It was not uncommon for a Madam of several girls to give them healthcare. They were offered protection unlike the schoolmarm or the women that did follow their husbands out west. They were able to walk freely down the streets, drink booze, even develop dances that eventually became the craze of the Roaring 20's. Lipstick? Came from those painted girls.

Moreover, many prostitutes helped to set up schools, libraries, even (gasp) churches and whole towns were developed.

This seems to me to be a post-temporal* justification: Yeah, prostitutes died regularly of STDs, yes they were exposed to terrible violence, yes they lived outside of the protection of the law, yes they were effectively sold or forced into a lifestyle they wouldn't have chosen. But hey, they built churches.

This is meaningless in my opinion. And one could make a very similar argument that comes close to justifying slavery.

* not sure if this is a proper term, I just mean seeking to put a historical wrong in the best possible light

I agree with mr cheesy. In my mind the examples you cite are simply a further factor of the prostitutes being reduced from people to commodities. Things. A bus business services its fleet of vehicles so it can continue to use them to earn money not from any benevolent goal. And it might tie ribbons and balloons over them and drive them round the streets when the town has a carnival but that too is about advertising and cold hard cash.
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alienfromzog

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quote:
Originally posted by Lola:
I agree with mr cheesy. In my mind the examples you cite are simply a further factor of the prostitutes being reduced from people to commodities. Things. A bus business services its fleet of vehicles so it can continue to use them to earn money not from any benevolent goal. And it might tie ribbons and balloons over them and drive them round the streets when the town has a carnival but that too is about advertising and cold hard cash.

Yep.

There are countless stories from all over the world of slaves being well-treated and provided for by their owners. These particular stories are part of the whole when it comes to slavery but it would be deeply disingenuous to use them to try to justify slavery. It is wrong for one person to own another.

For the most part (with a small number of exceptions) prostitution - as well as involving sex - is a form of slavery. Often it's economic enslavement but it's still enslavement.

Desperate women forced on to the streets. Anyone using such a 'service' is de facto taking advantage of these women.

And that's before we even look at the underage girls involved.

If Oxfam has not done due-diligence in terms of whom it employs, it should be called-out for that. If Oxfam has somehow been complicit, it should be called-out for that too. If, on the other hand, Oxfam found the problem and dealt with it (as best as possible) then that's very different. My skepticism here stems from knowing that the ones doing the calling (as it were) have an agenda and a track-record of anything but support for the most vulnerable.

The bigger issue of how to protect such people from exploitation is surely not Oxfam's responsibility alone?

On LBC yesterday was a brilliant caller who had served in the British Army and been sent to the former Yugoslavia. He told of how local women employed at the British base were allowed to take potato peelings home and his job was to check their bags for stolen items. He found multiple hams and cheese and whatever else they could find and never confiscated one because he knew how desperate these people were. He gave them money when he could. He did not expect sexual favours in return.

AFZ

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Callan
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
quote:
Originally posted by Lucia:
As a tangent I'm interested in the timing of this sudden revisiting of an issue from 7 years ago.
Undoubtedly there are serious issues around safeguarding within charitable and development work, as there are for many large organisations where people work in contact with vulnerable people.

But I can't help wondering if Oxfam has some powerful enemies who would love to make trouble for it. They have been much more vocal in recent years about the causes of poverty, in particular highlighting how much of the world,s wealth and income is owned by a small number of people. Only last month they released a new report into this to coincide with the World Economic forum meetings in Davos. I can quite imagine that this is not popular with certain people, perhaps certain people who have the ear of a newspaper like The Times, or are supporters of the Conservative Party...

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist I think this is almost a given. The icing on the cake for, I suspect, the same people, is the way it's giving the gutter press an opportunity to attack the whole concept of aid.
I remember Catholics making similar complaints that the child abuse scandal was being exploited by people with an ant-Catholic agenda. They were probably right but it didn't follow that the child abuse scandal shouldn't have been uncovered. I don't doubt that Jacob Rees-Mogg and Paul Dacre saw an obvious advantage when the news broke but it doesn't follow that reporting it wasn't in the public interest.

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LeRoc

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In one way, the development sector is more vulnerable to this than other sectors.

If one person in the car industry does something bad, no-one will say: we should stop buying cars.
If one person in the development sector does something bad, a lot of people will say, loudly: we should end development work.

One bad apple affects the development sector more than other fields.

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quetzalcoatl
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But then there are a number of people itching to find reasons to stop foreign aid. So of course, they are jumping all over this, and saying, see, we told you that aid was a bad thing. Of course, as someone pointed out, the logic is wacky - some of our aid workers have been corrupt - and the solution is the punish those who need aid.

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Stetson
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quote:
If one person in the car industry does something bad, no-one will say: we should stop buying cars.
If one person in the development sector does something bad, a lot of people will say, loudly: we should end development work.

The difference is(and this is similar to what I tried to outline above), the development agencies are essentially "selling" you a moral worldview, one not subject to the same kind of benefit-calculation as a car company's product.

AID AGENCIES: You should be concerned about poverty and exploitation in the third world, and support our groups' in their effort to alleviate it.

JOHN Q. PUBLIC: But some of your top leaders are going over there and coercing these impoverished women into sex. So why the hell should we listen to anything YOU have to say about the tragedy in the third world?

Now, is that a fair critique? Maybe not. In fact, it might be a variation of the old logical fallacy the tu quoque. On the other hand, some people might conclude "Well, if seeing these so-called tragedies isn't enough to dissuade aid workers from behaving like bog-standard sex tourists, maybe the horror isn't that big a deal to begin with."

Again, I'm personally inclined to think that the problems in the third-world are indeed real, and that the aid agencies are making things at least a little better for the people affected. But, given the recent revelations, I don't know if I could neccessarily make the most convincing counterargument to someone who wanted to believe the cynical interpretation.

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Stetson
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And as for "People don't stop buying cars because of bad behaviour by automobile execs...

VW profits down by 20% after emissions scandal

Granted, that's just for the company that was running the scam, not for the car industry in general. Still, not an entirely logical response from the consumer, since VW would be unlikely to pull that stunt twice.

And I doubt they'd get much sympathy if they were to start whining about how environmentalists were just exploiting this scandal to push their pre-existing animosity toward Volkswagen.

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Leorning Cniht
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:

Granted, that's just for the company that was running the scam, not for the car industry in general. Still, not an entirely logical response from the consumer, since VW would be unlikely to pull that stunt twice.

"I'm not going to buy from you arseholes - I'm buying from someone else" is an entirely logical response to a company's reported bad behaviour.

Note that there's no suggestion that people are buying fewer cars - just that they're not buying VWs. Because people know that they need cars.

With something like foreign aid, however, it's much easier for one bad actor to tarnish the whole field.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:


Note that there's no suggestion that people are buying fewer cars - just that they're not buying VWs. Because people know that they need cars.

Wrong

Car sales are down, diesel car sales have dropped off a cliff.

[ 14. February 2018, 17:20: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
But then there are a number of people itching to find reasons to stop foreign aid. So of course, they are jumping all over this, and saying, see, we told you that aid was a bad thing.

I don't believe that we should stop foreign aid. But I do wonder if this scandal asks some deeper questions about how we "do" it ... for instance, about the burgeoning aid "industry", about the way that the aiders are almost inevitably in a position of power vis-a-vis the people they are trying to help, about the way in which aid can be targeted so as to help promote the aims and values of foreign governments.

Many years ago I read that a very high proportion of foreign aid money effectively never leaves the donor country since it goes into the pockets of salaried workers or on buying aid equipment and products to hand out at the other end. If true, there's nothing intrinsically wrong in that - but it should make us think.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

Car sales are down, diesel car sales have dropped off a cliff.

At the risk of going off tangent here; car sales are down because wages have stagnated. For a while dealers were able to compensate for this with attractive finance offers, but with warnings over the viability of this model the sources of the financing have dried up.

Diesel car sales have fallen because a large percentage of new diesel sales are to the fleet companies like Lex, Arval etc, and because of reality of rising taxes on diesel company cars (and the possibility of more to come) people have opted for cars with lower taxes (like hybrids - which in reality are probably worse for the environment). There's a hint of this in the article:

"Mr Hawes said that confusion about the future of diesel had fuelled a backlash against diesel cars."

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Stetson
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Baptist Trainfan wrote:

quote:
Many years ago I read that a very high proportion of foreign aid money effectively never leaves the donor country since it goes into the pockets of salaried workers or on buying aid equipment and products to hand out at the other end. If true, there's nothing intrinsically wrong in that - but it should make us think.
Well, if they're "buying aid equipment and products to hand out at the other end", that counts as leaving the donor country, doesn't it?

Point taken about salaried workers in the home-country. It seems to me that progressives don't really buy the argument made by private-sector corporations that CEO salaries have to be as high as they are because they need to attract good talent, and those wages are what the market is dictating at the present time. But I suspect that's the same sort of argument an aid-agency would make if someone said their upper-level staff was overpaid.

The philosopher Peter Singer used to(maybe still does) run a website that analyzed which charities were the best, in terms of ensuring that donor-money is spent in the most effient way possible. I wonder what they said about Oxfam.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:

The philosopher Peter Singer used to(maybe still does) run a website that analyzed which charities were the best, in terms of ensuring that donor-money is spent in the most effient way possible. I wonder what they said about Oxfam.

There's an entire movement of 'effective altruism' that attempts to quantify this kind of thing.

In general larger charities tend to do badly in these kinds of ratings. As they tend to engage in a wider range of activities some of which are difficult to quantify (vs eradicating a single disease), and also the larger a charity is the less likely it is that *additional* donations will lead to effective outcomes.

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Stetson
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Oxfam scandal spotlights lack of NGO oversight in poor countries

According to that article, getting paid in US dollars widens the chasm between the aid workers and the people they're helping.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Well, if they're "buying aid equipment and products to hand out at the other end", that counts as leaving the donor country, doesn't it?

It can be argued that it is a subsidy for those products and businesses.

Again, there is a difference between disaster and other aid situations; however, for example US food donations have been produced with the help of subsidies and may depress national agricultural economies.

Or look at Iraq where massive corporations scrabbled for US dollars leaving very little left in terms of tangible benefits in the ground.

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L'organist
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Going back to the OP, surely its not that the men involved were working for NGOs, charities, abroad or in the UK: the problem is why do some men seem to feel the need to (a) pay for sex; and (b)feel that the best sexual encounter, at least for them, is one where there is a gross mis-match of status, power, etc?

Sure, there are times when sexual physical release would be good and one doesn't have a partner - speak to those of us who are bereaved about it - but you can't tell me that in this day and age, and with people at the top of the "aid industry" pile being paid as much as they are, they are prevented from going home to wife or girlfriend from time-to-time? Or, dare I day it, just put up with lack of a regular sex life for periods being one of the downsides of the job?

Bottom line: you don't need sex in the same way that you need food, shelter and safety: sure, sex would be nice, but there's always the old hand-jive.

This scandal isn't about sex, its about power.

[ 15. February 2018, 10:47: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Going back to the OP, surely its not that the men involved were working for NGOs, charities, abroad or in the UK: the problem is why do some men seem to feel the need to (a) pay for sex; and (b)feel that the best sexual encounter, at least for them, is one where there is a gross mis-match of status, power, etc?

Sure, there are times when sexual physical release would be good and one doesn't have a partner - speak to those of us who are bereaved about it - but you can't tell me that in this day and age, and with people at the top of the "aid industry" pile being paid as much as they are, they are prevented from going home to wife or girlfriend from time-to-time? Or, dare I day it, just put up with lack of a regular sex life for periods being one of the downsides of the job?

Bottom line: you don't need sex in the same way that you need food, shelter and safety: sure, sex would be nice, but there's always the old hand-jive.

This scandal isn't about sex, its about power.

Yes, and very disproportionate power I suspect.
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Anselmina
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quote:
Originally posted by Lola:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

A little-known fact is that prostitution actually civilized the Wild West of the United States. Remember Kitty from Gunsmoke? <snip>

Moreover, many prostitutes helped to set up schools, libraries, even (gasp) churches and whole towns were developed.

This seems to me to be a post-temporal* justification: Yeah, prostitutes died regularly of STDs, yes they were exposed to terrible violence, yes they lived outside of the protection of the law, yes they were effectively sold or forced into a lifestyle they wouldn't have chosen. But hey, they built churches.

This is meaningless in my opinion. And one could make a very similar argument that comes close to justifying slavery.

* not sure if this is a proper term, I just mean seeking to put a historical wrong in the best possible light

I agree with mr cheesy. In my mind the examples you cite are simply a further factor of the prostitutes being reduced from people to commodities. Things. A bus business services its fleet of vehicles so it can continue to use them to earn money not from any benevolent goal. And it might tie ribbons and balloons over them and drive them round the streets when the town has a carnival but that too is about advertising and cold hard cash.
I agree with Mr Cheesy, too.

Just because some women were smart, resourceful and persistent enough to get some good results out of fucking-for-finance doesn't make it 'civilization'. Think what they might've achieved if they had had a greater number of legitimate options for their entrepreneurial skills than selling their fellow females, or themselves, to men for sex.

'Power' is what buying and selling sex is about. Who has the power to pay for his sexual satisfaction. Who is so powerless over her own earning potential that selling herself becomes the best option. That equation alone spells out something badly wrong in a society. And I am aware that those pronouns can be swapped in some circumstances.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:

That is not to say there weren't any dangers for these women. Some died in childbirth. Some became addicted to drugs. Some died violently but without them, several states would not have been able to join the union when they did.

Not some, most. The article and the video highlight the exceptions, not the rule. Many, many more died in obscurity of overdose, disease and murder.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Anselmina:

'Power' is what buying and selling sex is about.

I disagree.
Prostitution, for the customers, is primarily about sex. Many likely don't care why a prostitute is in the business. Most won't think too hard about it. This is not absolution, exploitation is exploitation, ignorance is no excuse.
Not that there is no power differential, but if there were lines of willing men and women offering free sex with no question or qualification, prostitution would dramatically drop.
The issue is that, for the prostitutes, there is a power differential and many other problems that generally accompany the issue.
Prostitution, for many of the people on the receiving end, is not a good thing. Most often the very opposite.

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quetzalcoatl
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Yes, I think the power aspect is overplayed sometimes. It probably does appeal to some men, to have sex with a subordinate woman, but to make the subordinatation the central issue is a bit odd. Plenty of guys want to fuck someone, and they look for someone available.

As to aid workers who do this, you would have to look at them individually, surely?

[ 15. February 2018, 15:54: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Yes, I think the power aspect is overplayed sometimes. It probably does appeal to some men, to have sex with a subordinate woman, but to make the subordinatation the central issue is a bit odd. Plenty of guys want to fuck someone, and they look for someone available.


I think it's like a lot of other activities where there is a power-imbalance: sometimes the imbalance is part of the attraction, sometimes it isn't.

Some people who commit armed robbery probably get off on waving phallus-shaped weapons in the face of their terrified victims. On the other hand, a lot of them probably just calculate it's an easy way to get cash.

[ 15. February 2018, 16:50: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Stetson
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Desmond Tutu resigns as Oxfam ambassador over immorality claims

And, no, contrary to the awkward wording of the headlines, Tutu himself was not the subject of the "immorality claims".

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L'organist
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posted by quetzlcoatl
quote:
...I think the power aspect is overplayed sometimes. It probably does appeal to some men, to have sex with a subordinate woman, but to make the subordinatation the central issue is a bit odd. Plenty of guys want to fuck someone, and they look for someone available.
I didn't suggest that the men - and it seems to be exclusively men - in these cases are consciously into the power thing in these sexual encounters (although I suspect a few are) but that because of the inequality of status, opportunity, etc, between the two protagonists it ends up being a power thing, at least in part.

In the case of senior aid staff preying on junior aid staff, whether local employees or staffers/interns from a donor nation, then power definitely does come into it, just as it does within an office environment in, say, London or New York. Don't tell me that the relative power, or lack of it, isn't an issue when a 50-something boss decides to hit on a 20-something intern or local employee: the 50-something predator is likely to be "the boss" or of senior status and the junior isn't, so there is going to be a natural fear that refusing to accede to sexual demands is going to have a negative effect on their job prospects, up to and including being fired.

"Plenty of guys want...available" - well, maybe, but if you're working for an organisation dedicated to bringing relief and improving the lives of people after natural disaster or who are generally impoverished, even those people who may seem to be "available" - I assume you mean working as prostitutes? - may only be doing so out of economic necessity. As most sex workers in the west will tell you, they didn't choose the life they have, they were forced into it out of necessity. So the whole notion of "availability" is clouded by the deeper issue of lack of choice.

[ 15. February 2018, 20:06: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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