Saturday, October 15, 2011

Capitalism without Sugar Coating

A colourful outside: what's inside? [1]
A few days ago (October 11, 2011) the BBC published "Where Child Sacrifice is a Business", by Chris Rogers. BBC News, Kampala:
"The villages and farming communities that surround Uganda's capital, Kampala, are gripped by fear. (...)
"In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice.
"The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health
(...) has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country's economy".
The idea is that a "customer", resolute to achieve business success and wealthy enough, pays the witch doctor his apparently considerable "fees", in exchange for his "consulting services":
" 'There are two ways of doing this,' he [Awali, i.e. the alleged witch doctor] said. 'We can bury the child alive on your construction site, or we cut them in different places and put their blood in a bottle of spiritual medicine.'
"Awali grabbed his throat. 'If it's a male, the whole head is cut off and his genitals. We will dig a hole at your construction site, and also bury the feet and the hands and put them all together in the hole'."
This is what the search for profit and business success looks like in Uganda.

Mind you, things are much different in developed nations, right?

Judge by yourself, after this passage, from last Monday's Four Corners ("Sex Slavery", by Sally Neighbour and Peter Cronau, 10-10-2011, joint investigation Fairfax Media/ABC Four Corners):
SALLY NEIGHBOUR [reporter]: "What about the men who pay to have sex with these women? Have you got a message for them?"
CHRIS MCDEVITT
[Australian Federal Police, Human Trafficking Unit]: "I absolutely do have.
"They want to be careful, because if they knowingly go into these situations and knowingly use somebody who is subject to slavery, they can find themselves at the end of a criminal charge.
"And I would have no hesitation - and indeed would relish the opportunity - of locking anybody up that was actually involved in that knowingly. It's disgraceful.
"That's the market. That's where the profit is."
That's capitalism without sugar-coating. As Neighbour put:
SALLY NEIGHBOUR: "Like most businesses the flesh trade survives on consumer demand. A key reason why sex trafficking thrives is that customers want Asian women, who are reputed to be more submissive and more compliant with demands such as unsafe sex."

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Further Information:
The Four Corners Sex Slavery report contains additional information (see bottom of the page). It links to abundant recent written coverage of the topic (largely by Fairfax Media), including the alleged murder of Australian citizen Abraham Papo, and to institutions focused on fighting slavery in general (apart from sexual slavery, there is labour slavery, not covered in this news item).
To report a suspected case of human trafficking, call the Australian Federal Police on 131 AFP (free call), or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
I don't know if there is something that can be done about the Ugandan murders.

Congratulations to the BBC Kampala bureau, Fairfax Media and the Four Corners team for their courageous reporting.

Image Credits:
[1] Multicolored chocolate buttons. Wikipedia.

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