Thursday, December 12, 2013

Lowering age of consent would harm anti-trafficking efforts

by Sam Hailes - 11th December 2013

Reposted from: Lapido Media

Discern danger: Dr Mark DurieA PUBLIC HEALTH official’s bid to lower the age of consent would undermine the fight against human trafficking, warns an Australian professor.
Human rights activist Dr Mark Durie said the current law was ‘necessary…in order to prevent the trafficking of children’, as he spoke out against Faculty of Public Health President, Professor John Ashton’s suggestion to lower the age of consent to 15.
Slapped down: Prof John Ashton. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PAIn an attempt to provoke ‘a debate’ on the age of consent, Prof Ashton had told The Sunday Times that society should accept around a third of boys and girls are having sex at 14 or 15.
His comments were quickly slapped down by leading political figures including Prime Minister David Cameron who said there were no plans to change the current law.
Speaking this week Dr Durie explained, ‘The age of consent is not designed to prevent younger people from having sex with each other, but from being abused by people who are older and whose life experience has made them skilled at manipulation of someone who is young and vulnerable'.
Citing a 1885 Pall Mall Gazette report written by William Thomas Stead and a 2013 police report titled Threat Assessment of Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Dr Durie said, ‘both identify 14-15 as the target age group for trafficking girls for sex’.
'To remove all possible legal uncertainty about whether young people have 'consented' to being trafficked or prostituted, the age of consent is needed. 16 is a minimum age when a child begins to have more adult-like ability to discern danger and say no. When the age of consent was raised in the 19th century, there was a measurable reduction in prostitution of younger girls.
‘There is an argument that even 16 is too young for the age of consent’, he added.
The Anglican pastor also claimed there is a lack of political will to fight human trafficking and that both the government and Christians need to take more action.
‘Few people are willing to get out of bed in the morning for the sake of trafficked girls. This is a measure of the low state of Christianity in the UK’.
Dr Durie’s words follow Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby’s rallying call in the Church Times  that human trafficking ‘demands concerted action from the Church’.
The price of flesh: Salvation Army awareness campaign
But Salvation Army spokesperson Isobel McFarlene believes the root problem is not lack of action but a lack of awareness and said the organisation was ‘working hard…to raise awareness’.
The organisation, which was founded in1865, was praised in a speech earlier this year by the Ministry of Justice’s Helen Grant MP.
She said they were 'at the coalface, looking after and supporting victims of the terrible crime of Human Trafficking'.
Speaking about the connection between human rights and faith, Professor Bernard K. Freamon, who teaches a course on Human Trafficking and the Law at Seton Hall, New Jersey says all three monotheistic faiths have texts that 'accepted the institution of slavery'.
He argues that the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and Qur’an all 'sought to humanize and regulate the practice of slavery rather than seek its outright and immediate abolition'.
But Dr Durie has argued abolitionist George Stephen (1794-1879) believed the 1833 act to abolish slavery in the UK was inspired by belief in God.
Stephen wrote, ‘The main strength of the abolition party lay among the middle and lower classes, and this support had been created by faithful adherence to the text, that to uphold slavery was a crime before God, and consequently that its abolition must be immediate and unconditional'.
Modern organisations such as the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Passion City Church have sought to follow in the footsteps of Wilberforce and Stephen as they often target their campaigns at young Christians.
In a speech last year President Obama mentioned both IJM and Passion City Church by name, saying they, ‘like the great abolitionists before them, are truly doing the Lord’s work’. He also praised Christians who 'were answering the Bible’s call -- to "seek justice" and "rescue the oppressed".'
David Batstone, who profiled the rise of the 21st century abolitionist movement in his book Not For Sale and has been described by Bono as a ‘heroic character’ said, ‘Slavery takes so many forms, as it is interwoven within legal industries and is embedded into the supply chain.'
The struggle against it was a sacred calling, he said.
‘This is a serious battle for us…I really believe that God gives us a vocation, and I believe there is a purpose for our lives on this earth.'

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kevin Rudd on Slavery, Same-Sex Marriage and Biblical Literacy

This week Prime Minister Kevin Rudd used a confused argument about the Bible to defend his position on same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Four Research Issues Relating to Same-Sex Marriage

This post gives an overview of what I have been able to learn about research studies about issues which affect the same-sex marriage debate.  I have a table below which summarizes claims and findings about four key empirical questions relevant to the same-sex marriage debate.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Queering Marriage

The current push for same-sex marriage is but a staging post in a deeper and longer-term campaign being waged against heteronormativity and heterosexism.  Heteronormativity is the assumption that heterosexuality is the norm and heterosexism is the resulting bias in favour of opposite sex relationships.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In Defense of Marriage: a response to Kevin Rudd

I was intrigued to read of Kevin Rudd's change of heart on gay marriage last week. He now supports changing the legal definition of marriage to encompass same-sex relationships.  Whereas in 2008 Rudd championed the removal of all other forms of discrimination against same-sex couples, he now  believes Australia should go all the way to equalize same-sex relations, right down to and including the fundamental building block of the family, marriage itself.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dr Kermit Gosnell's Chamber of Horrors

Dr Kermit Gosnell was until recently an abortion provider in Philadelphia.  When a raid was conducted against his facility, euphemistically referred to as the Family and Women's Medical Society, what FBI agents and state police discovered horrified them. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Looking for marriage in all the wrong places -- By Spengler

This article was originally published here with the Asia Times.

Two mutually incompatible arguments are advanced to defend gay marriage. The first states that marriage is a good thing provided by the state, such that gay people have the same right to it as anyone else. The second states that marriage is a bad thing, and that bringing gay people into the institution of marriage will destroy it from the inside.