In Pakistan, a dark trade comes to light
By William Sparrow
Early military governments and religious groups sought to reform areas like the famous “Taxali Gate” district of Lahore by displacing prostitutes and their families in an effort to “reinvent” the neighborhood.
While displacing the prostitutes might have temporarily made the once small red-light district a better neighborhood for a time, it did little to stop the now dispersed prostitutes from plying their trade. Reforming a neighborhood, instead of offering education and alternative opportunities, appears to be at the core of early failures to curb the nascent sex industry. This mistake would become a prophetic error as now the tendrils of the sex trade have become omnipresent in cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore, not to mention towns, villages and rural outposts.
An aid worker for an Islamabad-based non-governmental organization (NGO) recently related a story: quickly after his arrival in the capital, he realized the house next to his own was a Chinese brothel. The Chinese ability to “franchise” the commercial sex industry by providing down-trodden Chinese women throughout Asia, North America and Europe would be admirable in a business sense if it were not for the atrocities – human trafficking, sexual slavery and exploitation – which cloud its practice. Continue reading