|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 76 - Monday January 30, 2006
|Imported Love and Labour |
Long ago I read the story of a French nobleman and his estranged wife. They agreed to live in the same house but sexual intercourse was no longer appropriate between them. That was until one day, the man glanced, then gazed at his spouse and she seemed more attractive and sexy-looking than ever before.
He advanced, naturally and perhaps legally compromising their NO-SEX arrangement. But she stopped him:
�How much do you pay your most expensive mistress?�
�Five thousand francs,� he replied. And 200 hundred years ago that was plenty bread.
�Pay me five thousand francs each time,� she said.
The man protested that it was absurd for a man to pay his wife. . . But was it? His wife insisted, and he paid.
So at age sixteen, having read the great French short story writers like Guy de MAUPASSANT, DAUDET, and others, and having looked up �prostitute�, I was already convinced that the dictionary meaning, sadly or otherwise, did not necessarily exclude married people.
Some argue that certain married couples make each other pay all their lives. That is why marriage has so much to do with the law of contract, they contend.
Very recently, one fellow challenged me, saying that the Church had no moral authority to condemn prostitution. They should first remove the Biblical beam from their own eyes, consistent with Mathew 7:3. I chickened out saying that I was too hyper and too old to pursue argument; and that I was not a practising Catholic; and that he should address his concerns elsewhere.
At some other time, in some other place intellectuals may wish to debate those issues. Today I invite readers to focus on the reason(s) why we should be concerned, even terrified, about the neighbours we import for love, for labour, or for re-export.
Mine is not a moral thing about being �better than thou�. Indeed, I wish we could find viable, wholesome methods of assisting our neighbours from Hispaniola. I am reminded that no school-child expresses the ambition to be a prostitute when he/she grows up.
We too migrate from Dominica because our economy is inadequate to provide us with employment and other resources that we need, or want. Some of us are in similar distress as those from Hispaniola. It may be just a matter of degree.
Cut out therefore, the snobbery and the superficiality and consider this:
By law, those who must get Dominican citizenship, or permanent residence and employment are mandated to give evidence that they are healthy. This is to say that they do not have HIV/AIDS, and so on. They are tested to so determine.
But it seems that the prostitute can pay $400 and ply her dangerous trade without health
checks and without tests. CALL YOUR LEADERS AND REPRESENTATIVES AND
DEMAND THAT THEY RESOLVE THIS MATTER EXPEDITIOUSLY AND IN A
NON-PARTISAN WAY. IT IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS; IT IS ABOUT
COMMONSENSE AND THE HEALTH OF THE NATION.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) did a study and published a report in June, 1996: See �TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN FROM THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC FOR SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.�
In 1995 it was estimated that Dominican Republic sex workers abroad numbered more than 50,000. Guess how many of them there are today and how many are here with us.
�GLOBAL TUBERCULOSIS (TB) CONTROL: WHO Report 2004� estimated 8,149 TB cases in 2002 in the Dominican Republic. That same source, that said year, estimated 26,224 TB cases in Haiti. These figures are stale. Yet, what is the probability that a few contaminated people land here looking for �work�, however defined?
The United States Agency for International Development estimated that 88,000 people from the Dominican Republic were living with HIV/AIDS at the end of 2003. That was materially more than the whole population of Dominica.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Health and Human Services have documented that �Haiti is the Caribbean country most highly affected by HW/AIDS.� Some 280,000 Haitians were HIV infected....about four times the size of Dominica�s population.
Can it be that some of those are living and working with us, untested and undetected?
The international experience has been that prostitution tends to be related to, or tends to attract organized crime. . . .that includes human trafficking, the drug trade, money laundering, and all what this implies.
So, we can debate personal revenues forgone when the Police makes a search. But such considerations should not transcend the interest of the society as a whole. Whether they
come by plane or boat, and whether we land them here for love or labour or for re-export, or some combination of those reasons, the true cost to Dominica is greater than you think.
This is dedicated to the Registered Nurse (Retired) who for love of Dominica is willing to take a step out of anonymity, to provide the above statistics, and to warn the population.