Recently, my husband and I visited Aruba for the white sand beaches, ocean water and time together to embrace and celebrate our marriage of ten years. While many visitors, like ourselves, come to Aruba for the white sand beaches, turquoise water, and day spas, sadly, others come for a different reason. Prostitution is legal in San Nicholas, Aruba, making it the De Wallen of the Caribbean.
Aruba is a source and destination country for women and young girls, subjected to sex trafficking. Venezuelan women especially are vulnerable to trafficking in the commercial sex trade where there are over two dozen bars, each with Columbian or Venezuelan girls ranging in age from early to mid 20s — “Ladies of the Night.”
Where the trading of a person as a commodity is an accepted form of work, there is acceptance of abuse, trafficking, rape, trauma from abortion, STI’s, STD’s and AIDS. Any person willing to exchange money for sex is fueling not only the trafficking of a person, but that individuals oppression, drug or alcohol addiction, and physical and sexual abuse –not to mention, a persons own entanglement in the depths of addiction.
Every part of the girls’ “employment” in Aruba is supposed to be particularly regulated in the red light district. Each girl is employed with a temporary work visa for 90 days, then kicked out. During her time in Aruba, she gives the funds collected from her own vulnerabilities being manipulated to the bar owners, the people who may have trafficked her, or to the government that allows this form of objectification. After all, she has to purchase a temporary "work" visa.
The price exchanged for a girls body to be raped — treated as a commodity, $35. When the objectification of women is permitted through legalizing prostitution, what is also permitted is everything that comes along with this horrific kind of degradation. Decriminalizing prostitution, is unfortunately, an idea gaining momentum here in the United States, and one that is voiced loudly by Kamala Harris of the Democrat party. This is alarming to say the least, and should startle each one of us sober to the significance of sounding the alarm we continue to sound.
Making prostitution legal, is saying that it's okay for a rape culture to exist. No one should ever be treated as a commodity, but instead, a treasure to be protected–body, spirit and soul.