April 22, 2012 · Posted in: General
THERE’S MORE TO THE prostitution scandal rocking the United States secret service than just the security issues involving U.S. President Barack Obama.
A network of 300 civil society organizations in Latin America decried last week’s incident when members of a US secret service advance party sent ahead to Columbia to secure the site for visiting US President Barack Obama got involved in a dispute over payment of local sex workers.
Some 12 secret service members and half a dozen military officers allegedly brought several sex workers to their hotel a week before Obama’s arrival for the Summit of the Americas. The scandal broke out when the sex wprkers said that at least one of the secret service members had refused to pay the agreed amount.
The US media has largely focused on the issue of whether the extra-curricular activities of the agents had compromised the security of Obama. The agents have already been stripped of their security clearances, and six of them have been fired or forced to resign.
However, the Latin American and Caribbean Network for Democracy (Redlad) decried the attitude of the secret service agents “to take advantage of their power and refuse to pay what was agreed with the workers, after taking the woman’s body and making use of sexual services.”
The group said that while prostitution has always been and will always be “a human rights issue and a manifestation of the discrimination that affects women,” the actions of the secret service agents was another example of violence against women.
“We are aware that prostitution in Cartagena is due to inequality and poverty in many of our cities, and that Cartagena is one of the centers of sex tourism which affects women and girls and prostitution increases the feed of international networks of sexual tourism,” Redlad said in a statement.
The group demanded that the full disclosure of the results of the investigations supposedly being done by the US Embassy in Columbia, the Foreign Ministry of Columbia, and the local government of Cartagena.
Moreover, the group demanded that the Columbian government provide adequate security for the sex workers to ensure their safety while the scandal is being investigated.
“We demand further progress of public policies to eradicate gender violence, discrimination, trafficking in women and sexual exploitation of children in the city,” the groups said.