human trafficking

The hypocrisy of Stu Bykofsky

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As folks know, many of us here at YPP have taken on Stu Bykofsky’s gag-inducing need to publish his fascination with sex tourism in Thailand. Dan, Brendan, Jennifer, myself and others have posted on it below. Today Bykofsky re-appears in his latest Daily News column to declare his arbitrary outrage against human trafficking. The prodding came via the offices of State Sen. Daylin Leach, a genuine champion around human rights and trafficking issues who hosted a film screening and discussion on human trafficking this past weekend.

Here’s Bykofsky's takeaway from that discussion:

I received a semi-personal invitation from the senator's office to attend, and I did, primarily because I support human rights, partly to ask, personally, why I was invited.

A Leach staffer told me it was because of my semi-infamous recent column about Thailand, the last third of which explained - neither defending nor attacking - the slice of the sex trade in bars and clubs. The truth is that although prostitution and trafficking can be related, they are not synonymous. I found no evidence of force, fraud or coercion among the women I wrote about.

Some people, including a few shrill hysterics, wrongly took my column to be an endorsement of pedophilia.

Here's how I feel about child molesters: If one touched my daughter, I would shoot him in both kneecaps and then castrate him. I'd do the same if he touched anyone's daughter.

So if I may paraphrase: Bykofsky’s new logic is now that as long as he asserts his abhorrence for pedophilia and didn’t actually witness force, fraud, or coercion, it’s not trafficking. Bykofsky conveniently ignores the work of far more knowledgeable groups than himself – say, the U.S. Dept. of Justice and human rights organizations around the world – which have ascertained that in Thailand prostitution and trafficking are frequently related; often involve force, fraud and coercion; and that a sizeable portion of trafficking victims are underage children.

It's hard to understand why Bykofsky - who is so unforgiving on a host of issues particularly around immigration - continues to defend his column and assert his self-righteousness now more than ever - he's a human rights supporter don't forget!

Meanwhile, you have to wonder about his ability to recognize his own hypocrisy when so many of his other postings state otherwise. After all this is someone who spent quite a bit of time to boast to his readers exactly where, how much, and how eagerly his “touts” (short I assume for prostitutes) offered their services.

And to this end, if a picture is worth a thousand words, Bykofsky's fully public Facebook mobile upload page (sent to me by an astute observer) makes it pretty clear where his sense of moral outrage was on his overseas trip. A note: I wasn't happy to post these photos but in the end, it was too difficult to talk about just how creepy and leering and hypocritical Bykofsky's whole Thailand thing is without showing it from his own viewpoint.

“In Thailand. It is now Saturday night and time to hit the fabled, naughty Walking Street.”
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“a little simulated action outside a club”
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“female touts try to attract business”
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”more touts on Walking Street”
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”and more touts”
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“On Walking Street a bartender in a beer bar. Girl? Boy? Are you sure? Do you care?”
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Yeah, Stu, we do care. And maybe if you had spent half as much time reading about human trafficking in Thailand as you did luridly snapping photos and posting them for the public to view on your Facebook page, maybe we wouldn't have to revisit this again.

I'll let Bykofsky's own words appropriately encapsulate the limits of his moral outrage on human trafficking:

”An endless supply of girls with no marketable skills, but rentable bodies, heads for cities to work in the sex trade. Although prostitution is officially "illegal," it flourishes and Thais tolerate it.

Just about everyone in a bar or club - from dancers to hostesses to servers - is available to go, after you pay a "bar fine" to compensate the bar for reducing its work-force. That happens after you agree with the woman on a price, what she will and won't do, for how long and where.

Bar fines are $10-$20, girls in bars charge $50-$100. Streetwalkers along Beach Road and the infamous Walking Street charge a fraction of that. Few are drug addicts. There are no pimps, and each woman is an independent contractor who also shares in the bar fine and any drinks bought for her. She can earn in one night what a clerk makes in one week.

But when I see a young woman walking with a farang (foreigner) who looks like a Pop-Pop leading his granddaughter by the hand to a Toys "R" Us, I feel bad. They are not headed to the toy store. They are headed to his bedroom.

He's rich, by her standards. She's poor, selling her youth and beauty to support herself or her family. Nothing is forcing her, except maybe circumstance.

That makes me feel bad, but every journey is external and internal. It's true for me, DeCeglie, and the Thai bar girl.”

Bykofsky was right to decry trafficking. He was wrong in not taking the time to apologize for his previous column and rethink "personal journeys" that derive their entertainment from the exploitation and misery of others.

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