About a Refugee Selling Sex

There’s a rundown large park in Athens, the Pedion Aeros Park, there a section of the park is known as a place to get sex. Mostly older men walk by at night in search of it. There too several refugees from Afghanistan and other countries, live in tents or however they can, and earn a living selling themselves. One 20-year old Afghan interviewed for the article I read said he was ashamed of what he did, but that was the only thing he could do. The alternatives were to steal, or deal in drugs and that seemed the least violent to him. He is in Greece illegally, cannot find any country that will have him and has no money to pay smugglers. In a place where sex can readily be had, the price goes down, so he gets 5 euros each time. That’s the going rate. Sometimes he can make up to 10. Once in a while men come by and want to have a party, so they can bargain and go up to 200 euros for the whole night. But regardless, people like the young Afghan refugee make just enough to eat.
This article moved me on several levels. The first thing that hit me was that rarely do I read about the sex trade involving boys and men. And it is just as disturbing to read about them as it is about girls.
Then there’s the fact that while this young man and his cohorts chose to do this and were not forced to as are those who are trafficked, their plight, their circumstances, their future is no better.
And that brings me to another reason I found the article troubling, it is the kind of conditions that lead to dead end lives. What is the future for people like this young man? If he continues what he is doing, given the lack of alternatives, there is bound to come a time when he will not be young and desirable and his sexual services not be either as in demand or marketable?
Trafficking victims, sex trade workers, refugees, migrants, their numbers add up to millions if not more, all human beings struggling toward nothingness. Despite rare exceptions, what hope is there for them? They have no education, no marketable skills, no opportunities to be able to pursue normal lives. Will they know more than survival, more than hardships and surely disease, grinding poverty and then death, hopefully not through violent means? At what point will despair grip them?
What is our responsibility to people who are thus trapped? Aid agencies struggle to even be able to deliver food aid, and in some recent cases have had to reduce their rations to be able to feed more. Diseases and their victims languish for lack of funding to eradicate them. While some NGOs exist to rescue trafficked girls, given the number, it is but a very small fraction. And what of some of the many migrants and refugees like this young boy? There just aren’t enough resources or funding to begin to tackle the need.
The least we can do is to bring their plight out of the shadows, in hope that somehow in the not too distant future, the idea that all human beings deserve basic necessities can come to the fore; and too the idea that the world community, if not the human family, owes these human beings, owes them to live with a modicum of what it takes to have a decent life. Shining a light on the existence of these fellow humans is not enough, certainly not enough to help the millions currently suffering, but it’s all I know how to do for the time being.
Please join me in making those ideas more accepted.