In addition to that sex tourism occurs in a manner that is generally difficult to legitimately police efficiently. Tourist will come to a country on business and while there they engage the locals in any number of activities.
Economically both sex and romance tourism provides income for the persons engaged in the practice. In Jamaica where the "rent a dread" practice is dominant many young men depend on the largess of foreign women for their successful living. Many also tie their future fortunes to the women falling in love with them and taking them back to Europe or America. In depressed areas sex is a major income earner for persons who have nothing else to trade.
The sex trade in its multiple manifestations provides income for some and pleasure for others. The immediate challenge is that it represents the bankruptcy of the individual and the country when the last resort is the sale of the body. In many instances women are forced into prostitution by forces beyond themselves and this requires further explication and examination. The real issue may be the fact that we can effectively commercial pleasure based on the state of societal degradation. Sex is not only sold it is bought.
Discuss the tension between human rights and cultural rights with regard to sexuality and sexual practices. You may consider such examples as genital mutilation, honor killings, violence against women, treatment of homosexuality, and reproductive rights. How can understanding the context of these practices help us to transcend the debates over human rights vs. cultural rights? Should sexuality be a human right?
The development of human rights was a step forward in determining a basic behaviors and values for citizens of the world. The intent of human rights is to protect individuals from abuse and to encourage the development of the living standards of all the worlds' peoples. There is an inherent assumption that the values expressed as rights are universal in their interpretation and implementation. This is however not the case as each society interprets these rights within the context of their cultural and social dynamics. Sexuality is one such right that by its very nature must be articulated through the cultural and social framework of each society.
Consequently, the variation in practice across the globe as it relates to sexuality finds support from the persons who understand the symbolic meaning of the behaviors and see them as consistent with the society. Often these persons are from the society and are sympathetic to the cultural norms and values. Other persons looking on at these practices are abhorred and disgusted that such practices continue. They take the position that their understanding of sexuality is the correct understanding and does not require any parsing through a cultural motif.
The question of female genital mutilation represents one such challenge. This practice often called female circumcision involves the removal of all or parts of the external female genitals. This practice which is very prevalent in many African countries is designed to mark the entry of a girl into womanhood and is also seen as enhancing the beauty of a woman. Thus the practice has deep cultural significance for those who engage in it. To the western mind however it is a heinous and horrid practice that must stop. The cultural meanings that are attached to the practice are not accepted in the West and the behavior is seen as a violation of the sexual and reproductive rights of the women in that society.
The rights of homosexuals are another instance where the international community imposes a view of sexuality on some cultures that are not open to that view. For many western countries homosexuality is a legitimate and non-moral issue. In many countries in Europe same sex marriages are common and there is little alarm as it relates to homosexual and lesbian practices. The attitude is one of acceptance of the sexual choices of another person. Additionally in many of these countries homosexuality is seen not as a choice of the individual but rather as a natural state. So some persons are born homosexual just as some are born heterosexual.
There are many other countries where such a scenario is complete unacceptable and there is no allowance for homosexual practice in private, and far less for the public expression of love in same sex unions. These countries view homosexuality as a lifestyle and see the persons who engage in the behavior as immoral. They do not accept that people have little choice in their sexual orientation. These countries further reinforce this position legislatively and socially. There are usually laws in the country against sodomy and other behaviors associated with homosexuality. This is not simply a legal problem but there is a cultural and social component to the issue. Homosexuals are often the recipients of hate related violence in an effort to shame and degrade these persons.
The challenge in these situations is that individuals should have a right to choose their sexual orientation and whether they participate in specific sexual practices of their country. That right is part of being human. It is not right and not a privilege. The personal nature of sex and sexuality demands that the associated decisions should be made by the individual. The decisions are not made in a vacuum; they are influenced by the cultural and social dynamics that surround the individual. This influence however does not negate the need for the individual to make a decision.
Sexuality is both personal and community. The community elements are often found to crowd out and subsume the personal elements. If however the personal side of sexuality is allowed to have a generous voice in any debate the issues become clearer. Each person should have the freedom to make decisions regarding their sexuality and its expression, without force or constraint. Where these conditions are extant…