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There was never such a thing as true freedom of speech. In the past, in order to speak freely you had to have access to a printing press, a newspaper, a radio or a TV station. And everywhere you had to get past the editors. Only members of the elite ever did – the articulate and well-behaved 'representatives' of ordinary people. But those ordinary people hardly, if ever, had a chance to speak publicly and freely. Until now. The age of blogging has begun. The internet revolution has given us all a chance to be irreverent, blasphemous and ungrammatical in public. We can reveal secrets, blow whistles, spill beans or just make stuff up. The old elites don't like it. In fact, they really, really hate it. Blogs are commonly shut down, and bloggers are silenced, reprimanded and fired from their jobs. Suddenly modern liberal society reveals a repressive face that few of us knew existed. Should we behave ourselves? Should we fall silent? Absolutely not! Let's call them on their hypocrisy. Let's demand that modern liberal society lives by the principles it claims to embrace. Bloggers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your gags.
This book brings an important new perspective to the study of sex trafficking by considering the different types of social contracts which existed in the past that had sexual labour or activity as an inherent component. It outlines the nature of these social institutions - marriage, temporary marriage, debt bondage and slavery - which were recognised in local law, carried no stigma and endured for long periods. It discusses how labour pledged in return for a loan of cash or as a result of a punishment dictated by the state often included sexual labour, and how this could take the form of servicing the master of the house, or his guests, or foreign travellers, who paid the person who held the debt for the privilege, and how even wives of different ranks, temporary or permanent, and children, were pledged as sureties for loans. The book, which covers the modern states of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, argues that cultural norms are not static, that sexual contracts are more complicated than simply "marriage" or "prostitution", and that as trafficking for sexual purposes increases those engaging in humanitarian intervention would do well to understand better the historical underpinnings of cultural understandings of familial and contractual obligations.
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