• Do porn stars have human rights?

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    REY ELBO

    REY ELBO

    WHEN it comes to human rights, things are often not as simple as they appear at first glance. Take the debate about public order versus human rights. For several decades, many of us are silently supporting the extra-judicial killing of suspects involved in the illegal drug trade, rape, murder and other heinous crimes.

    People applaud the summary executions of suspects to bypass the tedious and painfully slow judicial system that is being propagated by its corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy. With the landslide victory of Rodrigo Duterte to the Philippine presidency, many expect him to rule with an iron fist to maintain discipline, peace and order, not only in Davao City of which he is mayor but in the whole country, as well.

    The same expectation, however, gives insecurity to a lot of people, including the choice of those who will be on the chopping block or the bull’s eye in a shooting range. At the rate we’re going, we often hear about suspects being killed because they tried to shoot it out with the apprehending officers, if not grapple for the gun of their captors.

    The trouble in this scenario is that, for some malevolent but unexplained reasons, many of the suspects are under-privileged and belong to the small-fry category, including young men and women in the flesh trade.

    Indeed, this is a complex issue. But let’s simplify things and take one case at a time, especially one issue that runs the risk of being ignored – the case of bar girls, porn stars, prostitutes and their pimps. I’m not an expert on this issue. That’s why I’m asking this question — isn’t it clear that they too have human rights?

    Even if the answer is in the affirmative, it is being called into question by the opponents of Human Rights Now (HRN) that claims that Japan’s multibillion dollar pornography business “had violated the human rights of women and girls through means such as blackmail [and]virtual enslavement,” as reported by Hifumi Okunuki in the May 22, 2016 issue of The Japan Times.

    One formidable critic of the HRN report is Mariko Kawana, a writer, former porn star and industry insider. She is censuring HRN for its false indictment of Japan’s porn business whose goods are prominently displayed in many of Japan’s convenience stores.

    Kawana, who was famous ten years ago for playing the role of bijukujo-mono (beautiful old woman) claims that in more than 400 porn films she made, she never felt violated as she was the one who constantly yelled and screamed at the film director and his crew whenever there was something amiss in the set.

    Incidentally, the HRN report calling for a renewed commitment to human rights by Japan came days before the 42nd summit of G7 member-countries at Ise-Shima last May 26-27, 2016.

    Always conscious of our parochial concern in the Philippines, I sent a Facebook message last Wednesday to one prominent labor lawyer and posed the same question – “Do porn stars have human rights?” Perhaps, he thinks I was joking that I missed receiving his answer up to press time.

    Or maybe the right question should be more specific – “Are bar girls, guest relations officers, prostitutes, cyber call girls and their pimps entitled to human rights?” Knowing him from a distance, I was expecting him to say something like this: “Good question, but isn’t it a rhetorical one?”

    But exactly, what is a rhetorical question? It’s a question that may not need a question mark. It doesn’t need a direct answer but its purpose is to start an intelligent discussion or at least to put those persons who hear it to be on red alert like what Solita Collas-Monsod did when she posed the question:

    “How do you solve a problem like Duterte?”

    Monsod’s May 28, 2016 column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer draws parallelism to Rodgers and Hammerstein 1959 musical “The Sound of Music” in which the question – “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” is repeatedly answered with another impossible question that has no answer:

    “How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?”

    To end this piece, let the question — “Do porn stars have human rights?” be considered an utter declaration that the answer is patently clear that “human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” And that’s according to Hillary Clinton.

    Rey Elbo is a business consultant on human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter for his random management thoughts.

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