The Price of Life: $100 or 3 months
A Singapore court recently sentenced a man for trafficking under-aged girls into the sex industry. Spencer Gwee Hak Theng was arrested, along with his wife, after police rescued multiple girls, under 18 who were imported from Vietnam and forced into sex work by the pair. They were charged with multiple counts. Gwee was sentenced to 5 years in prison for his role. His wife is still on the run.
Five years. Five years in prison for taking children from their families and home, and selling them for sex multiple times a day, every day of the week, for years on end. Five years for submitting girls to daily horrors and abuse. Only five years paid for destroying and breaking a child’s soul. So, what crime does deserve five years in prison? In New York City, possession of 8 or more ounces of controlled substances results in, at the minimum, 15 years in prison. Even a class A – II felony of less than 8 ounces of narcotic controlled substances can have up to 8 years in prison.
I get so angry when I read about sentencing in trafficking cases. I am happy that governments are acknowledging the problem and taking steps to serve justice, but a mere five years for trading human beings like objects?
This same article detailed the conviction of a taxi driver who paid for sex with a 16 year old. Can you guess how much time he was sentenced to? Three months. Three months for raping a 16 year old girl – twice. Three months for contributing to the sexual exploitation, scarring, and degradation of a child.
I don’t think that we have descended to the point of putting an actual price on someone’s life, but I think we have begun to put prices on people’s worth. What does it say about the 16 year old girl’s worth that johns paid her traffickers a mere $100 to rape the girl? What message does it send that those traffickers were only given 5 years in prison, or that the rapist was only sentenced to 3 months?
I don’t have answers for those questions. I don’t know how to quantify, in years, the worth of a girl’s pain and suffering. Do you? How can governments and legal systems provide justice to victims that reflect and acknowledge everything they have been through?
— Guest Blogger, Price of Life Summer Intern Lydia Chu