In an article accompanying "Stag Weekends: The Dirty Secrets," a special that aired tonight (UK readers can watch a teaser and see listings here), Simon Boazman writes,
The British stag party has changed in the past 10 years. The drink down the pub with dad or your mates is gone. It has been replaced with three or four nights in a foreign city, far from prying eyes and geared to meet the stag party's every desire.
But unlike articles that merely tsk-tsk at the dissolute habits of the drunken Brit abroad, Boazman draws a direct line between the phenomenon and the growth in demand for trafficked sex workers in countries like the Czech Republic and The Netherlands. Travel agencies like Piss Up (tagline: "Beers, Babes, and Bullets") organize the trips and promote them with photos of bikini-clad women. No mention, of course, that some of them may be working against their will.
Boazman interviews a woman trapped in Amsterdam for year as a sex worker against her will, and he poses as a brothel owner and meets with a sex trafficker. The secretly-filmed "transaction" takes twenty minutes. He also scores an on-air interview with another sex trafficker, a Slovakian working in Prague:
I asked if he viewed the trafficked girls as his employees.
"More like things that I own," he said.
Such honesty may be rare, but the attitude behind it isn't surprising for someone who is, well, in the business of buying and selling women's flesh. What's arguably more disturbing is the conversation with the stag partier and prostitution client whom Boazman interviews in Amsterdam.
"I don't agree with that, I think it's awful," he said [of sex trafficking] but admitted it probably would not stop him using a prostitute again that night.
"I disagree with it, but at the end of the day it's just what happens, like. You can't do anything about it. You're just here to have fun, and do things you won't get away with back home."
It's a chillingly efficient way to illustrate the dehumanization of these women for the sake of the anonymous pleasure of men who happened to be born in a wealthier country. There's nothing like going away to rationalize it.
[Image via Stag Prague]