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Sex tourism is a growing issue that confronts the human society at present. It could not be denied that even though there might have been several massive advancements in the society, living away from sex tourism has become an impossible quest for many to accomplish (Mooney, et al, 2008: 87). Government agencies and organizations have practically tried to create solutions for the issue and are aiming to lower down the rate of the individuals entering the industry either by force or by will. However, it could be observed how the businesses under these category, [although at some point illegal] still continue to flourish and develop towards industrial growth. How is this happening? Has the society already accepted that sex tourism is but a regular part of human living and that it actually is becoming an unavoidable mark that defines the liberalization of the current human generation from morality?
Sadly, there are many individuals today who think that way of sex tourism. All for the sake of earning money, some sex workers even view it as a saving ground that could take them away from being haggled by the pressures of poverty. On the other end, for those who do it with all their will, It is quite sad to realize that these individuals even think that they are giving themselves and those that appreciate their job some sort of freedom that allows them to express their sexuality with those who accept the trend of their thinking. Thailand, the so called "free country", is one of the top most destinations of those who seek for sex tourism as a thrill to their vacation. In the country, freedom due to the non-specific laws of Buddhism applied by the people, sex tourism has become a regular part of the communities in the area. Other countries that are badly faring in the process of realizing how sex tourism should actually be viewed include that of the developing countries that have at least 45-55% poverty line among their population. But what likely would be the reaction of Emmanuel Levinas on the matter of growth that this industry is taking? The following paragraphs shall further outline a clarified discussion on the issue involved.
Who is Levinas?
Emmanuel Levinas is a Lithuanian-French philosopher who is known for his stand in applying the rule of ethics as the base foundation of the philosophies he established regarding human living and human value recognition. According to this philosopher, ethics should be the basic basis of human values. The capability of one to recognize this role of ethics could actually allow him the chance to reestablish a practical understanding of the situations that he is undergoing and become more capable of being called "human".
Being 'human' according to Levinas is a coined term that suggest the capability of an individual to release well defined decisions that are intellectually worthy of being recognized as good points of consideration as part of their ways of defining their being (Levinas, 1985, 45). The willingness of one to think first before doing anything suggests on his capability of becoming human who is wise and decisive. Decisions handled along with the concern that one has over ethical measures and provides him the chance to realize the best options that could give him the best end results.
In the aspect of sex tourism, it is deemed that at some point, there are dependent clauses of the philosophies that Levinas might imply in discussing its apparent existence in the society at present. Truthfully, sex tourism is a serious issue that must be given particular attention to. To Levinas, examining the core reason behind this issue is an important part of the process that identifies its being socially accepted. Why would Levinas respond to the issue in such manner? For one reason, Levinas believes that ethics is a personal measure of what is right and wrong (Levinas, 1985, 67). Close to the existence of human conscience, Levinas intends to manifest ethics as a partnering tool that could be used to identify the reality of right from wrong and how these elements of balance should be viewed by the human society as a whole. To understand the issue more, the next section shall further elaborate on what sex tourism is all about.
What is Sex Tourism?
Sex tourism is basically presented as the trade of human flesh for sexual satisfaction of the clients who wish to receive the services that workers in this industry could provide. Understandably, establishments hosting this kind of trade are underground, which means that 87% of the entire industry operates within illegal strands of the governments around the globe. Only a few distinctive countries are allowing such industries to freely operate in their area of responsibility like Thailand which has already been discussed earlier. The concord revelation of this industry's growth perfectly presents how the human society views the morals behind the said course of living.
Workers in the sex industry for sex tourism vary from different ages and genders. All for the pleasure of the flesh, these workers also have different reasons as to why they are engaged in such a trade. Practically, the reasons behind this particular matter could be divided into two separate ideals; one being the forced implication of sex tourism, and the other being that of the willful engagement to the act [these issues have been given primary introduction earlier].
No matter what the reason of the workers maybe, one fact cannot be denied, that this industry would not occur or exist if it is not supported by the people (Staehler, 2009:89). Without the support coming from the society, this industry would never have flourished. Then again, this idea could be supported by Levina's philosophy on the establishment of correlation-theory which indicates the connection of one person to another and rather identifies the responsibilities have towards the other. The theory of totality and infinity suggests that human individuals have necessary responsibilities towards each other. It could be recognized that somehow, the way others allow the sex workers to continue with their lifestyle through supporting what they offer to the market actually fuels their identifiable position in the issue concerned. No sex worker would continue with the trade if no one would buy. No product shall be release to the market if the market does not accept. The philosophical equation that identifies the growth of the social problem brought about by the expanding industry of sex tourism is easy to understand. It a simple thought of who offers and who accepts.
Perhaps the establishment of realization among human individuals of their responsibility towards each other could better provide them an idea of what Levinas might say in accordance with the issue of sex tourism. He might as well insist on the need of human individuals to accept their responsibility towards their fellowman of assuring that they end up in a good source of living and not be intertwined with the lives of those ready to sell them and their life's worth for a couple of dollars just for the sake of earning more (Bevan, et al, 2007: 89). The perpetuators of the industry are actually not thinking of their responsibility towards their workers. Likely, their thought is fixed on the idea that they are giving these men, women, and children the chance to earn easy money through giving pleasure to those who search for such fleshly satisfaction (Cannon Hunter, 2007: 45). Naturally, it could be realized that with this justification of the occurrence of the industry in the society, sex tourism would have a longer length of time to remain in the community. Practical understanding of the situation and how sex tourism is a product of intertwined wrongful decisions on the part of the operators of the industry explains why there is a continuous growth of this aspect of fleshly commerce (Barnett, 2005: 76).
The Pros and Cons of Sex Tourism According to Levinas
What do one's ethical principles suggest him to do? Understandably, Levinas insist on the utilization of personal ethics to help one decide upon matters that confront their capability to respond to the different challenges in life. Considering the aspect of sex tourism, a sex worker could be asked of her personal ethical standards (Cinorenellius, et al, 2008: 90). Does she/he view her work as somewhat ethical especially that it involves having intercourse with different partners every day? Does he/she view this career as a moral basis of living, would it not cause the breakdown of families and at some point the breakdown of respect that others have on themselves?
For the clients of this industry, they might as well ask themselves, would their appreciation for the industry be of good effect to the workers of the industry, the operators of the business and to the whole society as well? Would their acceptance of the services offered to them through the industry of sex tourism actually satisfy their needs and not create further problems in the future? What of their personal health and that of the health of the one they would have intercourse with? Would not all these acts present more problems that pleasure later on?
For the operators of the industry, would their role be justified in ruining the lives of those whom they force to be in the industry or in pursuing the immoral course of living of those who are doing the job willfully? Would they not be concerned of the moral and mental effects of the industry both to their workers and their clients? Would their being as human individuals be properly defined by the role that they have chosen to live with? What legacy of life would they be leaving the generations that follow them and would look up to them as parents or as grandparents or as ancestors? Would they give honor to their name or shame to their families?
The wide scope of responsibility that one has towards his fellowman is what Levinas might suggest to be used to help the individuals subjected within the snares of sex tourism; allowing them to question themselves, their decisions and the roles that they are taking into consideration as particular identification of their being as humans (Perpich, 2008:90). The worth of life should never be neglected, and that worth could be identified well with what one chooses to do with his life. The probable consideration imposed by one for moral values could also help in assuring that sex tourism is ceased hence increasing human worth which is more than a heap of dollars in exchange for a short time experience of fleshly pleasure.
Throughout the world, sex tourism is becoming one of the "hottest" attractions for tourists who visit places for the sake of pleasurable experiences that involve sexual immorality (Herve, 2009: 85). It could not be denied that because of the makeup of the current society's vision towards good morals has already been broken down, the existence of the industries supporting sex tourism continues to flourish. It is indeed a sad truth that must be faced by the human society today. In a world where fornication and lust becomes a normal part of living, industries such as this one is seen to last for a longer time more. The need to stop the chain of events leading to the development of this industry must be handled today.
Ceasing the growth of sex tourism is of course not an easy task to take. As noted by Levinas, social issues such as this one could only be solved depending on the vision and understanding of the human society with regards their ethical responsibilities to their fellowman. Unless they realize that, giving solutions to the intertwined problems brought about by sex tourism and other industries the like would be harder to come by. With the existence of modern technology and the internet, the problem further increases in its social scope. Now, children aged as young as five years of are being victimized by the industry without them knowing it. True, if there is a right time to put a stop to this, it is now. And acting upon it begins with the ones who are accepting the services offered by the industry. Note that if no one appreciates the "product" they offer, then the industry would surely die and cease to create moral problems on individuals already involved in it (Bevan, et al, 2007: 98). As for now, creating social campaigns and establishing social knowledge about the realities binding the truth behind the occurrence of sex tourism could be the first steps towards helping human individuals know of their responsibilities and the roles they must take in standing against the effects of this industry to human individuals worldwide. True, it would be too much objective to say that the problem could be solved completely. However, taking the first steps towards the emergence of moral establishment in response to the supposed downfall of the sex tourism industry is already a good start towards the goal.