Prostitution & Imperialism Topic for Discussion by Asian Women Groups at World Social Forum


[MONTREAL] The relationship between imperialism and prostitution will be the focus of discussion between three leading Asian women feminist groups at the World Social Forum. Featured participants in the roundtable discussion include United States based transnational women’s group AF3IRM, the Philippine Women’s Centre of Ontario, and Asian Women for Equality Society. The roundtable is free and open to the public. It takes place August 11, Thursday 9 am -11:30 at the Cegep du Vieux Montreal, 255, Rue Ontario E.

“The practice of prostitution is rooted in patriarchy, colonialism and imperialism. These are points that get glossed over or ignored in neo-liberal discourse about prostitution,” explains Sarah Mah of Asian Women Coalition Ending Prostitution (also known as Asian Women for Equality Society). The organization was a leader in winning Nordic style legislation in Canada, that recognizes the role of sexual and racial inequality that facilitates and encourages male demand to prostituted women and girls.

“Prostitution is a consequence of the spread of feudalism and capitalism into the economies and cultures of the global South, feeding on the vulnerabilities and exploitation of women’s bodies. It has followed us into migration and plagues us in our communities here in the United States,” says Emelyn dela Pena, National Education Director of AF3IRM whose group has the slogan, “a woman’s place is at the head of the struggle.” AF3IRM is an all-volunteer, grassroots organization whose members recognize the intersectionality of their struggles and the absolute necessity of women’s revolutionary resistance.

“The discussions around prostitution in the Left must be in the context that we are paving a revolutionary path towards women’s liberation. Our analysis cannot leave out the conditions and realities of the majority of women exploited and trafficked for the global sex trade.” says Charie Siddayao of the Philippine Women’s Centre of Ontario whose group focuses on combating systemic racism, overcoming economic marginalization, making the Filipino youth count in Canada’s future, and enhancing Filipino women’s genuine equality, development and human rights.

About the World Social Forum (WSF): The largest gathering of civil society to find solutions to the problems of our time. Started in 2001 in Brazil, the WSF brings together in each of its edition tens of thousands of participants to more than a thousand activities including workshops, conferences, artistic performances on various themes such as social solidarity, economy, environment, human rights, democratization.


For information or to arrange an interview: Sarah Mah or Suzanne Jay at