Markets in everything

“They do what they want,” she says. “After the earthquake you would see [foreign workers] asking to have sex in exchange for supplies. I never did it, but I saw some people who did.”

A UN report, published in May 2015, found that members of its peacekeeping mission in Haiti traded sex for aid with more than 225 women between 2008 and 2014.

That is from Joe Parkin Daniels at The Guardian.


Voluntary exchange. Both parties benefit. What’s the problem ?

The supplies are not the property of the aid workers to dispose of for their own benefit. It's as if I sold my employer's copier paper. (Or even my own legal services, which belong to my employer as long as I am employed full-time by the firm.)

So the problem is theft not sexual exploitation ?

Theft AND sexual exploitation. The aid workers have been trusted to deliver supplies to very vulnerable people. By withholding supplies, they make them more vulnerable and force them to have sex.

@ Blaise I think you create a difference because sexual services are provided and not say a haircut. Given that the theft has occurred , then there if no free stuff. That’s the situation a lot of people are in in the world today ( 700 M according to the World Bank - less than $ 1.90 a day - ). They can’t just lie down and food and shelter are provided to them. They sell their labor or their services as well as they can. Are they all exploited or simply making the best of their economic situation ?

@sine causa

The assumption is that the aid worker was suppose to give the aid to the recipient without any condition. If that was the case, the recipient sexually exploited because it was not voluntary exchange but the aid worker imposed the sex requirement.

@ sort_of_knowlegeable et al

I would concede that the underage ones were sexually exploited because the law of most countries do not consider such persons free agents in these transactions. This “ sexual exploitation” by the way also applies in my mind to any underage woman married by parents to an adult man (which happens very often without the bride giving expressed consent ), a practice that is still fairly common in a lot of the world today.

The Aid workers broke their contract by stealing and exchanging sex for money, that’s it. It’s expressly forbidden so they should not do it.

That does not mean any adult woman was sexually exploited. The women could simply walk away and would probably suffer temporarily the loss of aid. As the article says many of them actively seeked out the aid workers because they knew they were very profitable Johns. You could even argue some men were exploited; due to their lack of familiarity with the country they paid much higher than the market price.

According to the Coase theorem, it does not matter if there's sexual exploitation or even theft, since, assuming low transaction costs, the goods will eventually end up in the right hands and society as a whole will benefit. I would not be surprised if some of these poor Haiti recipients of UN goods sell the goods on the black market after receiving them, for cash.

Wow is that claim wrong! The Coase Theorem assumes voluntary exchange. It most certainly does *not* posit that resources will end up allocated efficiently if theft is possible. Theft undermines the whole Coase structure.

Richard is correct. Coase said if transaction cost are low and property rights well defined, then voluntary contracting can efficiently reallocate rights. Theft implies property rights are not well defined.

Also, Coase’s point was that often transaction costs are significant and/or property rights are not well defined, therefore the initial allocation of rights does matter in many cases because voluntary contracting will not lead to an efficient reallocation. That is, an initial allocation of rights to aid given to predatory aid workers can lead to inefficient (and immoral) exploitation versus an initial allocation of aid to hurricane victims.

Have you tried to exchange your employer's copier paper for sex?

Dear Penthouse Forum,

I never thought this would happen to me. My employer had an oversupply of copier paper...

And lax accounting.


I'm old enough to remember those letters, too.

A long-ago girlfriend parlayed her brand-new ivy-league English degree into a job writing (they called it editing) those letters.

Politicians providing benefits to special interests in return for votes...nothing new.

Presumably the aid workers are violating the conditions of their employment by asking for something in exchange for supplies. But it is the sex aspect that makes this news, of course.

Are the women in a situation that allows them full power to refuse? Do they know that their kids will still get the supplies they need, even if they say no?

No? Then it's exploitation.

Well it might be exploitation but not because of that. That test would make it impossible to hire any poor person.

It's a form of price-gouging.

At least they werent gay!!!

Libertarianism run wild.

You need to think a little about what constitutes "voluntary" participation in a transaction.

Here's some help: A man with a gun threatens to kill you unless you hand over your wallet. Voluntary exchange? If not, why not?

This is the UN. This is what they do. The UN peace keeping forces in other countries make this Haiti story look like true love.

No kidding. The UN has been inflicting this kind of horrific evil on Africans, and others, for decades.

Makes you wonder why Tyler suddenly posts this (without any comment, naturally).

Soon enough, he'll post something else saying that the UN has some kind of moral authority on something so we better listen, or that Trump is a monster to think about reducing their funding.... whatever. It's a sickening organization.

After Al Franken got nailed by the #Metoo people and now this, what are liberal cis men to do?

They've clearly mastered UN-speak:

“Staff with long mission experience states that was a ‘general view that people should have romantic rights’ and raised the issue of sexuality as a human right,” the report said.

This is my shocked face.

It's theft by the aid workers and prostitution by the women, though the latter might get the benefit of a necessity defense here.

Maybe natural disaster are an aphrodisiac.

I wonder whether there is similar exploitation of people working in legal occupations. For example, do any aid workers try to trade aid for groceries with shopkeepers or trade aid for taxi rides with cab drivers? The article mentions that sex workers fear reporting incidents to police, worrying that they will be arrested themselves. For example, one prostitute had her phone stolen by a client and was left stranded in an unknown part of the city. I wonder whether aid workers have stolen cab drivers' cars. How much of the exploitation is due to prostitution being illegal?


Not terribly surprising from the internationalist, globalist crowd. They are pretty much modern day neocolonialists.

Haha, that's not who the individual UN peacekeeping forces are. They're grunts.

It is not surprising that everyone is picking on on what is pretty much second hand hearsay. After all, everyone hates International Do Gooding Jet Setters. But I am not sure that is really the crux of the story here. Another quote is perhaps more important:

“When a car pulls up, everyone is hoping it’s a foreigner because they pay so much more,” she says. “Sometimes we fight over who gets to the car window first.”

There is remarkable little wrong-doing in this article. At least by UN staff or Aid workers.

The United Nations stabilization mission in Haiti consisted of (according to Wikipedia):

"The force is composed of 2,366 military personnel and 2,533 police, supported by international civilian personnel, a local civilian staff and United Nations Volunteers.

Countries contributing military personnel (7,210 in all):
Argentina (558 including a field hospital), Bolivia (208), Brazil (2,200), Canada (10), Chile (499), Croatia (3), Dominican Republic (4), Ecuador (67), France (2), Guatemala (118), Indonesia (167), Jordan (728), Nepal (1,075), Paraguay (31), Peru (209), the Philippines (157), Sri Lanka (959), United States (4), and Uruguay (1,135).

Countries contributing police/civilian personnel (2,038 in all):
Algeria (1), Benin (32), Brazil (4), Burkina Faso (26), Cameroon (8), Canada (94), Central African Republic (7), Chad (3), Chile (15), China (143), Colombia (37).[69][71] Côte D'Ivoire (60), DR Congo (2), Egypt (22), El Salvador (7), France (64), Grenada (3), Guinea (55), India (139), Israel (14), Italy (4), Jamaica (5), Jordan (312), Madagascar (2), Mali (55), Mexico (2), Nepal (168), Niger (62), Nigeria (128), Oman (2), Pakistan (248), Philippines (18), Romania (23), Russian Federation (10), Rwanda (14), Senegal (131), Serbia (5), South Africa (2), Spain (41), Sri Lanka (7), Togo (5), Turkey (46), United States (48), Uruguay (7), and Yemen (1)."

Note that the largest military contingents came from Brazil and Uruguay (the latter had troops accused of outright rape).

One can only assume that this is a nefarious plot orchestrated by China to smear Brazil.

My understanding is that Trump said Haiti is a shit-hole country, but it's also my understanding he never goes there. I'm not saying if I've been there. Have you been there?

My view is that Mueller needs to ask some questions. How often does Trump go there. How long does he stay there. Has anybody objected to him being there. Does he intend to go back there. Does his wife approve of him being there. We need to know.

Thank you for continuing the proud tradition of blaming Trump for for Clinton scandals.

Clinton Foundation provides humanitarian assistance to hundreds of millions of people across the world. Yes, the Clintons, a couple with a effing former president, got rich too, who gives a damn.

Trump enters into shady deals across the world to build fake glitzy hotels to serve the nouveau riche and foreigners. Helps pretty much nobody but himself regularly screws contractors, partners, associates, etc.

And Haiti is Hillary's fault?

The Clinton Foundation asked to change somebodies seat at a banquet one time, so, both sides.

“Hundreds of millions”? Really? Did you read the article linked above? Given your fondness for Trump’s hotels I think you’ll like this extract: “the Clinton Foundation “facilitated” the construction of a “luxury hotel in Port-au-Prince, a Marriott owned by Denis O’Brien, who has given $10 million to $25 million to the Clinton Foundation.“

Have you ever seen a WWII movie where the GI exchanges nylon stockings, chocolate or butter for sex? I don't think women did it for love. Nothing new here. That doesn't make it right, of course.

Why were the aid workers so strapped that they had to barter sex for aid from dirt-poor Hatians?

and how did these foreign prostitutes manage to find so many women there willing to pay them for sex?

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