Thursday, May 1, 2008

NY: Trashy HBO SHow Gets Heat From Public

Advocates protest at HBO's corporate headquarters in Manhattan.

NEW YORK CITY - Women's rights advocates and others are putting the heat on the HBO reality series "Cathouse," which follows the happenings in a legal brothel in Nevada. They say that the cable show is normalizing the demand for prostitution and fueling sex trafficking in the United States. A protest held outside HBO's corporate headquarters in Manhattan last Thursday drew attention to the show's negative social impact.

"In 'Cathouse' the reality of the sex industry is distorted. Pimps are transformed into businessmen. It also shows that the buying and selling of women is harmless and normal," said Norma Ramos, co-director of the advocacy group Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. "HBO cynically labels 'Cathouse' as a documentary when in fact it packages prostitution as entertainment."

An estimated 14,500 to 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into the United States each year, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice. Roughly 80 percent of all trafficked victims are women and girls, 70 percent of whom end up in prostitution, according to statistics from Ramos' group.

Facing protests over "Cathouse," HBO has defended its reputation.

"If one looks at the long list of powerful, award-winning programming from HBO's documentaries that have championed urgent human rights issues women face, it is clear that an accusation of 'promoting prostitution and sex trafficking' is simply an unfair claim of the great work done here," reads a statement from HBO...


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