Harry

 
   

several girls in bikinis on a boat yacht

Sex Trafficking

The Truth


 

Happy Hookers of Eastern Europe 

Phelim McAleer

The Spectator

The truth behind the myth of sex-slave trafficking.

(Note by AH: The huge fabrications by western government officials concerning the issue of sex-trafficking are mostly designed to give themselves good jobs and pensions for doing very little. Their figures concerning sex-trafficking into western countries are mostly inflated by a truly staggering amount; just one recent example being the claim that 40,000 women would be trafficked into West Germany to cater for men attending the Football Cup Final when, in fact, it was found by the Justice Department that some 5 women might have been trafficked.)


The reports of Eastern European women being forced into prostitution in the West are as numerous as they are horrific. They have worried the government so much that the Home Office has plans for a new scheme to provide ‘safe-houses’ for the victims of sex trafficking. But for many who work with these ‘sex slaves’ the women’s accounts are just that — stories. It is seldom reported, but widely known, that most women volunteer for the trip westward because of the money they can make.

The sex-slave stories are suspiciously similar. The women are usually from some deprived backwater. They have naively answered advertisements for jobs as waitresses or nannies in the West. However, when they arrived to start their new life, their documents were confiscated, they were beaten and raped into submission, and forced to become prostitutes. They then claimed to have been kept as sex slaves, sometimes chained to beds, terrified and servicing as many customers as the brothel owner demanded.

According to the International Office of Migration which rescues and shelters these women, there are an estimated 400,000 enduring this existence. But as anyone who works closely with the prostitutes and who isn’t infected with victimitis knows, the IOM version of events is nonsense.

 the overwhelming majority of girls going to the West understand before they leave that they will be working in prostitution

Take Assistant Chief Constable Andy Felton, a British police officer who has been working in Romania for the past three years. Most of his time has been spent on Project Reflex, a unique Romanian/British venture to stem illegal immigration into the UK. As part of the initiative, Felton has interrogated those deported from the UK. ‘Some are tricked into becoming prostitutes, but the overwhelming majority of girls going to the West understand before they leave that they will be working in prostitution,’ says Felton.

He has found that far from being gullible peasant girls, as portrayed by the IOM, most were seasoned prostitutes before they left. For brothel owners ‘experience is essential’; it makes poor business sense to trick unsuspecting girls into the trade. Those without experience but who still want to go are tried out in the nearest big city to avoid making a dud investment.

So the sad and perhaps unpalatable fact is that most Eastern European women working abroad as prostitutes do so out of choice. This choice may be dictated by appalling poverty and lack of opportunity in their home countries but it is, nonetheless, a choice.

The minimum salary in Romania is $50 a month — even less in Moldova and Ukraine. It is not surprising that many women become sex workers, if only to support their families. But if the punters are all living on tiny wages, the amount left over for prostitutes will also be small. No wonder the temptation to do the same work in the West for $100 a client proves just too tempting.

In the sex-slave myth, the recruiters scour Eastern Europe with smooth talk and big promises. These latter-day big bad wolves lure women with offers of jobs and a bright future. A frightening scenario, indeed. It just isn’t true. ‘There is no huge international prostitute recruiting team travelling around Central and Eastern Europe. There is no fleet of Mercs with blacked-out windows and a madam in the back luring women abroad,’ says Felton.

 almost all the women’s westward journeys were arranged by someone they know. ‘This tends to be a family member ...

His investigations have found that almost all the women’s westward journeys were arranged by someone they know. ‘This tends to be a family member, or a local person, or someone who has herself been a prostitute in the West.'

Then there are the traffickers/brothel owners: a particularly well-organised bunch — normally the Albanian mafia — we are told. Again, nice story, nice villain, but just not true. ‘It’s more a case of, I know someone with a bus in Timisoara and somebody else knows somebody in Italy who will meet them. It is a loose alliance of contacts. There is no huge criminal structure with a mafia godfather running it,’ says Felton.

He wishes it were that simple. ‘One of the problems tackling these networks is that they are so loose they can easily fall apart,’ he says.

Accounts of widespread cruelty by brothel owners are easy to believe, but do not stand up to scrutiny

Accounts of widespread cruelty by brothel owners are easy to believe, but do not stand up to scrutiny. The owners are in a business that thrives on the customer who visits regularly and very often has a ‘relationship’ with his favourite girl. No doubt a small number of men get a kick out of seeing women chained to beds or battered and bruised, but for most it would be a turn-off. That is not to say there are not bad and crooked brothel owners. But the women come West voluntarily, and very quickly learn through word of mouth which establishments to avoid.

Despite seldom being reported, Felton’s findings are not news to his Romanian counterparts. Major Marin Banica used to be Romania’s most senior police officer investigating ‘women trafficking’. ‘Very few go abroad without knowing exactly why they are going,’ he says.

However, the Eastern European prostitute as victim is a powerful image, and ever more influential NGOs are reluctant to let the truth get in the way of their story. Take the case of the Cambodia Seven. In 2001, seven Romanian ‘sex slaves’ were found in Cambodia. Their rescuers, who included the IOM, reported how they had been offered jobs as dancers but were then forced into prostitution. Their plight received international media coverage and was mentioned by Brunson McKinney, the IOM director, at an anti-trafficking conference in Bucharest. He said it was an indication of the growing problem.

Yet, according to Banica, the full story of the Cambodia Seven was not told. Before the Romanian authorities could reach Cambodia to organise bringing the women home, one managed to slip away from her ‘rescuers’. Banica does not know where she ended up, but believes she returned to prostitution. Legitimate job opportunities for Romanian women in Cambodia are limited.

Banica does know what happened to the six who returned. ‘Within weeks three of the women had gone to work in Albania — again as prostitutes,’ he says.

The sex-slave myth also portrays Eastern European women as idiots.

The sex-slave myth also portrays Eastern European women as idiots. Banica asks how hundreds of thousands of women from the same pockets of the country could have been repeatedly tricked. For this to be true, it also means no duped woman has ever come home and, if they have, they have never talked to family and friends about their experiences.

To accept the sex-slave myth, one must also accept that none of the women or their families or friends has ever read a newspaper or watched Romanian television, where the story is given widespread and often sensational coverage. Or maybe they do and that is exacerbating the problem.

A recent Romanian television public-awareness campaign shows faceless men recruiting naive women while salivating over the massive sums of money to be made. The emphasis on the huge amounts of cash available could be all the encouragement that some women need.

Phelim McAleer is the Financial Times correspondent for Romania.

Sex Trafficking There are emerging indications that it is sex workers, rather than 'coerced innocents' that form the majority of this 'traffic'. GAATW, whose report is based for a large part on responses of organisations that work directly with 'trafficking victims', found that the majority of 'trafficking' cases involve women who know they are going to work in the sex industry, but are lied to about the conditions they will work under, such as the amount of money they will receive (Weijers and Lap-Chew 1997: 99). - 35 min - academic piece

They also conclude that abduction for purposes of 'trafficking' into the sex industry is very rare (p.99). GSN (1997) also relates the testimonies of a number of 'trafficked' sex workers in their report. Research by the foundation for Women in Thailand found that by far the majority of women migrating from northern Thailand to Japan were aware that they would be working in the sex industry (Skrobanek 1997). This conclusion is supported by Watenabe (1998) who worked as a bar girl herself in Japan in the course of her research into Thai women migrating to the Japanese sex industry. Other research, such as that by Brockett and Murray (1994) in Australia, Anarfi (1998) in Ghana, Kempadoo (1998b) in the Caribbean, COIN (1998) in the Dominican Republic and the Salomon Alapitvany Foundation in Hungary (1998) [10] indicates that women seeking to migrate are not so easily 'duped' or 'deceived', and are aware that most jobs on offer are in the sex industry.

February 2006

The "Teen Sex Slave" Scams

Debbie Nathan

CounterPunch

"Tonight our cameras take you into a dark world you've never seen," intoned John Quinones darkly on last week's edition of ABC Primetime. "American girls being snatched right off Main Street USA. And they could be your very own daughters." Shocking! The program went on to tell about two Arizona teens ñ both white and girl-next-door cute, who purportedly were minding their own business before being snatched from home and coerced into prostitution. Or "trafficking," as Primetime put it. That was the show's point: We already know that impoverished immigrants from the Eastern Europe and Mexico are enslaved here, but now we've got a new problem, the trafficking of our own, middle-class girls. Shocking! The show was full of dire warnings by government officials. Not surprising, since the Bush Administration's mission to find foreign "sex trafficking" victims has gone belly up since it began in 2001. Almost no victims have been located, but the feds want to keep their law and rhetoric afloat and broaden it to other areas, including the culture wars. For ballast, they're trolling for a domestic demographic, warning that kids and prostitution is a new "trafficking" problem.

But the claim is specious. To make it, you have to play with language and omit facts or bend them so far that they break. That's what Primetime did, Thursday, February 9, with two teens, one pseudonymed "Debbie," and the other called by her real name, Miya.

Miya, according to ABC, was working in an Arizona mall when she was approached by a couple who asked if she'd like to come with them to California and be a model. She agreed, and before she knew it, she was being forcibly pimped through an Internet escort service and terrorized into sex slavery. One morning she managed to escape from the seedy hotel she was imprisoned in. Authorities were notified. Now one of her captors is in jail awaiting trial.

 the "sex slave" part is a hoax

That's the Primetime version, but the "sex slave" part is a hoax. Police in Mesa, Arizona and Union City, California, say that Miya -- who was 19 and thus legally an adult -- willingly went to California and willingly had sex, both with the couple she was with and with others. Said Tom Haselton, investigating sergeant for the case in Union City, "I can understand the family might be embarrassed and want to tell a different story. But by the time we were done talking with [Miya] we determined that what she did was consensual. There was no force used on her and she had plenty of opportunities to leave. And when she did leave, who did she call? Not the police, but a friend, just saying she wanted to get home to Arizona." No charges regarding Miya were filed. The man she'd been with was charged because the female member of the couple was 16 -- underage. Creepy, exploitative and illegal, but she wasn't coerced either. "She seemed to be in love with the pimp," says Haselton. "It's an age-old story."

Primetime's other example of a "sex trafficked" teen, 15-year-old Debbie, is the alleged victim of some truly horrible assaults, and police don't contest this. Even so, Primetime left out details of the case, making it seem more novel than it is. Debbie has said she was held at gunpoint in a Phoenix apartment and threatened with death and harm to her family unless she had sex with dozens of men. Often she was stuffed by her captors into a dog carrier and a bed frame. Her ordeal lasted over six weeks until she managed to sneak a call to her mother. Then she was rescued, and returned to what Primetime called her "close-knit" family. She'd been separated from them in the first place, Primetime reported, when she was "snatched" ñ as host John Quinones put it -- right off her front lawn. That happened when a girl she knew only casually drove up to Debbie's suburban house. Debbie stepped out of the house wearing Sponge-Bob pajamas. Suddenly she was pushed into the car and kidnapped.

But Phoenix Police Department press releases describe Debbie as a runaway. Police spokesman Andy Hill told me earlier this week that she was having problems with her family. She left home willingly with a friend, the girlfriend of a pimp, and a few hours later was herself dragooned into prostitution. Debbie's is a story of gross coercion, but clearly there's some background here. The vast majority of US kids who get involved with prostitution are runaways; this has been so for a very long time. That fact makes for yet another stale story. So it was left out of Primetime's because it didn't fit the boogie-man theme pushed these days when sex trafficking gets discussed -- in the media and lately by the feds as well.

 Four-year olds are passed to pedophiles at Disneyland, 11-year-olds in communion dresses are sold to Mexican farmworker perverts.

In that telling, little children are enslaved right in plain sight. Four-year olds are passed to pedophiles at Disneyland, 11-year-olds in communion dresses are sold to Mexican farmworker perverts. Despite ample evidence that these stories are urban myths, the New York Times Magazine cited them anyway and conjured dozens of child sex slaves in a piece by Peter Landesman that the magazine ran two years ago. Its title? "The Girls Next Door." And last fall, the Lifetime television network ran a much- publicized drama in which a prepubescent white girl is kidnapped off the streets by a hi-tech trafficking ring that operates all across the globe and plans to sell her to "the Saudis." This despite the fact that no such rings are known to exist.

Paranoid "white slavery" crusades date back to 19th-century England and America. Back then they promoted anti-immigrant and racist sentiments against Jews and others scapegoated for being kidnappers and panderers. They drove prostitutes who had heretofore worked independently into the hands of pimps. Meanwhile, they did virtually nothing to end prostitution.

 white-slave panic is being reincarnated by the federal government

Now, white-slave panic is being reincarnated by the federal government. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was launched five years ago with much fanfare from evangelicals in the Bush administration, feminists (many of who earlier worked with conservatives to try to outlaw pornography), and liberals concerned about forced-labor trafficking in general. Proponents predicted that thousands of forcibly sex-trafficked immigrant women would be found. Instead, a couple of hundred have turned up, at most.

But there are plenty of U.S.citizens who spend a little or a lot of time in prostitution. Quite a few are minors -- as many as 300,000, estimates the new TVPA, which was enthusiastically rolled out by President Bush at a ceremony in January. Legally speaking, minors are always considered victims, even if they are not coerced. The new TVPA earmarks funds to label them as sex slaves.

No matter that most of these new "trafficking" victims are runaways and throwaways: often minorities, often poor, and often gay. No matter that they are seldom kidnapped or forced into prostitution, rarely fit the image of the girl next door, usually don't think of themselves as "trafficking victims," and typically distrust the police. No matter that we lack social services for them so they can live on their own and thrive if home is unbearable. These children are just an old story. They're not ready for prime time.

But they are ready to fuel a movement most of the public hasn't heard of yet. The domestic trafficking language of the TVPA was lifted from another piece of legislation, the "End Demand Act." That bill aims to crack down on all prostitution in the U.S., by defining every bit of it as "domestic sex trafficking," even when it's between consenting adults. End Demand is sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX (who recently equated gay marriage with humans copulating with box turtles). The act has bipartisan support but has not yet been passed. End Demand's wording about minors, however, was imported into the latest TVPA.

The government has not yet turned consensual adult prostitution into a federal crime. But last summer, the feds and other organizations, many of who have supported the End Demand Act and the new TVPA, started working the zeitgeist by pitching to the media about American kiddie slaves on Main Street. Primetime responded. Defending last week's story, ABC spokeswoman Paige Capossela said that "Our producers found two cases that illustrate what the FBI, other law enforcement and child protection agencies described to us as trafficking." That's a nice excuse for some high yellow journalism. And, no doubt, for some high Nielsen ratings as well.

Sexual Enslavement
at the Ryder Cup?

More hocus-pocus ...

After spreading mad scares during the Olympics and World Cup, now anti-traffickers are turning their attentions to golf. Stephen Paterson

25,000 Sex Slaves Enter the UK Every Year!

So said Labour MP, Dennis McShane.

But, guess what?

He was lying.

See, ...

All Men Presumed Guilty

And for a short article that shows you how 'researchers' inflate the figures massively, see ...

How Official Rape Statistics are Distorted and Inflated

 



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