Over the last three years I've spent many mornings
enjoying coffee, pancakes and White Sex Slaves.
No, I haven't been snuggling up for a thousand days
with imported hookers from Belarus, Moldova and the
Ukraine, all of whom have been beaten into submission
by a vast ring of pimps operating out of Moscow.
I'm referring to stories in the daily newspapers that
have caught my attention, beginning in November 1997
with a headline in the San Francisco Chronicle:
"EAST BLOC GANGS RUNNING HUGE PROSTITUTION RING:
500,000 WOMEN TRAPPED IN A MODERN-DAY SLAVE TRADE."
I don't doubt the article's assertions that the Russian
criminals who operate the "dreary Hamburg brothel"
force some women to screw at least ten customers per
shift, or that one of the Rusky pimps uses a stopwatch
to make sure the women are meeting their quota and
get the crap beat out of them if they don't. Since
the collapse of communism in 1989, it is not uncommon
that women from Russia and the Eastern Bloc statesbrought
into Western Europe with faked documents and sometimes
promises of jobs as nightclub "hostesses"find
themselves working in brothels. I question the assumption
that the half million women referred to in this story
are subjected to this kind of abuse. Enslaved Women
stories always take the worst case scenarios straight
from the mouths of the police and extrapolate them
over all the women on the stroll.
So I'll extrapolate the other way. I met a woman from
Russia who hooked her way into Germany and then made
it into the United States on a temporary visa. I asked
her about the white slavery stories coming out of
Russia. She laughed. She had not been beaten or abused.
She did pay a one-time fee to a pimp/smuggler who
got her out of Moscow. She had a one-word answer when
I asked her what drove her into prostitution: "Freedom."
Last time I saw her she was happily married and raising
Although she was only seventeen in 1989 when the Iron
Curtain melted under the hot fire of emancipation,
she soon became aware that the power shift in the
Soviet Union forced a good chunk of the well-trained
docile servants of the bloated bureaucracy to comply
with the demands of a far-ranging criminal enterprise
along the lines of a mafia. For her, the new state
of affairs wasn't any better than the old. And yet,
her desperate situation filled her with hope. Ruthless
criminals in charge of most everything in Russia provided
hope. This is progress.
The Russian girl was not satisfied with the new freedom
in her country. She simply wanted out. No way would
that have happened under the old coercive state apparatus
filled with spies, informers, reeducation committees
and collectivized kindergartens.
The Russian mafia is perfectly willing to sell its
"passports" for a price. A criminal enterprise,
no matter how large or how strong, has no interest
in making sure everybody stays on their own block
and does their job for the "common good."
The mafia just wants the money. Bribes, kickbacks
and scams enforced by thugs with stopwatches and guns
reap the spoils from a great fire sale--the whole
fucking state apparatus up for grabs. The mafia inserts
itself in the middle of this merry-go-round and skims
a nice piece off the top. In the case of prostitution,
the mafia gets the whole works. The girl paid her
bill and got out of the country.
The Reds have always said prostitution is a social
evil produced by capitalism. The big daddy of dialectical
materialism, Karl Marx, formulated it this way: "Money
is the pimp... I am ugly but I can buy the most beautiful
woman." Although some hookers always managed
to sell their goods from Moscow to China to Havana,
the Reds have always done a thorough job of snuffing
out prostitution. But it doesn't follow that the Daughters
of Joy only flourish under capitalism. They will flourish
under any system. The decisive factor is how hard
you want to crack down.
One way to crack down under a democratic system is
to raise attention by hyping the Easter Bloc prostitutes'
stories as white slavery. Where is the hype? I say
it's in the statistics: 500,000 girls shipped out
of Russia into Western Europe, half of them in Germany,
according to the Chronicle piece. Every story
along these lines always has a nice big number. But
I have yet to see a story where the reporter tried
to get a fix on how that number would play out in
the day-to-day activities of those involved.
So let's try it. Assume the 250,000 imported hookers
in Germany only fuck four men a day, failing to meet
their quota of ten a day. That's a million johns a
day. How often does a john visit a brothel or pick
up a girl leaning against the remains of the Berlin
Wall? Maybe a few energetic Johns need a roll once
a week. But for most men, such visits are fleeting
and rare. Let's say the average is one visit a month
for every john. A million Johns a day translates to
30 million a month. According to a 1995 census, the
male population over the age of 15 in Germany is 30
If the Chronicle followed its own story through
to a logical conclusion, it would find that every
man in Germany over 15 visits a brothel at least once
a month. Now that's a story! Of course, it is not
true, and neither is the big number of slaves.
Since the Chronicle story three years ago,
the numbers broadcast in the news vary widely, with
figures from two to four million women enslaved every
year bandied about. Perhaps this is correct, but to
suggest they are all sex slaves is absurd.
"EAST BLOC GANGS RUNNING HUGE
PROSTITUTION RING: 500,000 WOMEN TRAPPED IN A MODERN-DAY
SLAVE TRADE."The San Francisco Chronicle
In 1997 the Canadian magazine Macleans said
30 million women have been victims of trafficking
over the past decade. In 1998 The New York Times
noted the United Nations estimates that four million
women throughout the world are trafficked each year,
500,000 into Western Europe alone, and in the Ukraine
400,000 women under 30 have left over the last decade.
In 1999, again in the San Francisco Chronicle,
Interpol, the international police agency, estimated
more than two million women have "been sold into
bondage" in Western Europe since 1989.
Bondage? One wonders, given a 1990 poll, reported
in the Moscow Press, that found 60 percent of Russian
high school girls wanted to become valutaforeign
One intriguing side note: a few years ago, certain
ethical problems with the Serbian Ethnic Cleansers
required that U.N. peacekeeping troops hunker down
for a bit in the Balkins. There's never been a war
without hookers to keep up morale and this conflict
was no exception. The BBC reported that lots of bar
girls from Eastern Europe set up trade in Kosovo for
the 45,000 strong U.N. Army. But, according to the
BBC, only Russians and Americans participated in these
war games, not the proper Brits. I suspect a few limeys
visited the bar girls, but it is good to know that
the Russians and the Americans were in bed together
again for first time since World War II.