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xmag.com : November 2000 :Sex Slave

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 states—brought 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 a family.
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 million.
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.
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 valuta—foreign currency hookers.
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.

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