June 23, 2006

Slavery: Alive & Well

Turn and Look
Shining a spotlight on Germanyís shame.

Two Russian women, Masha and Irina, have come forward to tell their stories of being trafficked into prostitution in Germany.

Both women are educated professionals: Masha is a lawyer; Irina is an engineer and an accountant. Both left Russia for Germany with the promise of employment as either a housekeeper or waitress. Masha was seeking an opportunity to see the world and learn a new language; Irina was in debt and wanted a better paying job.

Their stories are typical trafficking stories: When they arrived in Germany, they were met by members of the Russian mafia; their passports were taken away; and they were informed that the jobs they expected didnít exist and they would be prostitutes instead. They were told it was futile to resist and that the police would not help them because the pimps worked under police protection.

Irina resisted and was beaten. She was shown photographs of dead, mutilated women who tried to go to the police. The mafia had locations where thugs beat and sometimes killed uncooperative women. Irina fearfully decided to cooperate and earn enough money to pay off the debt the Russian mafia claimed she owed. Masha also decided to be compliant, going so far as to feign disappointment when a man chose another woman for sex, while she waited for an opportunity to escape.

Posted by Ithildin at June 23, 2006 8:12 PM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE

A message of Ms. Hughes's article seems to be that some European law enforcement agencies are fantastically corrupt: overlooking numerous cases of human trafficing and even murder because they are in cahoots with the Russian Mafia. There are already on the books laws against kidnapping, slave trading, murder, torture, extortion, and assault. All of of these crimes are said to be committed by the pimps but, according to the article, the authorities choose not to investigate and prosecute the crimes.

If stuff in this article is true, German lawmakers should first concentrate on cleaning up their police forces before passing more prohibition laws.

Posted by: Person of Choler at June 27, 2006 7:33 AM

I think I cannot find whatever it was in Professor Hughes' screed in National Review that prompted Person of Choler to begin howling about police corruption, that's what. Sheesh!

One need only cool down and consider that the swindled women's experience of police corruption in the Former Soviet Union is what led those women to swallow the threatening tales of their Russian Mafia captors. Being foreigners unfamiliar with what aid is available in the country they are in and working in a trade despised by other women* are surely their greatest barriers to obtaining help. Perhaps Prof. Hughes supposed that such would be so obviously understood that she needn't spell that out in big bold letters for her readers, even those of Choler. On the other hand, Prof. Hughes tried to twist this sad tale into a general indictment of legalized sex work even though the story avoids mention of the most numerous sort of sex workers in Germany and The Netherlands (the two Western European countries Prof. Hughes mentioned) are women native to their places of employment who apparently have no such problems for Prof. Hughes never did mention those women.

Could the German police do a better job of discovering any coerced trafficking of women in the sex trade? Sure, just as US law enforcement agencies could - there have been similar cases of sex trafficking in the US, cases Prof. Hughes failed to notice. Do such deficiencies prove those police units are "corrupt"? No. (Duh.)

On the whole, I judged Prof. Hughes' article to be just the sort of MSleading stuff often peddled by other feminists of a traditionalist, puritanical bent (of whatever political wing!). Her facts don't fit with her conclusion without a great deal of coercion. Sigh.

*NOTE: Women are the class that control what are considered the socially acceptable standards of behavior in a culture, especially sex behaviors. This sociological fact has great implications for the correct understanding of cultures, including Muslim cultures, however counterintuitive that may be to those Westerners brought up with feminist ideologies as the "norm."

Posted by: michael i at July 10, 2006 11:19 PM