Fight against skin trade to flay punters

Would the hundreds of men who paid to have sex with “Alicia” have cared if they knew she was being held captive by a trafficker who raped her and pimped her, and that she was infected with HIV?

Peter Graff

Monday, April 28, 2008

Would the hundreds of men who paid to have sex with “Alicia” have cared if they knew she was being held captive by a trafficker who raped her and pimped her, and that she was infected with HIV?”I don’t think they would have come back. If they really knew,” says the Rwandan woman, who was brought from Africa to a south London apartment and forced to have sex while her captor collected her earnings.

“But it’s not their concern at the end of the day: you’ve paid your money, and you got what you are paying for,” she said, asking that a pseudonym be used in place of her name for fear those who exploited her would track her down.

The rise of international sex trafficking is causing many countries to rethink their laws on prostitution and re-examine legal frameworks that for decades have treated the purchase of sex as a social nuisance or “victimless crime.”

Norway’s government has proposed fining or jailing clients of prostitutes for up to six months in a bid to stamp out human trafficking, saying the rule would apply to its citizens in Norway and abroad.

British government research shows that during 2003 there were an estimated 4,000 victims of trafficking for prostitution in Britain. The figures have risen at least threefold since 1998, according to Home Office figures.

The customers who paid for sex with Alicia broke no British law. Men can be prosecuted for “kerb crawling” for prostitutes, but paying for sex in a private apartment is not a crime.

To prove rape, police would have to show that a customer knew Alicia was unwilling.

Fiona MacTaggart, a former government minister and member of parliament from the ruling Labour party, wants to change this.

“Men who pay for sex with a woman who has been trafficked are basically paying for rape,” MacTaggart said.

She is among a group of Labour MPs who would like to replace criminal penalties for street prostitutes with counseling programs to get them out of the trade, and criminalize paying for sex.

Britain’s Home Office is studying laws in other countries as it carries out a short-term review to see what can be done to tackle the demand for prostitution.

The debate moved into high gear after the killing in late 2006 of five drug-addicted prostitutes around the town of Ipswich by a forklift truck driver, who was sentenced to life in prison in February.

MacTaggart’s proposals mark a radical shift from previous thinking. A few years ago, she was part of a Labour government that suggested it might move towards legalizing prostitution. And despite losing an initial battle to get fines for street prostitution replaced with mandatory counseling in a draft law, MacTaggart says her war goes on.

“We don’t criminalize people who sell kidneys. We criminalize the buyer.”

Those who support efforts to penalize men for buying sex want to reduce prostitution by tackling demand rather than supply. If men knew more about the violence associated with the sex trade and faced more credible risk of punishment, they would be less tempted to pay for sex, the reasoning goes.

Sweden set the trend in Europe by outlawing paying for sex in 1999. British Home Office officials have traveled to countries including Sweden to study the laws. Across Europe, laws vary: In the Netherlands, famed for Amsterdam’s “red light” district, prostitution is legal and street prostitution is confined to managed zones, although the city wants to partially reverse full legalization introduced in 2000, because it has not achieved its aim of bringing the profession out of the shadows and protecting sex workers.

Denmark legalized prostitution in 1999; prostitution is legal in Germany on and off the street, but coercing prostitution is an offense.

In France, like in Britain, prostitution is not illegal, but touting on a public highway and pimping are. British society has been tolerant of prostitution for so long it will take time to make men understand that the trade is harmful to women, said Roger Matthews, author of Prostitution, Politics and Policy. “The United Kingdom has a very long established tradition that paying for sex is OK, it’s a man’s right.”

But he said new research shows many men who visit prostitutes are not highly motivated, and could be dissuaded by penalties or education. ” They would buy sex if it was there – if it’s not there, they would go do something else,” Matthews said. “You could have this shift where people no longer think paying for sex is a legitimate activity.”

REUTERS

http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?pp_cat=20&art_id=65090&sid=18685065&con_type=1

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Make Pervs Pay For Crime

NEW research has revealed frightening insights into the minds of men who buy sex from prostitutes.

It also dispels the myth that men pay for sex because it is their only option.

Almost half of them involved in the research programme were married or had a girlfriend.

A major concern was that four out of 10 of those interviewed believed that, by using prostitutes, they were less likely to commit rape.

One in 10 admitted they would rape a woman if they knew they wouldn’t be caught.

More disturbing still were the attitudes shown by those surveyed.

A third thought rape was just men getting carried away, 12 per cent thought it impossible to rape a prostitute and 10 per cent thought rape laws didn’t apply to these women.

More than half of those who frequently used prostitutes also admitted being sexually aggressive with other partners.

Last year, the old Scottish Executive brought in anti-kerb crawling legislation in a bid to reduce prostitution.

For the first time, men faced criminal action as well as the women they exploit.

It was a bold move and one that was frankly long overdue.

Now women’s support workers, who helped with the latest research, want the legislation to go further.

They want paying for prostitutes to be made a sex crime – and convicted offenders named and shamed by being placed on the sex offenders’ register.

According to the latest research, that would stop nine out of 10 Scots from using prostitutes.

In fact, eight out of 10 admitted that a letter to their partner would be enough to stop them buying sex.

The only way to end this exploitation is to cut the demand – and if that means embarrassing some men, so be it.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/comment/newspaper-opinion/2008/04/28/make-pervs-pay-for-crime-86908-20397554/

Barbados: Y eager to hear ladies of night

 


 

 

THE Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) will be seeking out prostitutes in order to hear from them.

 

 

The organisation wants to hear from marginalised women and, says president of the organisation Marilyn Rice-Bowen, these women have a story to tell.

She was speaking to the DAILY NATION yesterday following a breakfast, at the Main Guard, Garrison, organised under the theme Listen To She Who Speaks:Women Leading Change.

Rice-Bowen said the YWCA has worked with victims of domestic violence and they have programmes in place to deal with it.

“They told their stories in tears and we heard it; so we have put measures in place for them. What we want to do as a women’s movement is that we want to go into the areas where the prostitutes are.

“We want to hear their stories and go in and assist them because there is some area in their life that I think we can respond to in a positive way,” Rice-Bowen said.

The YWCA president said the objective of them was not to be judgemental but to understand what point they were at and how the organisation could assist them.

“As women we have never been desperate so we are not sure what we are going to do, and if you are desperate and there is no joyand you don’t have a solid educational background what else is there to do?

One of those women out there on the street might be able to sew but nobody ever encouraged her and said if you sew we will find a market for you.

“We have to go and find out what their strengths are because they do have strengths,” she added.

Rice-Bowen admitted that there were some women who preferred the fast-track way to getting their material needs met and therefore got involved in the prostitution but others felt they had no choice.

She added that just as women in the olden days prioritised for them and their children, so too should this generation and, instead of buying that expensive outfit, and then not having meat and potatoes to put on their table, they need to put things in the right perspective. (WB)

http://www.nationnews.com/story/326535946941105.php

Garden Grove Man Sentenced In Killing Of Teenage Prostitute

knbc.com

Girl, 15, Was Related To Education Pioneer

 

POSTED: 9:34 pm PDT April 25, 2008

 

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Garden Grove man who preyed on teenage prostitutes in Santa Ana was sentenced Friday to 63 years to life in prison in connection with the killing of a 15-year-old descendent of the founder of the Montessori schools and sexually assaulting three other young women, City News Service reported.

 

Jonathan Phong Khankh Tran, 23, a former car salesman, was convicted on March 13, 2007, of the first-degree murder of Hanna Denise Montessori, along with two counts of rape and one count of oral copulation under the color of authority stemming from sexual assaults on females, ages 16, 17 and 18, who worked in the same area.

 

Montessori’s body was found on Jan. 19, 2004, but was not identified until three months later as the great-great-granddaughter of Maria Montessori, who opened her first school in 1907. The girl had run away from a group home and was working the streets of Santa Ana when she was killed.

 

Tran also raped and robbed a 17-year-old girl in December 2003, after picking her up and pretending to make a deal for sex.

 

On Jan. 14. 2004, he showed a badge to an 18-year-old prostitute and told her she could avoid being arrested by giving him oral sex, police said.

 

Tran was first arrested in connection with charges he raped the 17-year-old; he was later linked to the other crimes.

 

Prosecutors said he picked up Montessori, who called herself “Ginger,” near Harbor Boulevard and Fifth Street. Once he got her in his pickup truck, he drove off, intending to rape her, but she jumped out of the moving vehicle.

 

A witness heard a “thump” as a truck drove by and found the teen in the street, bleeding from the head. She died before she arrived at a hospital, according to police, who said she had not been sexually assaulted.

 

Investigators later learned that Montessori had been a ward of the state of Georgia and had run away from a suburban Atlanta group home in September 2003.

 

She had grown up under idyllic circumstances, but became rebellious when her parents divorced in 1999, when she was 11. She was out of control while living with her father and stepmother in Maine and returned to Georgia to live with her birth mother, according to published reports.

 

Maria Montessori in 1906 developed a method of teaching that encourages independence and promotes the idea that children can educate themselves with little help from adults.

 

The “Montessori Method,” used in thousands of schools worldwide, stresses independent learning through a student’s surroundings, peers and themselves.

 

The late educator’s great-great granddaughter had attended a Montessori school for a few months when she was 3, according to her father, Derek.

 

He said in published reports that his daughter had been a good student and wanted to be a nurse before her life unraveled.
http://www.knbc.com/news/16003159/detail.html

Hong Kong sex website owners convicted of living off prostitutes

Posted on : 2008-04-25 | Author : DPA
News Category : Asia

Hong Kong – The operators of a Hong Kong website that advertised sex services were facing jail terms Friday after being convicted of living off the earnings of prostitutes. In the first case of its kind in the former British colony, five people including the website’s owner were convicted of the offence after running prostitute advertisements from 2003 to 2006. 

In return for a 600-Hong-Kong dollar (77-US-dollar) monthly fee, the website would carry the advertisements and take pictures of brothels to include with the advertisements. 

The website carried details including the prostitutes’ names, ages, addresses and pictures and price lists of how much they charged for sex services. 

Hundreds of prostitutes advertised on the site which made profits of up to 13,000 US dollars a month, Hong Kong’s District Court was told. 

The five men, aged 31 to 48, were convicted Thursday of conspiracy to live off the earnings of prostitutes and will be sentenced on May 14. They face fines, community service or jail. 

A legislator quoted by Friday’s South China Morning Post expressed concern at the case, saying it set a precedent by which a builder who works on a prostitute’s flat could be prosecuted. 

“If he knew his client was a prostitute, could we say he was relying on the earnings of the prostitute?” the legislator, James To, told the newspaper.

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/201267,hong-kong-sex-website-owners-convicted-of-living-off-prostitutes.html  

Forced acts trapped teen prostitute in Iowa web

 

In a white stucco one-and-a-half story house on the east end of Wellman, 13-year-old M.B. became Demont Bowie’s sex slave and housekeeper.

The suburban Minneapolis girl never had been to Iowa before. Now she apparently was trapped in the state, in this small town about 25 miles southwest of Iowa City.

“We were in the middle of nowhere,” she’d later tell investigators. “All I could see was farms and fields and dirt roads.”

It was mid-March 2005, and for the next week, Demont, then 25, made the girl repeatedly give oral sex to him and other men at the house he shared with Toni Debler. When she tried to refuse, she said he choked her, digging his fingernails into her neck. She was terrified and disoriented — fed heroin, cocaine, marijuana and crack, deprived of sleep and food. When she was allowed to sleep, her bed was a tangle of blankets on the cellar floor, she testified in court later.

She said Demont hit or beat her every day, once with a curtain rod. He made her call him “Daddy.”

Toni thought the girl was the daughter of one of Demont’s Minneapolis friends. Her aunt later told police she thought M.B. was a baby sitter.

“I didn’t think much about it,” she said.

Young girl put to work

Paul Nisly, then 50, met M.B. at Demont and Toni’s house. M.B. didn’t say much, he remembers, but he didn’t notice anything strange about her. Then Demont told the girl, “Show him what we do around here.” M.B took Nisly to the bathroom. Nisly thought they were going to do drugs.

But the girl, he says now, told him she thought she was supposed to give him oral sex. He also says he told her no.

Another time, at Nisly’s house, Demont told M.B. to give him oral sex in front of a group of people doing drugs in the living room. Then he told her to give Nisly oral, too.

Nisly tried to oblige. “I was, I guess, trying to show off to a couple boys that were there. I know if they were offered they would have tried it.”

He continued: “Then we went in the bedroom because — I wanted to act like I was appreciating his gift.”

Nisly asked the girl why she hung around with Demont. Was it the drugs? She said to be quiet.

“If he hears us talking, he’ll know I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Nisly remembers her saying.

“I guess I understood then that he was maybe kind of a pimp,” he said.

David Schwartz, 42, of Kalona, told police Demont offered him sex with M.B. at Nisly’s house, but he declined. Schwartz said the girl looked only 15 or 16 years old.

“She was jail bait,” he said.

Nisly said it never crossed his mind that the girl was underage.

“She had makeup on and she was doing drugs — it just never occurred to me,” he said. “It was stupid. I feel stupid every time I think about it.”

Encounter with police

On March 26, at a downtown bar called the Chat-N-Chew, Demont asked Nisly if he could go snort some coke at Nisly’s house nearby, so Nisly gave him the key.

Nisly stopped by to lock the place up on his way from the bar to another party, and found a woman overdosing on his bed.

Demont had given her and M.B. heroin to snort, and then he’d left, telling M.B. he’d be right back. But he didn’t show.

“I was scared,” Nisly said. “She had her feet on the floor and she was laying backward, just laying there on the bed.”

M.B. recalled the incident later. “I’m out there trying to get something to eat, and I’m talking to her but she stops talking,” she said. “And I go over there and she’s not breathing.”

The woman had a heartbeat and gasped erratically. Someone dialed 911 and she was taken to University Hospitals. Police came and interviewed people in the house, including M.B. Instead of asking for help, she gave a fake name and address. She said she was 17.

“I told them I was someone completely different,” M.B. said.

“I was not there at all,” she said. “I had done a whole bunch of lines of heroin, I had been up for days, I didn’t eat. I was scared to death and when they showed up I just kind of looked around like ‘Oh, no.’ They asked very little about me — they were more concerned with her — so I didn’t say much to them.”

Demont had been stopped for a broken taillight, arrested for drunken driving and booked into the Washington County Jail.

Toni and Isaac Reed told M.B. she was going to stay with him.

“Isaac told me he was going to send me home,” M.B. said. He took her to his brother’s house in Iowa City.

It was a short reprieve. After Toni pawned her TV and window air conditioner to post Demont’s bail, Demont showed up at Tread Reed’s house. punched M.B. in the mouth and dragged her to Toni’s van. Then he called his father, Robert Sallis.

It was Easter Sunday, and Robert invited them over.

It would take someone with a lot more influence over Demont than Isaac Reed to change M.B.’s fate.

Saturday: A day in hell, and a missed opportunity.

http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080425/NEWS06/792930909/0/business

CA: Ex-prostitute reaches out to girls still on streets

Oakland

IN THE EARLY morning hours, Dee Dee Perry gets in her car and does “spiritual drive-bys” along International Boulevard in East Oakland.

She drives up and down the busy corridor known as the “track” looking to proselytize to prostitutes. That’s exactly how Perry was saved nearly 20 years ago from her life on the streets: Church workers convinced her to give up prostitution and to kick her drug habit.

“I will pop a U-turn in the middle of the street,” said Perry, 45. “I have to let them know that there is hope and they don’t have to live like this.”

Perry is a member of Victory Outreach Church in West Oakland and is actively involved in the church’s Twilight Treasures ministry, which targets women and children involved in prostitution. Almost every night of the week, Perry passes out fliers promoting messages of love, faith and recovery.

“A lot of the girls aren’t ready to accept the Lord,” she said. “I just try to talk to them and give them a chance to think about what they want to do with their lives.”

Perry and faith-based organizations are doing their part along with city and county agencies to address the city’s problem of commercial sexual exploitation of children. Perry is determined to reach girls as young as 11 and 12 who are peddled for sex on the streets and on the Internet. She hopes that by sharing her testimony as a former prostitute it will inspire girls to break away from the grip of their pimps who often rape, beat and manipulate them into the sex trade.

“I don’t have anything to hide,” is what Perry tells many of the girls she meets wearing short shorts and tight miniskirts. “I’m living proof that it’s possible to change.”Rock bottom

 

In the early morning hours one day in 1991, a church worker from Victory Outreach found Perry on “the track” at International Boulevard and 104th Avenue. She had hit rock bottom after 20 years of prostituting and using crack cocaine. Through the church, Perry was able to get off the streets and get connected to counseling services.

“I had to do a lot of soul-searching to figure out what took place,” Perry said. “And I’m still soul-searching.”

Perry said she first became involved with prostitution when she set up a call-girl service with friends in grammar school. Perry said growing up she mainly dated men who could be her “sugar daddy” and take care of her and buy her nice things.

“I wanted the money,” she said. “That’s the mentality that led me one step closer to the prostitution lifestyle.”

By the time Perry was 23, she was a functioning crack addict. She said she would get high in the restroom at her job at the phone company and then go back and sit at her desk to work. She supported her drug habit by prostituting herself in Oakland with runs to Reno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego.

“I was an outlaw,” Perry said. “I never had a pimp and I recruited other girls.”

Perry said it used to be a thrill to take a girl to a hotel and know she was going to come out and hand over $500 to her. Perry parceled out the money to the girls but kept most of it for herself. She said there wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do to keep her addiction going.

‘Treated like dirt’

 

Now Perry has a different attitude.

She explains to the girls who walk “the track” hunting for tricks that prostitution is not worth the danger they put themselves in and their lives are priceless.

“It’s fast money, it’s easy money,” said Perry. “But it’s not always easy when the cops are handcuffing you on the street or when you get pistol-whipped or you get beat down or you get in the car and you don’t get paid for what you’ve done and you get treated like dirt.”

Many of the girls Perry comes across have become hardened by prostitution and life on the streets. She said sometimes they pretend everything is OK but they have been “brainwashed” by their pimps.

“Some days it seems like a no-win situation,” Perry said. “But the thing I like about it is getting to know the person behind the face, behind the makeup and behind the dress.”

Perry doesn’t have a specific approach when she confronts the girls on the street. She said sometimes she just tries to befriend them, or offer to buy them a cup of coffee or to pray with them.

“It’s not a basic routine for me,” Perry said. “I allow God to lead me with different people because everyone is an individual.”

A way out

 

On holidays, including Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day, Perry makes care packages including hygiene products to pass out to prostitutes. Perry said it’s important to let the girls know she is here for them.

“I give them my number and I tell them there’s a way out if they want,” Perry said.

Over the years, Perry has gotten to know many of the girls by their real names, and their street names such as “Candy” or “Sugar.”

Perry posts their names on what she calls a “Most Wanted” list and prays for them. She prays the girls will someday be able to realize their self-worth.

Perry considers herself a success of the Twilight Treasure ministry. She said her life’s work is to continue reaching out to girls selling their bodies on the streets. It’s impossible for her to know how many girls she’s saved from prostitution, but she knows that the lessons she has learned could make the difference in someone else’s life.

“People don’t care what you know until they know you really care,” Perry said. “They have to see that you’re real.”

http://www.insidebayarea.com/timesstar/ci_9065006