NM: Desert Divas Indictments Handed Down

Tri-State Prostitution Ring Busted In August

POSTED: 11:28 pm MDT September 23, 2008
UPDATED: 5:59 pm MDT September 25, 2008

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Court documents filed Tuesday reveal new details about Desert Divas New Mexico. It was part of an alleged tri-state prostitution ring police busted in August.

Now, three men reportedly connected to the New Mexico operation have been indicted.

Initial arrests happened in August following busts in Albuquerque, but there were also arrests in Phoenix and Philadelphia.

Police said the operation used to have an office in the 1600 block of Central Street. Now the space is empty and a criminal case continues to build.

Indictments were filed Tuesday afternoon accusing an Albuquerque man and two men from Arizona of several crimes including racketeering, money laundering, and promoting prostitution.

Desert Divas of New Mexico was apart of a prostitution ring based out of Arizona, police said.

The people behind the operation were reportedly driving fast cars and living in big houses thanks to high priced hookers that were advertised online.

But it all came to an end in early August. Police swept in, made arrests and shut the business down.

James Bays of Albuquerque, well known radiologist Dr. Ross Levatter, of Arizona, and Scott Eder, also of Arizona, were indicted on a long list of allegations. Continue reading


Sex Workers in Tijuana Must Pay More to Get Tested

Tijuana in the Shadow of HIV

El Mensajero, News Report, Erika Cebreros, Translated by Elena Shore, Posted: Sep 25, 2008

Editor’s Note: The price of health cards required for sex workers in Tijuana has increased in what observers say is a “scandalous” and “immoral” setback in the fight against HIV.

TIJUANA, Mexico – Like thousands of women, Veronica Lizarraga, 18, migrated from the interior of Mexico to Tijuana, where she joined the ranks of the city’s prostitutes. She picks up customers as an erotic dancer at Hong Kong, one of the more sophisticated strip clubs in the border town’s red light district. Her average weekly earnings: $2,000.

With modern architecture and neon lights, this business employs more than 300 dancers. Most of its customers are foreigners, men from southern California looking for fun and sex that’s cheaper than in their country.

High-income sex workers like Veronica are not affected by the price increase. In order to work at Hong Kong, Veronica and her colleagues are required to have a health ID card that the local government issues to sex workers. Each month they undergo a series of medical tests for sexually transmitted infections and every four months, for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). If all goes well, the city’s Department of Health Control renews their cards. Continue reading

Korea: Special Law on Prostitution proving ineffective

Though the number of red-light districts has decreased, the number of prostitution-related crimes is increasing

  • » On September 22, the group Dandelion Pilgrimage, whose members consist of women forced into prostitution and civic activists, holds a memorial ceremony in the Seogbuk district of Seoul for victims of a fire that broke out at a house of prostitution in the district. According to a 2007 report by the Korean Women’s Development Institute, the Special Law on Prostitution has been ineffective in reducing the number of prostitution-related crimes.

It has been four years since the Special Law on Prostitution went into effect. At the time, the government, pledging to eradicate the source of prostitution, conducted a one-month crackdown so wide in scope that pimps called it the “September Tragedy.” Four years later, a queer phenomenon is occurring in which the number of red-light districts has decreased, but the crime of prostitution itself is increasing.


The Special Law on Prostitution did result in the decrease in the number of red-light districts. According to a 2007 report on businesses involved in the prostitution industry by the Korean Women’s Development Institute, there were 39 red-light districts in 2007, down 30 from 2002. The report also found there were 1,443 shops in 2007, down 1,295 from 2002. Dongdaemun district’s Cheongnyangni, formerly Seoul’s representative red-light district, had decreased greatly in size from 246 shops in 2004 to 32 in 2008.


Citizen consensus on the social criminality of prostitution has also grown. In a survey of citizens by the Ministry of Gender Equality, eight out of 10 (79.6%) responded that they believed prostitution to be a crime, a 25.8% increase from 2005.

Despite the waning of red-light districts, however, the reality in which you can buy sex at any time has not changed. The number of prostitution-related offenses is increasing steadily, going from 34,795 in 2006 to 39,236 in 2007. In the first half of this year alone, there were over 20,000 detentions for prostitution-related offenses.


Due to the “War on Prostitution” launched by the Dongdaemun Police Station in July, 15 of the around 20 houses of prostitution found along Jangan Daero street have been raided, but the bright lights of the neighborhood have not gone out. For the past two months, pimps have hung “massage” signs on their establishments, while some pimps have continued on after changing their establishments into “room salons” and “karaoke clubs.” In response to the police crackdown, pimps are creating new forms of prostitution and proliferating quickly in other districts. Pimps are renting “officetel” rooms in the Gangnam area and elsewhere and facilitating prostitution by finding new johns using the Internet or phone. New forms of prostitution, like “telephone rooms,” “hyugetel” (“rest hotels”) and “doll rooms” are operating everywhere.


One of the reasons behind this “balloon effect” is that the police crackdowns have been for show. With the strength of the crackdowns fluctuating repeatedly, even pimps figure that all they need to do is wait until the crackdown subsides. Mr. Park, 40, who runs a massage parlor in the Jangan neighborhood, said he operates a shop elsewhere until the police crackdown subsides, and then returns. He said some establishments have already moved to the inn area across from the Grand Mart in Sinchon, where the streets are lined with “love motels,” inexpensive inns often used for sex, and begun business. He explained that the pimps’ failure to make public their list of police officers who have taken bribes means they will continue to do business in the Jangan neighborhood. While the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency has created a “stealth” unit to conduct widespread crackdowns on prostitution in Gangnam and elsewhere, most of Seoul’s district police stations have not made particular plans for a crackdown. An official from Mapo Police Station, which overseas the Sinchon area where many of the Jangan pimps are relocating, said most of the places of prostitution in Sinchon and Hongdae have been cleaned up, and if they get a tip, they go out to check it out.


Experts stress that for the Special Law on Prostitution to have an effect, rather than focusing on how many places were raided and people arrested, they must break the connecting ring that keeps prostitution going by punishing pimps and building owners.


Please direct questions or comments to [englishhani@hani.co.kr]

Australia: Sydney ‘the best city for sex workers’

SYDNEY prostitutes enjoy the best health and welfare and Melbourne sex workers fare the worst.

But their colleagues in Perth will get the “rawest deal” if the new Liberal state government stands by its pledge to regulate the industry, experts have warned.

A new report to be presented at a major sexual health conference found that all three cities have a “thriving” sex industry, with nearly 400 brothels in Sydney, 160 in Melbourne and 40 in Perth.

Researchers said Sydney was the “highest risk” city for sexually transmitted infections, as it absorbs all the migrant sex workers from Asia, but instead it appeared workers are well protected by decriminalisation of the industry.

“What we found is that sex workers (in Sydney) are not frightened to seek proper health services because there are no legal issues stopping them,” said Basil Donovan, a professor in sexual health at the University of NSW, who led the survey of 600 sex workers.

Melbourne on the other hand was a vastly different story, with a decriminalised system that still requires brothels to register their workers so they can get monthly health check-ups.

“That might sound nice but it’s extremely expensive, unnecessary and an intrusion on these women’s bodies, and it scares women away from being registered at all, which drives the whole thing underground,” said Prof Donovan, who argues the law should be reformed.

“It is simply a stupid system that creates an underclass of hidden sex workers who may very well suffer much worse health outcomes, if we could even track them down to find out.”

In WA, the now-ousted Labor government recently ended a 150-year system in which all forms of sex work were criminal and controlled by police.

The report, to be presented at the conference on Wednesday, showed that police have taken a protective role in recent years in a climate of imminent decriminalisation, allowing workers to openly seek health and welfare support.

But if the newly-installed state Liberal Government follows through on its election promise to revert to the old system and implement a licensing scheme which tolerates some forms of government-controlled sex work, the situation will worsen dramatically, Prof Donovan said.

“Licensing is an even bigger joke than criminal laws,” he said.

“It’s never worked. The tools of trade, that is a woman’s body, are so portable and concealable, that any pretence to control it only leads to an artificial system that causes hidden prostitution and alienates workers from authorities. The new government would be crazy to go down that path.”

Janelle Fawkes, chief executive of the peak sex workers organisation Scarlet Alliance, echoed the call to end regulation of the sex industry, saying NSW laws were the gold standard in Australia.

Australia: Study backs decriminalisation of prostitution


The World Today – Tuesday, 16 September , 2008  12:45:00

Reporter: Michael Edwards

ELEANOR HALL: A sexual health expert is calling for the decriminalisation of prostitution across Australia, saying it will help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Basil Donovan from the National Centre in HIV is using a study of sex workers in New South Wales, where prostitution has been decriminalised, to back his call.

The study shows that sex workers in that state have lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases than their counterparts in other areas of Australia.

Michael Edwards has this report.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Twenty-eight year old Sharon is a six year veteran of Australia’s sex industry. She’s worked at brothels in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

When she compares conditions for sex workers in these states, she says New South Wales comes out best.

SHARON: When I came to Sydney I couldn’t believe the difference in attitude, you know, workers don’t have to worry about getting a criminal record or worrying about police knocking down the door.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: In New South Wales, prostitution is decriminalised and Sharon says sex workers take control of their own health concerns.

SHARON: I found that working in New South Wales has been more conducive to accessing health services and taking control of my health than when I was in Perth worried about, you know, the police or when I was in Victoria feeling forced and insulted and degraded and invaded by having to go for mandatory testing.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: And a new study shows sex workers in New South Wales have some of the lowest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the entire country.

The study’s author, Professor Basil Donovan from the National Centre in HIV, says decriminalising and deregulating the sex industry works.

BASIL DONOVAN: In Sydney you are looking at a chlamydia prevalence that means how many women are infected in any one day are one to two per cent in Sydney sex workers.

The general population of prevalence for women of the same age is four to five per cent. Count the school girls is about one to two per cent or slightly higher. The prevalence of gonorrhoea in sex workers in Sydney is about as close as you can get to zero.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: The findings of the study are being presented at the Australasian Sexual Health Congress presently being held in Perth. Professor Donovan says the results in New South Wales are in contrast to other states where prostitution is either illegal or regulated.

Professor Donovan says the requirement, in Queensland and Victoria, for brothels to be licensed has meant much of the industry has stayed underground.

BASIL DONOVAN: The substantial part of the industry is effectively illegal cause it’s not licensed. It’s very difficult to run health promotion programs and to access those women to ensure that they are seeing doctors.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Janelle Fawkes from the peak body for Australian sex workers, The Scarlet Alliance, backs the findings. She says the key to containing sexual diseases in the sex industry is education and ensuring workers are motivated to get medical treatment.

Ms Fawkes says the use of ‘licenses’ makes the situation worse.

JANELLE FAWKES: In licensing framework model you end up with a large percentage of the industry that is operating outside of the legal framework, therefore it doesn’t have the same levels of access to HIV prevention, education, outreach by a sex worker organisation, being covered by the states workplace conditions for occupational health and safety et cetera.

ELEANOR HALL: Janelle Fawkes is from the Scarlet Alliance which represents Australian sex workers and she was speak to Michael Edwards.


Auckland: School in dilemma over teacher’s prostitution work

Sun, 21 Sep 2008 5:13p.m.The Teachers’ Council may be asked to decide whether any action should be taken against an Auckland primary school teacher moonlighting as a prostitute.

The new teacher, a mother in her 30s with two children, has been working as a prostitute to supplement her income.

The newspaper, which did not name the teacher or her school, said a parent told the teacher’s principal, who was balancing a possible negative reaction from parents with the woman’s right to work in a job which has been legal in New Zealand since 2003.

It has been referred to the school’s board of trustees, which will meet in committee to debate whether to ignore the issue, discipline the teacher or ask the Teachers’ Council to decide.

The woman reportedly told the principal that her action in her own time was not his concern, and that it was not affecting her ability as a teacher.

Teachers’ Council director Peter Lind said the most important factor was whether the teacher’s second job was affecting her teaching duties, “and there would have to be actual evidence”.

Employment lawyer John Hannan, who knew of the case, said a school could possibly take action even if it didn’t have a policy either preventing teachers taking secondary jobs or ensuring they first seek approval from their board.

“It’s a case of whether the outside employment is regarded as incompatible with the role of a teacher in terms of role-modelling and in terms of any policies that the board of trustees might have in place.”

Another employment lawyer, Patrick Walsh, said the council could intervene if the school deemed the teacher’s second job was “conduct that brings discredit to the profession”.

Prostitutes Collective national co-ordinator Catherine Healy said there were several teachers who had second jobs as prostitutes.

Frances Nelson, the president of the New Zealand Education Institute, the union for 97 percent of primary school teachers, could not be contacted.

Two years ago, an Auckland policewoman was disciplined after it was discovered she had an extra job as a sex-worker.

Police bosses said they would not have approved the job because it was seen as inappropriate and incompatible with policing. The woman kept her police job following an investigation.



Oldies: Japan: Modern Japanese women: dealing with sex, lies and the dried-flower syndrome

GOODBYE MADAME BUTTERFLY: Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese Woman, by Sumie Kawakami. Chin Music Press, 2007, 219 pp., $20 (cloth)

Who wants to be a woman in Japan? Misery can’t get much worse than the sexless relationships, dreary marriages, loneliness, patriarchal blues and stressed out women portrayed in these riveting interviews. These ordinary women, and one rather different man, tell it like it is and force us to reconsider contemporary Japan and its modern pathologies.

Sumie Kawakami is an experienced and intelligent reporter who manages to get her subjects to bare their souls and share their anxieties in a book I found hard to put down. Early on she draws our attention to a sad paradox: Japan has a world beating sex industry while most Japanese don’t seem to be having much sex, at least according to a Durex survey. And, those who are getting their share are not very enthusiastic; Japan ranks second to last in the satisfaction category, just above China.

Sexless relationships are on the rise, apparently because its just too much bother. Horny housewives and lascivious “OLs” are a media induced fantasy as most women, Kawakami writes, “wanted their lovers to fill their loneliness, emptiness and lack of self-worth.” Apparently, this is nigh upon mission impossible in Japan.

Finding the right lover is not so easy, but we learn that at least women can avail themselves of a clinic that offers them intimate encounters with sex volunteers. Women can select their volunteers from a catalog brimming with intimate details, and, yes, size does seem to matter. The clients say they are grateful for the service while there appears to be no shortage of male volunteers; money isn’t everything.

The author divulges glimpses of her own experiences that help us understand where she is coming from, “Having been cheated on many times by my ex, I wasn’t in the mood to be sympathetic to these wives who enjoyed the luxury of not having to work, spending their time in nail salons, fancy shopping centers or luxurious cafes, and then going off and having sex while their husbands were at the office working hard to maintain the lifestyle they had grown accustomed to.”

Why do women put up with jerks? After reading about the abusive and philandering men in these women’s lives it is amazing what they tolerate. They literally roll with the punches and just ask their men to be more discreet in their affairs.

Emi eschews sex because she worries her husband might infect her with a sexually transmitted disease, but keeps the empty marriage going for the kids.

Misa confesses she wishes her husband’s mistress was much younger or at least a sex worker, saying, “This is a pride thing, I know, but I couldn’t get over the fact that she was not a pro and was almost the same age as me.” And so in her prime she resigns herself to a sexless marriage, a bleak trudge through life shared with someone she can no longer love.

We also learn why, in dealing with personal problems, Japanese prefer fortune tellers to psychiatrists. Kawakami writes: “If you say you are going to counseling, it sounds like you have a mental problem. But if you are going to have your fortune told or a purification ritual done, there is no social stigma attached.” And, if you need a fail-safe reason to dump a butthead guy, nothing beats fate!

Here, purgatory is described as a wife whose journalist husband is working overseas while she is ridden with guilt for consoling herself with the daughter’s cram school teacher. The better it got, the greater her guilt over betraying her family.

So what’s life like as a male sex volunteer helping women reach orgasm? Ironically, Hideo has a sexless marriage, but finds psychological fulfillment in helping sufferers of “dried-flower syndrome.” He says the women are grateful and tell him that the sex rejuvenates them.

Another interview subject admits that she slept with seven “volunteers” in six months because she could not find love, but still wanted sex. It’s her hope, however, “to graduate from being someone who can only relate to men through sex.”

Mitsuko, a virgin until 52, toiled at work and cared for her aging mother, but never found the right man until seducing a patient at her acupuncture clinic. Yukio, “told her he loved cuddling with a chubby woman with big breasts.” Such romantic pillow talk soon led to marriage, but bliss didn’t last as it turns out that the much younger man had a mother complex and soon moved back to where he was indulged and pampered in ways that a career woman could never manage.

Lessons? Finding a good man isn’t easy and getting rid of bad ones is even harder.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008