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  • Other Dated Added: Mon Dec 25 2006 Submitted by: Helping The Hobbyist Community

    Here is some interesting data but, let me say, I don't believe it. I think what happens is that when a monger gets arrested, he develops radar and learns to avoid stings. ("Sting-dar") He changes his habits, goes to massage parlors or goes to Mexico, baby, or just doesn't get caught. He learns that a hot white girl walking around in fuck me boots and fishnet stockings and offering him anal for, like, fifty bucks who WON'T GET IN THE CAR RIGHT AWAY is definitely a cop.

    The study is bullshit. Thanks for wasting our tax dollars, Department of Justice.

    Arrest deters kerb crawlers from further prostitution activity

    Dec 24, 2006

    "These results suggest that simply arresting and prosecuting clients of prostitutes may be enough of a deterrent that additional interventions, such as sending clients to 'john schools' or educational programs that emphasize the harms of prostitution, may be unnecessary to lower recidivism,"

    By PLoS ONE, New research indicates that men arrested for buying sex from prostitutes are much less likely to continue their prostitution activity than clients of prostitutes not arrested for such behavior.

    The study, published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, was carried out by a team of researchers led by Devon D. Brewer, director of the research firm Interdisciplinary Scientific Research. "Our findings are unexpected, because previous studies of youth indicated that arrest had no effect on, or even increased, their delinquent and criminal behavior," Brewer said.

    The researchers analyzed police records of clients, or "johns", arrested for prostitution in Colorado Springs, USA, and information on clients who sought HIV testing at the local health department or were involved in a large health department study of prostitutes and their sex partners. Arrested clients were usually caught in stings where female police officers posed as prostitutes in high-prostitution areas, and nearly all arrested clients were convicted. Clients first identified by arrest were similar to those first identified by the health department in terms of their demographic characteristics and prostitution activity. The researchers also examined records from several states in the USA and found that clients, after being arrested, did not appear to seek prostitutes in other communities or prostitutes who work in off-street settings.

    "These results suggest that simply arresting and prosecuting clients of prostitutes may be enough of a deterrent that additional interventions, such as sending clients to 'john schools' or educational programs that emphasize the harms of prostitution, may be unnecessary to lower recidivism," Brewer noted. "However, because only a very small percentage of clients in a community are arrested, other strategies and increased enforcement may be necessary to reduce the demand for prostitution further."

    The research was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.
    (Review # 16746)
  • Murmansk, former USSR Other Dated Added: Sun Jan 01 2006 Submitted by: Helping The Hobbyist Community

    Arctic convoy heroes attack brothel movie as 'sick fantasy'

    A renowned Russian director is planning a film claiming that British sailors on the wartime Arctic convoys to Murmansk were provided with sex from KGB-trained women. Furious survivors of the voyages say the 'brothels' are mythical.

    For four years, they survived some of the harshest conditions of the Second World War to get crucial supplies through to their besieged Russian allies, facing ceaseless bombardment, repeated U-boat attacks and some of the bitterest temperatures on earth.

    Winston Churchill called the sailors on the Arctic convoys 'the bravest souls afloat'. But now shooting is about to start on a controversial new film that depicts them as enthusiastic patrons of military brothels - and the survivors are furious.

    Later this year, Aleksei Uchitel, one of the leading post-Soviet era directors and an Oscar nominee, will start shooting the film, based on documents recently unearthed from Soviet naval archives.

    'The documents reveal that the official army nightclubs, affectionately known as "Churchill clubs", were in fact Russian bordellos,' said Uchitel. 'They were set up in an extraordinary secret pact between Churchill and Stalin to provide high-class prostitutes for British sailors after their epic 1,600-mile voyage to Murmansk.

    'The clubs, also referred to as doma druzbi or "friendship houses", were staffed by highly educated English-speaking Russian women, especially trained by the KGB to minister to the sexual needs of the Allied sailors.'

    Joseph Fiennes and Jacqueline Bisset, both long-standing friends of Uchitel, have expressed an interest in starring in the film, which will be the first Russian production to be made in English. John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton and Russia's most famous actor Evegeny Mironov have also been approached to appear in the film - which has a working title of The Churchill Houses

    Uchitel refuses to say which characters the actors might play but admits the plot is already proving controversial.

    'I have received a number of complaints from war veterans but the film is not intended to offend in any way: my story does not question the fact that all these people were fighting heroically against Hitler,' he said.

    The script was written by another Russian, Aleksander Rogozhkin, who uncovered the story while studying Soviet navy archives eight years ago.

    'As far as I know, this is the first time this information is going to be revealed to the public,' said Uchitel. 'The information was kept a secret until now because many of the witnesses were still alive - but now so few survivors are left, the situation has relaxed.'

    Uchitel's film centres on two fictitious love affairs at the real-life international Churchill House, or Interklub, in the main square in Murmansk. [...]

    However, a number of people who lived or worked in the Russian port during the war are disputing the claims to be made in the film, arguing The Churchill Houses is a lurid story with no grounding in fact. 'This is sick fantasy,' said Olga Golubtsova, author of a book about wartime romances between British sailors and Russian women, who said more than 100 girls who worked in the clubs were arrested and sent to the Gulag from Murmansk, accused of spying for British intelligence. 'I don't understand how one can produce a film like this when all the witnesses alive deny that anything of the sort happened,' she said.

    But according to Uchitel, although the authorities tried to disguise what was happening in the building, its true purpose was well known. 'It was officially called a "house of friendship",' he said. 'But every day, the words "Churchill Brothel" would appear on the fence as the locals knew very well what went on there.

    'The women who worked at the Churchill House had to fulfil strict criteria. They were chosen according to questionnaires. They were required to be beautiful and to know foreign languages.' The film will pull no punches, promises the director. It will depict the girls as forced into lives of humiliation, poverty, violence and disease.

    Uchitel is an established and respected director in his country. His previous works include His Wife's Diary, which was Russia's entry for the best foreign film Oscar in 2000. His latest film, Dreaming of Space, which stars Mironov, won Russia's prestigious Golden St. George prize in Moscow and was screened at the London Film Festival last month.

    The Arctic convoys, which transported four million tons of supplies and munitions to Russia between 1941 and 1945, were instrumental in keeping the Red Army in the war and were key to the Allies' ultimate victory.

    Last month veterans of the convoys won a major victory in their long campaign for a medal recognising that their voyages were among the most difficult and dangerous naval missions of the war, taking the lives of almost 3,000 British seamen.

    After talks with John Reid, the Defence Secretary, veteran Eddie Grenfell announced that his comrades would be able to wear the Arctic Star, which he has designed himself. Grenfell, who spent time in Murmansk after his ship was destroyed on one of the convoys, called Uchitel's claims 'disrespectful bloody nonsense'.

    'We were allowed to dance with the Russian girls but that was it,' said the 85-year-old former commander, who now lives in Portsmouth. 'It was very difficult to have any close relations with them: they were watched by Russian officers, who they were very afraid of. They knew there was a certain line they couldn't cross.'

    Grenfell, then a radar operator, said it was true that the women employed at the club had clearly been picked for their beauty and ability to speak English.

    'I met many Red Army girls and they were all delightful, university-educated women who spoke good English,' he remembered. 'And my goodness, they were some of the prettiest girls you've ever seen.'

    But Uchitel maintained: 'The basis of the film is a true story. You have to understand that many details came from the author's mind because it's not a documentary but I know that institutions like this really existed.'

    Soldiers and the sex trade

    Alarm about the involvement of UN peacekeepers in sex trafficking became widespread during the Nineties, when investigators found soldiers were generating an estimated 80 per cent of the income in Bosnian brothels. The UN's department of peacekeeping in New York has acknowledged that 'peacekeepers have come to be seen as part of the problem in trafficking, rather than the solution'.

    An estimated 2,000 women have been coerced into sex slavery in Kosovo since the arrival of Nato peacekeepers in 1995, with pimps supplying the thriving industry of forced prostitution by abducting local girls or trafficking women into Kosovo, mainly from Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, and Russia.

    Much of the blame for the explosion of prostitution in Cambodia in the early Nineties has been laid at the door of the 22,000 international troops and staff of the United Nations interim administration. More than 3,000 UN soldiers caught sexually transmitted diseases between December 1991 and May 1993.

    In East Germany during the Cold War, male prostitutes [...] were used by the Stasi secret police to spy on Western diplomats. Around 95 per cent of East Berlin's estimated 3,000 prostitutes had links with the secret police and routinely provided information about Western clients.

    The 'moral laxity' of British women during the Second World War was considered to be so degenerate that it strained relations between Britain and the USA. Thousands of American troops were stationed in or near London in 1942, and wrote home in such colourful terms about being propositioned by prostitutes and 'good-time girls' in the West End of London that the US military demanded action be taken to curb the 'debauchery'.
    (Review # 13533)
  • Memphis, Tenn. Other Dated Added: Sat Dec 24 2005 Submitted by: Helping The Hobbyist Community

    Beale Street bordellos uncovered in Tenn.--late December, 2005

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In the shadow of Memphis' $250 million sports arena, archaeologists have turned up remains of more modest entertainment venues of years past - Beale Street bordellos.

    Preparing for construction of a new hotel, archaeologists dug through a half-block square site just yards from the front doors of FedExForum, the home of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.

    There, about six feet down, they uncovered the remains of two and perhaps three "female boarding houses," as bordellos were called in Memphis in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    Among the discovered artifacts were numerous wine and liquor bottles, and pieces of porcelain dolls apparently once owned by the children of prostitutes.

    "This area around Beale Street was a notorious red-light district," said archaeologist Drew Buchner. "It's all part of the lore of Beale Street."

    The dig, which ended Thursday a half-block south of Beale, turned up artifacts indicating the "boarding houses" were in their prime from the early 1900s until about 1915, when prohibition hit Memphis.

    From the early 1900s through World War II, Beale Street was a cultural and entertainment center for black residents from throughout the Memphis region and the Mississippi River Delta who had been denied access to whites-only nightclubs.

    The city began resurrecting Beale Street as an entertainment district in the 1980s.

    George W. Lee, a Memphis political leader during Beale Street's heyday, wrote about the effects of the anti-liquor movement on the famous strip.

    "He basically said when they enforced prohibition here, several thousand prostitutes left Memphis and went to St. Louis," Buchner said. "You'd think they would have gone to New Orleans, but maybe they had enough down there."

    Tennessee adopted statewide prohibition in 1909, but E.H. Crump, Memphis' longtime political boss, refused to enforce it until forced by anti-alcohol reformers. Crump, a populist who courted black voters, survived the reformers and went on to control Memphis politics into the 1950s.

    National Prohibition mandated by the 18th Amendment took effect in 1920.

    Buchner said he wasn't surprised to uncover doll fragments since archaeologists often make such finds in areas once populated by bordellos.

    "The interpretation is they belonged to the children of prostitutes," he said.

    Diggers also found several buried sections of brick sidewalks.

    "So basically, some of the bricks that W.C. Handy and all those other dudes were walking on are now like six feet deep," Buchner said.

    Beale Street is billed as "home of the blues" because Handy, a musician and band leader, is credited with producing the first written blues music while in Memphis in the early 1900s.

    Developers were required to conduct the archaeological survey because their Westin Beale Street Hotel is being built in a historic district. Panamerican Consultants Inc. expects to complete a report on the survey in about four months.
    (Review # 13440)
  • Other Dated Added: Thu Aug 11 2005 Submitted by: Spiders

    I just want to say to all who may read this:  I am not a religous man.  I am not the most moral, and I am foremost not the best person to preach - but before you just disregard this, please hear me out for a sec.  This is focused mainly on Europe, for I lived there for awhile and it's also on my homefront.

    When you are contributing to prostitution, you are contributing to the broken dreams, to the hurt families of potential victims of the sex trade, corruption, and to a life that has no way out. Most of these girls work for pimps who not only control them physically but threaten them with violence towards them and their families. Most of these girls have never had the opportunities of their johns. See, they could never go to college, go on the business trips, raise families, etc. They weren't born with silver spoons in their mouths. Especially in Europe, but in the US as well, these girls were most likely kidnapped, drugged, raped, chained in cages, sold to pimps, they were not out in their villages jockeying for positions, saying "take me - take me, I wanna be forced into sex?" There is no excuse for "the world's oldest profession" when you consider factors like these.

    Most of the men I have noticed in the reviews are modest middle-aged men with families. Is this the positive image you want to send to them? "Sorry, y'all ain't any good no more - I'd rather pay for sex."

    What if your daughter were out there working for these pimps? ...fearing for their lives and their families?

    Living around the DC area, I constantly hear about the lives of prostitutes, and it is not all it is cracked up to be. Most are forced to work, have no way out, and have been abused. Living in Europe, international trafficking of women was a major issue. Walking around areas, mainly near the train station and in discos, foreign prostitutes from eastern Europe would try to make their meet: "Hey sailor, I love sailors!" "Let's party upstairs..." "You like girlfriend tonight?" "Talking is free," etc., could be heard all over the street.

    Before I ramble on too much, I would just like to conclude this by again saying, I may not be the most moral... I am certainly NOT a saint, and I am also probably not going to change any minds with this, but please ask yourself given these facts and the lives of these poor women:  Is this really love?  Is busting your load really worth the lives of these poor girls?  Is it really worth it?
    (Review # 12418)
  • Other Dated Added: Sun Aug 07 2005 Submitted by: Helping The Hobbyist Community

    Lifting the Veil: the Sex Industry, Museums and Galleries - Simon Adams and Raelene Frances* Prostitution has played an important role in the social and labour history of Australia since the arrival of the First Fleet. However, very little of this history has made its way into the nation's established museums and galleries — the official guardians of our past. Here the history of sex work in Australia remains a marginal topic. This is in stark contrast to the public interest, both here and overseas, in 'sex museums' and heritage tours which 'lift the veil' on the sex industry. How can we explain these gaps and silences? This article explores this issue, and also suggests some ways in which the history of sex work might be effectively represented in both local and national contexts.

    1 - 1. Despite the economic and social importance of the sex industry in Australian history since the time of the First Fleet, prostitution has barely featured in museums and galleries which represent our society. The general absence of any meaningful discussion of prostitution in these public museums is telling. It conveys a deep anxiety about how prostitutes and prostitution should be regarded both in the present and the past. Moreover, it represents a lost opportunity. There is a substantial body of academic work which demonstrates that large numbers of women (and smaller numbers of men) have engaged in sex work during the course of Australia's European history, providing an important economic alternative and supplement to the other forms of work available to women. The sex industry has also played a major part in Australian society over this period, providing at times a focus for organised crime and the corruption which accompanied it. As an institution, prostitution was also often the site of critical contestations over the gender and ethnic dimensions of 'settler society', and the crucible for relationships between coloniser and colonised. 2. The exclusion of certain subjects and groups in museums and galleries has implications for our status as citizens. A more inclusive approach to the history of sex work thus has political implications, especially for those currently engaged in the sex industry. This article explores the reasons behind the general unwillingness to deal with this subject in museum displays, and suggests a theoretical approach which could contribute to addressing this silence. It also surveys some recent approaches to representing prostitution and discusses ways in which museums could build on the experience of these case studies to produce displays which would be both interesting to the viewing public, and also provide a more inclusive representation of Australia's past. 3. Why the Silence on Sex Work? Sex is a notoriously sensitive subject. It forms part of a triumvirate of especially taboo topics associated with intimate aspects of women's bodies, the other two being menstruation and contraception. Museum curators, naturally wary of offending the public, tend to steer clear of such subjects. Perhaps there is also a sense of uncertainty about how to represent this history. What kinds of material culture can be used? How can they be effectively contextualised? These are real issues for many curators. 4. As well as this general reticence and uncertainty, there is a theoretical confusion which militates against the inclusion of representations of prostitution as an occupation. Many people conceive of prostitution as belonging to the realm of the private and moral (or immoral), rather than the realm of economics or politics. It is transgressive behaviour rather than work. The extent to which prostitution can and should be conceptualised as work is still a matter of debate.

    2 - 1. Clearly, the fact that we include prostitution as a subject for labour history suggests that we support the formulation of prostitution as work rather than deviance. Whilst conceding that this has the tendency to normalise something which is often characterised by exploitation, we would argue that such exploitation is not exclusive to prostitution, nor is it a necessary feature of it. Viewing prostitutes as workers, on the other hand, makes them visible in a way that focuses attention on the circumstances of their employment, and in so doing opens the possibility for minimising exploitative working relations, conditions and practices. 3. Theorising prostitution as work has a similar advantage to the museum and heritage industry, allowing prostitution to be represented in a way that is not sensational or exploitative, but that is potentially illuminating and inclusive. 4. Breaking the Silence: Local Museums - One example of this is the Goldfields Museum in Kalgoorlie. Although it has only one permanent display referring to prostitution, the museum suggests the possibilities of using the material culture of commercial sex to explore the conditions under which women traded sexual services. This sole item — a brass 'brothel token' dating from the early twentieth century - is displayed in a glass cabinet tucked away in a back corner of the museum. Inside the glass case, above a blown-up photograph of the brothel token, is text which explains: PROSTITUTES - Large numbers of prostitutes of several nationalities moved to the Goldfields because of the ideal market created by the Goldrushes. Prostitution was accepted as a fact of frontier life. After some debate 'red light' areas were established in Hay St, Kalgoorlie and Richardson St, Boulder. The issues of prostitution and brothels have always been emotive. The recent discussion on the creation of a museum of prostitution is a continuation of these debates and shows the range of attitudes still present in the community.5 6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tucked away in a back corner of the Kalgoorlie Museum — early twentieth century brothel tokens. Photos: Simon Adams -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The fact that the private 'museum of prostitution' referred to has since eventuated, and has been a runaway success in terms of visitors, suggests that this aspect of goldfields' history is one which deserves development. The brothel token, for instance, is a wonderful opportunity to explore the conditions under which women worked in Kalgoorlie's early sex industry. Information is available about the woman represented in the token and could be included as part of the display. Evidence suggests that one of the functions of these tokens was as a form of advertising — a kind of business card, displaying not just a profile of the woman but also her business name and address. 7. Other types of advertising provide interesting commentary on attitudes to the sex industry and the way it represents itself. Postcards sold in the museum shop depicting the sex industry have a history which could be used effectively for display as well as merchandise. The debates referred to in the existing display have also left behind an abundance of physical evidence which would be used to illustrate changing views. Photographs of Hay Street over time are readily available, and these too would provide a fascinating chronology of the street's varied fortunes. Building plans which showed the layout of residential and working spaces in the brothels would provide a sense of the geography of working life, while street plans showing the shifting location of the sex industry in relation to other facilities and residences in the town would also be worth considering. Likewise, interviews and reminiscences from locals, including the brothel inmates, would provide a personal dimension to this history. 8 At the Fremantle History Museum curators have taken the opportunity to utilise artefacts associated with sex workers in the 1940s and incorporate them into an exhibition dealing with the social history of Fremantle. Inside the museum's 'Within these Walls' exhibition is the World War II exhibit. The display argues that 'Fremantle was the most significant naval port in the southern hemisphere' and that a total of 9,000 US personnel were stationed in Western Australia from 1942–45. As a result, 'Demands on services and supplies, including food and entertainment, were heavy. Dance halls, cinemas, nightclubs and brothels boomed'.6 Sex work is then contextualised under the sub-heading 'Over-paid, over-sexed and over here', where it is explained that the result of American presence was a booming economy and war brides, although 'less pleasant legacies included rampant venereal disease and prostitution, with many women being sentenced to terms in Fremantle prison'. The exhibited artefacts include ration cards, an invitation to a farewell dance for US troops, a sparkling ring and watch belonging to a Roe Street Madam, and a bracelet belonging to another Madam whose 52 charms were all gifts from her 'girls'. Under the heading 'Prostitution and the Second World War' the curators detail that the well known brothels in Roe St. Perth were particularly busy during the Second World War with visits by military personnel from different countries. During the Manpower Inquiry, when all non-essential labour was recalled for war-time services, one brothel Madam recalled being asked her occupation. She declared it as 'essential services, madam of a brothel' and 'never heard any more of it'. The exhibit also includes an illustrated poem from 'a scrapbook of poems and drawings by a female inmate of Fremantle prison sentenced for prostitution'. 9 Overall, the exhibit in the Fremantle Museum is unique in its attempt to incorporate a discussion of sex work (and venereal disease) into its general exhibition on World War II. Such an approach contributes to a greater understanding of the importance of sex work to our local history. 10 Another example of how a sense of place informs a discussion of sex work can be seen in one of Australia's most recent museums, the Melbourne Museum. Here, the subject arises in the context of the display called 'Life at Little Lon', dealing with Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne's historic 'red-light' quarter. The display includes perfume bottles associated with known large brothels in Lonsdale Street, and also two items which may have been once part of the furnishings of a brothel: a white glass vase with a blue glass snake curling around it, and an earthenware Staffordshire figurine of a naked Lady Godiva on a horse. The display is framed within the theme of 'vice and reformers' and the brothel items displayed alongside school photographs, Sunday school certificates, material from the Salvation Army and the Mission to the Streets and the Lanes, and items of jewellery with Christian symbolism also found on the site. As curator Elizabeth Willis explained: We aimed to communicate that prostitution was only one activity in the area, and that the women lived in the same neighbourhood, in fact as neighbours, with families and resident 'reformers'. 7. Added to this static display is a vibrant oral history. Marie Owen, for instance, relates her memories of childhood in this area in the 1920s and 1930s. She recalls that despite the unsavoury reputation of Little Lon, she always felt safe. Anzac Day was remembered as the big day of the year, when hundreds of returned soldiers converged on the neighbourhood brothels. According to Marie, they did not trouble the respectable residents, always retreating apologetically if they mistakenly knocked on her mother's door. 11 It is, however, perhaps symptomatic of the unease curators feel with the issue of prostitution that some of the most successful explorations take place outside the walls of museums. Melbourne's Golden Mile Heritage Trail embraces the shadier aspects of the city's cultural heritage, promising walkers information about 'bushrangers, visionaries, prostitutes, painters'.8 Madam Brussels' former brothel in Little Lonsdale Street is a particular focus. The trail was opened in 2000 by the Victorian Premier and two and half years later had just celebrated its 50,000th walker, showing that the public is undeterred by discussion of subjects which might be considered sensitive. 9. Indeed, the popularity of this walk may owe more than a little to its unconventional subjects. 12. Never to be outdone by Melbourne, Sydney has also capitalised on the popularity of historical walking tours. The Justice and Police Museum has addressed the issue, offering occasional walking tours which discuss prostitutes and organised crime in the context of Darlinghurst and East Sydney. Their 'Wayward Women' tour takes visitors on a guided tour through Elizabeth Bay and East Sydney, discussing the careers of Tilly Devine, Nellie Cameron and Kate Leigh as well as other unconventional women, including writers, bohemians and nuns. Though much more work needs to be done, there is still enough surviving of the buildings and streetscapes to make this a meaningful exercise in evoking personalities and lifestyles in the context of place. 13. Local Sex Industry Historical Initiatives - As it stands, however, the attention given to the sex industry in official museums does not satisfy the public interest. The gap has been filled to some extent by the sex industry itself. In 1998 a Kalgoorlie sex industry entrepreneur secured local council approval for a proposal to build a 'Historic Bordello and Museum of Prostitution'. Langtrees 181, as it was named, opened in 2000 and offered 'historic tours' of the working brothel and its displays. Two years later, more people visited 181 Hay Street to take a tour than to take advantage of the sexual services on sale. In the first week of October 2002, one of the two female sex workers at Langtrees 181 in Hay Street, Kalgoorlie complained to one of the authors that business was slow and that even though the 'number of girls on the floor' had decreased from 10 to two, they were still only averaging around three bookings a night each. During daylight hours of the previous week, however, almost 2,000 people visited Langtrees 181's 'World Famous Bordello Tours'. 10. These visitors paid $25 each (with a discount for pensioners and group bookings) to go on a tour of the premises and be treated to a commentary which gives a history of prostitution in Kalgoorlie. Visitors are taken through the historically themed rooms: the 'Lily Langtree [sic] Room', in honour of the many French women who were amongst the town's first sex workers; the 'Eishan Room', a reminder of the hundreds of Japanese prostitutes who worked in Kalgoorlie at the turn of the nineteenth century; the 'Coolgardie Tent Room', evoking the primitive conditions and the presence of camel drivers in the area during its pioneering days. The 'Roman Orgy' and 'Great Boulder Shaft' rooms evoke both the world's sexual past, and local labour history. 14 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Langtrees, 181 Hay Street, Kalgoorlie Photo: Simon Adams -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A glossy brochure, Between the Sheets, explains the significance of each room at Langtrees 181, with particular reference to a version of the history of the sex industry in Kalgoorlie. History in this case is mined for erotic fantasy, while the tourists of both sexes who flock to the thrice-daily tours satisfy their curiosity about the interior of a brothel, and also feel they are learning something about the social history of the area. Along the way 'artefacts' from the sexual history of Kalgoorlie are displayed and contextualised by the guide. A 'brothel token' from the days of the Japanese prostitutes is explained not long after tourists have been shown a revolving leather bed custom-made for a 1970s Madam. Another famous Madam, Shirley Finn, murdered in Perth in the 1970s, is memorialised on the wall. Railway sleepers from 'the first railway line here in Kalgoorlie and the first mine site' form the bed posts and mirror frame in the 'Great Boulder Shaft Room'. Tourists are also shown the room where sex workers receive their monthly health checks.11 15 Throughout, the emphasis is on both the historic and the contemporary: Western Australia's current laws governing prostitution are ridiculed, while one is asked to empathise with the 'poor French girls' who were lured to the brothels of Kalgoorlie under false premises during the nineteenth century. The fact that the 'museum' is also a functioning site for sex work is never far from the attention of either tourists or guides. As one guide explained in the 'Eishin Room': The reason this room is simplistic and it doesn't have a spa is because we're dealing with Asian simplicity of life. We used to have a futon in here, however, the ladies complained of sore backs, and Mary-Anne will not pay out compensation claims on bad backs, so we put the normal bed back in. No complaints.12 Popularising history in this way does have its drawbacks. Without the intervention of professionally trained curatorial staff, some of the displays are inaccurate and sometimes offensive. For instance, while we are encouraged to empathise with the 'French girls' who were tricked into prostitution, or the English prostitutes who worked the tent brothels of the Coolgardie goldfields and drank themselves to death, little sympathy is exhibited towards the male Afghan camel drivers who brought water to Kalgoorlie before the advent of the 'golden pipeline'. In the 'Afghan Room', named after them, we are told: The Afghans provided the first major means of transport in Kalgoorlie. With the camel trains. These guys were actually despised by the Australians. Big time. Because of the way they treated them. Their main job was bottling water. They'd go down the local dams, have a drink themselves, have a bit of a wash in it. Wash their camels, and then bottle the water for the Aussies. We were dropping like flies. We didn't know why ... That's because we were being poisoned by the camels and the different diseases in their fur and their skin. These guys didn't get along very well with the Aussies at all. But we did need them because they were the first major means of transport.13 The curiously misplaced décor of the Afghan Room, with its attempted 'Arabian Nights' eroticism, perhaps remains a fitting memorial to the misunderstood and much-maligned Afghans whose camels helped keep Kalgoorlie alive in an era before trains and running water, in a place where their religion, culture, and ethnicity marked them out for dark rumours. 16 Outside of the standard 'facts' scripted for, and memorised by, each of the guides, they are permitted to interpret the theme rooms in their own ways. Much depends on background and personal politics. For instance, the famous 'Scotty', a Scottish grandmother and former sex worker who is one of the main guides at Langtrees 181, tells tourists in the 'Roman Orgy Room' that attitudes to sex have gone 'backwards' since Roman times. In her own words: Well, that was 2,000 years ago and look at the orgies they were having in Pompeii and then here in Coolgardie out in the open air, naked, half-naked, in 1893. We are in 2002, these girls can't even put their hair out and talk sex outside or we get fined $50,000. As far as I'm concerned if they want to, the Kalgoorlie police should allow these girls out there, they have been doing this since the 1800s, okay.14 Scotty believes prostitution and the brothel tours are undervalued community services in Kalgoorlie. For her, the tours are as much a political soap-box as an opportunity for a history lesson. [I]t is the brothels and the gold that bring in the tourists. Last year we took through about 12,000 tourists on the tours. That was the first year and I say we have done more than that already this year. So everybody is interested in it and Kalgoorlie, as you know, has got the lowest crime rate in the world and always has had. That's for sexual assault, rape and child molesters and it is because these brothels are here. So it is about time the whole world learned their lesson. It is okay for these do-gooders. But there are lots of ugly men in this world who can't get a woman, what are they supposed to do? There are a lot of older men whose wives have died. Same with women, the same thing, everybody does need sexual satisfaction, or most of us do. 15. There is no doubting the popularity of the tours. On the first night one of the authors visited Langtrees 181 in March 2002, a tour bus, complete with a sign declaring 'Over 50s Touring Around Australia', was parked out front. Once unthinkable, these days such sights are daily occurrences, often requiring extra tours to be scheduled. In the words of Scotty: Oh yeah, well last night I did an extra tour at 5.30 pm and they were all ladies and the bus driver and his wife were there too. All elderly ladies and they just loved it and I don't moderate the content for anyone. 16. For many tourists the fact that Langtrees 181 looks so 'normal' and 'clean' inside is one of the most surprising things about it. In the words of Dan, an American tourist: I was smiling when we actually walked into Langtrees as I would never in my wildest imagination have pictured myself crossing the threshold into a brothel ... I guess that I had conjured up images of lingerie-clad women lustily calling after walkers-by, trying to drum up business, ala Dolly Parton's girls in 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'. The foyer reminded me of a dentist's office or of the reception area of a Red Cross Blood Donation Centre. 17. Another American tourist, Kate, thought it was 'similar to a hotel' until she took a 'closer look at the products sold in the gift shop, or the sign that told the hourly rates that were offered'. 18. Dan found the actual tour to be 'eye opening': The historical tales of the remarkable beginnings of the prostitution business in Kalgoorlie were interesting to hear and certainly framed the tour in a different light. Two or three times during the guided portion of the tour, our guide made rather crude jokes or overtly sexual innuendoes. My first reaction was to gulp and shake my head. I needed to constantly remind myself that I was actually IN A BROTHEL ... It was one of the most interesting places that I have ever visited, as the tour shed light on an industry about which I know very little. Everyone on the tour seemed to be equally intrigued by this world that is usually hidden behind the doors of cities' red-light districts. 19. Visitors report being genuinely intrigued by the historical aspects of the tour: I did the tour with Scotty when I was in Kalgoorlie in May and I found it incredibly interesting and thought that the evolution of the sex industry from what it was in the goldfield days, through to the present where staff from Langtrees have actually taken their female employer to the industrial relations committee over contractual disputes a very interesting evolution indeed. And besides mining, the history of the prostitution and brothel trade is one of Kal's main cultural history strengths. 20. The operators of Langtrees 181's 'World Famous Bordello Tour' in Kalgoorlie seem to have hit on a winning combination of titillation and 'education'. They claim it holds a unique place in the international history of sex work. According to the promotional brochure: Only in Kalgoorlie can you visit a real working brothel. Interesting, educational, stimulating and sensational are the comments of those who have taken part in this world first tour. A similar point is made by the guide at the start of every tour: This is a world first. There is no other brothel in the world where you can go and actually get a guided tour. You will see all our working rooms and we will not hide anything from you.21 Remarkably, few tourists are bothered by the innuendo and sexual details which form part of the tour. Age does not appear to be an impediment. Scotty claims the oldest woman to do the tour was 94, and that she has only ever had one tourist walk out because they were offended.22 Kate, an American tourist in her early twenties, found comfort in the fact that there were ten seniors on the same tour as me. I figured if grandma could go on the tour, then I should be able to handle it too. Though I did have my initial reservations about the tour, I actually found it to be enlightening. It was a little weird at first to be talking about sex and prostitution so openly, coming from a staunch Catholic background; however, I was able to get over it and actually learn something.23 By the end of the tour, Kate's perspective on prostitution had been altered. I would probably recommend the tour to others if they were visiting Kal. First of all, the whole thing was pretty hilarious. The different theme rooms were quite outrageous. I was surprised that some of the seniors did not have a heart attack, I almost did. But beyond that I actually think that it makes you think twice about your opinion on legalising prostitution. Langtrees offered an alternative to having disease-ridden people street-walking and the crimes that are associated with that.24 Other tourists contrasted the working conditions of the sex 'slaves' of Kalgoorlie during the 1890s, to today where 'workers had a say in who and what they did' and 'had a cut of the money'. Whereas 1890s clients were viewed as predatory creatures, the modern day 'regulars' at Langtrees 181 'sounded like they were just after some human contact and compassion'. Viewed from such a perspective, prostitution becomes a virtual 'community service'. 25 17 This is, of course, one of the intentions of the 'World Famous Bordello Tour'. It is designed to highlight the injustices and indignities suffered by previous generations of sex workers in Kalgoorlie, and to contrast that with the cleanliness, comfort and 'safety' of working at (or visiting!) Langtrees 181. The tours are as much an advertisement for legalised prostitution and the sex industry as they are a voyeuristic peek behind the velvet curtains of a working brothel. Indeed, sales of 'sex toys' and other souvenirs in the gift shop at the end of the tour are an intrinsic part of the Langtrees 181 experience. According to Scotty: You'd be amazed how many [tourists] buy dildos and vibrators and a lot of them, especially the more mature ladies, they won't buy them in front of all the other tourists. But we often get them coming back the next day and say 'Scotty can you put it in the bag so my friend won't see it'. I sell heaps of those vibrators.26 According to Kim, a receptionist at Langtrees, some female tourists stay back and ask if they can talk to the sex workers. The tourists generally want to know why individual women got involved in the sex industry, and 'how they deal with doing it, and things like that'. On a few occasions, Kim has noticed that at the end of a tour some males also 'hang back': Some girls start at 6.00 pm and some start at 8.00 pm, so by the time the [last daily] tour is finished it is about 8.30 pm or 9.00 pm and all the girls are on the floor then and you get tourists, like most of them will leave but you will get a few stragglers, that sit back and have a coffee. A small percentage of them who are left behind will go through with a girl ... It is funny sitting back, you know, watching and I think, 'I know what you are going to be doing. I know you are going to book-in in a minute'.27 Undoubtedly, the appeal of the 'World Famous Bordello Tour' at Langtrees 181 is primarily voyeuristic. Many tourists commented that they came on the tour because they were fascinated to see inside a working brothel. On the tour, however, they learn about the sexual history of Kalgoorlie and are encouraged to empathise with the sex workers, both past and present, who are represented as doing a difficult job in a town where prostitution has always been considered at worst a 'necessary evil', at best an important social institution. The perspective adopted is very much that of 'sex work' rather than social deviance. The tour is essentially an elaborate argument for a safe, legalised and regulated sex industry, which will benefit the wider society as well as sex workers. History, in this case, is utilised to entice customers into the brothel (where they may otherwise have feared to tread), and to convince tourists that sex work is an essential part of Kalgoorlie's past, present and future. Perhaps mainstream museums should take note of the success of this approach. Whilst not suggesting that they turn themselves into working brothels, the public response to the tours suggests that the subject is not as sensitive as many fear, and that many people are genuinely interested in exploring this aspect of social and labour history. 18 Langtrees is not the only example of a sex-industry museum initiative. In early 2001 the Canberra-based Eros Foundation, a sex industry lobby group, opened a small sex museum in a prominent location on Northbourne Avenue, Civic. As its promotional brochure pointed out, 'the National Museum of Erotica is located in the heart of Canberra, not far from Parliament House and the National Museum of Australia. It sits right on the bus stop for the free Canberra Bus Tours'.28 Its founders aimed to 'fill the gap' left by the new National Museum of Australia which completely overlooked the subject of sex in its representation of Australia, its people and their cultures.29 The museum claimed that its primary function is to chronicle Australia's erotic culture and history. This will be achieved in a number of ways including the provision of collection and display points for a wide variety of erotica. Art, craft, collectibles, memorabilia, publications, films, audio recordings and new technology are all integral components of this chronicle. The collection of stories about Australia's erotic past is also of paramount importance.30 19 Most of the premises were occupied by a shop selling various 'erotic' products, such as 'erotic wine', 'original Karma Sutra miniature paintings and stone carvings', and 'the very sexy Bedroom Bubbly Champagne and Museum champagne glasses'. The collection of posters and artefacts was very small. It conformed more to the 'glorified sex shop' model, such as the Amsterdam Sex Museum and Venus Temple, than educational museum. But it was a pale shadow of the extensive Amsterdam museum, with its giant sculptures of penises and huge range of sexual aids and pornography from all over the world and many time periods. However, the Canberra museum was more than its collections and merchandise. The museum offered a range of courses for its patrons, including erotic life drawing classes, the Eros Foundation course in Sex and Censorship, erotic video appreciation course and classes in erotic cuisine. 20 The National Museum of Erotica closed its doors in late 2002, but one of its products continues: 'The Love Bus educational tour of the ACT's adult industry'. These tours pre-dated the museum, starting in 1995 after a successful tour by a group of politicians inspired the concept of public group tours of the territory's legal sex industry. The three-hour tours claim to mix 'fun and education' by providing information on Canberra's sex industry and the laws under which it operates, 'behind the scenes visits to peep shows, X-rated duplication plants and a dungeon', live adult entertainment performances and champagne and canapés as well as an 'erotic gift pack worth over $70!'31 Like the commentary at Langtrees, the message is explicitly political and explicitly pro-legalisation. However, while the Love Bus tours have been very successful, and the concept is being extended to Melbourne, the museum itself never flourished. Despite its prominent position, many locals were surprised to learn of its existence. Lacking the attraction of the brothel tours — of providing a glimpse inside an actual brothel — the museum alone did not offer enough in the way of exhibition content to appeal to the public. Focusing as it did on the sexual/erotic element of prostitution, the museum also lacked the appeal that Langtrees has of exploring the changing working lives of prostitutes. 21 Sex Work and the Heritage Industry That 'real' brothels have an appeal to a curious public is something which the museum and heritage industry can exploit without apparently giving offence to a general audience. While nowhere near as successful as Langtrees, Australia does have one example where mainstream heritage preservers/presenters have embraced the history of the sex industry. Located in the heart of the historic port precinct of the Riverina town of Echuca, the Brothel Museum is potentially a wonderful example of how heritage can address sensitive themes which are nonetheless a major part of the social history of a community. As the focus of a busy river traffic, sexual services were much in demand in late nineteenth century Echuca. The two-storey wooden house was classified by the National Trust in the late 1970s and preserved as a brothel museum. It conveys a sense of both the geography and atmosphere of a busy brothel. The structure has been preserved virtually intact, largely because for years it was simply used as storage for an agricultural machinery yard on the site. The building consists of six identical whitewashed rooms. One of the downstairs front rooms has been restored to recreate a brothel room, furnished simply with a fireplace, bare boards, an iron bed and washstand and occupied by a mannequin with long, auburn tresses dressed in an off-the-shoulder crimson evening dress. This model is embracing a male mannequin in workingmen's clothes. The interpretative plaque on the exterior of the building records the history of the site, and draws the visitor's attention to the convenient layout of the house and garden, with a side entrance into a lane, so that customers could enter and leave the building without being observed. The historic hotel backing onto the brothel also has a plaque pointing out the connection between the liquor and sex industries, and the role of music in the commonly sought-after evening's entertainment. 22 Helen Coulson, Manager of the Port of Echuca from 1976 to 1991, recalled that at the time there was a 'bit of a bally-hoo' about the proposal to open a brothel museum, but when the sign went up outside 'people thought it was hilarious — dying to go inside'.32 Unfortunately, lack of funds for staff means that the building itself is open to the public only two or three times a year, although the curious visitor can get a sense of the interior by peering through the window.33 The brothel was also the subject of an attack by local 'twits', who thought it might be fun to smash the windows and throw the prostitute model into the river.34 Despite these problems, the Echuca museum suggests that the contemporary public is not as sensitive as many curators fear, providing the content is not too confronting. The neighbour who described the vandals as 'twits' was clearly disapproving of their action, and displayed an almost proprietorial pride in the brothel site. 23 In both Kalgoorlie and Echuca the key to success in representing the history of the sex industry lies in tying displays strongly to the local area. Evoking a sense of place as well as sexual economy works, especially when there is a building/street in which to locate the display. Sovereign Hill in Ballarat has also recognised that the viewing public is able to cope with representations of sex work and the sex industry, and includes actors dressed as prostitutes in the range of historical characters who populate this recreated goldfields town. Other local opportunities also exist, but remain to be developed. One example that we are aware of is Lily Street in Innisfail, north Queensland. The surviving purpose-built 1920s brothel in the former Chinese quarter would make an excellent museum, dealing with the local sex industry alongside the history of the Chinese in the district. 24 As well as the various permanent exhibitions discussed above, Australia has several examples of temporary exhibitions in local museums which focused particularly on the history of the sex industry in that locality. Both have emerged out of what used to be called the 'new social history' and both were funded by progressive government agencies keen to engage with the new climate. In January, 1982, the Constitutional Museum of South Australia opened the first special exhibition in Australia devoted to the history of the sex industry. The exhibition was launched by notorious madam and campaigner for decriminalisation of prostitution, Stormy Summers, who commented that she thought the museum was 'quite adventurous' in its choice of subject matter.35 Like Sydney, Adelaide has a tradition of being avant-garde in its attitudes, and the museum was rewarded for its adventurousness: over 1,300 people crowded through the small museum on opening day and the event got national and international press coverage. Peter Calahan recalls drinking tea out of china cups with Stormy and her two big 'Yugoslav' minders before the opening, 'which itself was a right regular scrum'.36 25 Based on the doctoral research of historian Susan Horan, the exhibition gave an overview of the history of prostitution in Adelaide from its appearance in the early years of European occupation. As in the case of Langtrees, the intention was overtly political as well as educative. The pro-decriminalisation message was less than subtle, as this extract from the accompanying booklet makes clear: The Millhouse Bill, introduced to the South Australian Parliament in 1980, failed to become law but had it succeeded, prostitution would no longer have been a criminal offence, possibly resulting in the disappearance of the worst aspects of the trade — the harassment, the extortion and the criminal connections. Those involved in the business would be able to claim the protection of the law in the same way as other citizens.37 Implicit in this approach is the conceptualisation of prostitution as work, and the construction of sex workers as entitled to the same rights and protection as other workers. 26 Almost 20 years later, the Liverpool Regional Gallery in Sydney's western suburbs mounted a special exhibition on the local sex industry. Although the economy/sex work model is explicitly stated, here the political content was more muted. In his foreword to the booklet which accompanied the Madam Liverpool exhibition, Con Gouriotis, Director of the Liverpool Regional Museum, explained why the museum had chosen to mount an exhibition which explored the history and presence of the local sex industry: It is a topic that generates strong opinions, but whether we agree or disagree with the issues, the sex industry is part of our society and needs to be acknowledged. Without understanding the complex choices people make in relation to their sexuality, we cannot begin to make decisions on human rights and freedom of choice in our society. Taking an economic rather than a moral standpoint, Madam Liverpool examines the state of the industry in Liverpool six years after the legalisation of brothels in New South Wales. This exhibition will generate vigorous debate about very important concerns in our communities.38 The exhibition recounted the history of Liverpool's brothel industry from its origins during World War II when it drew on the custom of the nearby army base. It also explored the recent legislative changes and their impact on the local sex industry. The exhibition, although taking an 'economic' approach, did not shy away from some of the human aspects of the industry: the effect that performing sex work had on the psyche of workers; the evidence of illegal trafficking in women from Thailand to supply Liverpool brothels; the power dynamics between brothel managers and their employees. 27 Showing throughout April and May 2001, Madam Liverpool attracted thousands of visitors and was certainly as controversial as Con Gouriotis anticipated. Surprisingly, though, most of the opposition came from within the sex industry, who distrusted the curators because the museum was associated with the local council.39 Councillors were also reluctant to co-operate, apparently fearing potential controversy. The visiting public seemed more accepting, with the curators reporting a lot of interest and visitors spending a lot of time viewing the exhibition.40 The public response vindicated the museum's strategy to mount exhibitions on topics of direct relevance to the experience of the local community. 28 National Museums The challenge of how to incorporate the history of prostitution into national museums is different to that of local museums. Is there a national story to be told, and can it be represented through material culture? We would say yes, on both counts. The sense of place that is important in this case is the nation/country/continent of Australia. The story to be told is of how policy makers and administrators attempted to intervene in sexual economies for 'national' reasons, and what this meant for people engaged in the occupation. The debates about the 'damned whores' of the convict years are well known, but nonetheless still worthy of display and discussion. Likewise, the military and the sex industry have a long historical relationship in Australia, from the Contagious Diseases Acts of the nineteenth century through the Cairo brothel riots, to the Vietnam War. These issues could be explored by museums such as the Australian War Memorial without necessarily casting a slur on 'our fighting men'. Managing the inevitably high demand for sexual services so as to preserve the morale and health of the troops has, after all, been an important consideration in both peace and war. Less well known but nonetheless well-documented is the way in which the so-called White Australia Policy was used in the twentieth century to exclude foreign sex workers from Australia.41 29 Engaging the Visual Narrative While the opportunity is clearly there to explore this history in a national context, the transnational nature of the sex industry both in the past and the present makes it an appropriate subject for exhibitions with a broader focus. Sydney recently hosted a special photographic exhibition dealing specifically with the sex industry. Red Light was an exhibition organised by the Australian Centre of Photography in Oxford Street, Paddington, open throughout September 2002. It surveyed imagery of prostitutes and prostitution in a number of countries in the twentieth century and into the present. The exhibition included celebrated works such as Bellocq's Storyville Portraits, Brassai's Secret Paris of the 1930s and Larry Clark's images of hustlers in New York City, alongside contemporary work by established artists, including Tracey Moffatt (Nice Coloured Girls, 1987), Max Pam, Davina Singh from India and Atta Kim from Korea, as well as emerging artists such as Megan Spencer and Lee-Anne Richards. The Australian material included two short films and an installation featuring the bedroom and biographical material relating to sex worker, Tara. Moffatt's 1987 film is well-known, exploring the complex ways in which Aboriginal women negotiated their relationships with white men, often through the men's sexual interest in them. Megan Spencer's recent film, Strange Hungers explores the world of the dominatrix through an interview with Mistress Ursula. 30 Again the approach was consciously informed by a theoretical approach which sees prostitutes as workers. Its advertising material pointed out that 'Red Light takes a humanising rather than a sensationalist approach to its subject'. The Centre's Director, Alasdair Foster, explained that: It's not really an exhibition which seeks to shock through sexual explicitness, it's more about actually who the people are. We've asked Roberta Perkins (author of three books on prostitution and founder of SWOP) to open the show, because one of the points she made in her books, was that prostitutes are differentiated from other people by their occupation, not by anything else. We kind of assume that it's a package and it comes with some demi-monde lifestyle, but in some cases it does, and in some cases it doesn't.42 As part of the exhibition program, sociologist and outspoken advocate for sex workers, Dr Roberta Perkins, gave a well-attended public lecture on contemporary sex work. Tara herself also became part of the installation on the weekends, when she sat in her 'room' on her pink fur-covered couch and chatted with visitors. 31 The response to the exhibition, judging by the comments in the visitors' book, was for the most part very positive. D. Brown, for instance, thanked the organisers 'for a lot of history of sex work, & for bringing it to the "lite" & for including male sex workers, very inclusive'. He/she went on to comment that 'we need more acceptance & understanding. This will only be accomplished by coming into the "lite"'.43 A visitor signing herself 'Mistress Synna' 'enjoyed it, esp Bombay sequence, Tara's Room, & doco's. I liked them because they had context rather than just being a version of cheesecake'. Robert Green found the exhibition 'sad & intriguing — loved the humanist approach'. 'Tara' was particularly popular with visitors, who were fascinated by her motives for revealing her life in this way, and for going into the sex industry. Jennifer described her as 'Very Brave, very bold to let us in on your life story', while an anonymous commentator was pleased 'to see proud workers speaking for themselves'. Visitors were also intrigued by Tara's six-year marriage, and how she managed this relationship as well as a job as a sex worker.44 32 However, a note of unease was evident in some of the comments. One visitor asked 'Is this show about exploiting women?' Another anonymous visitor thought it was a 'fantastic show!!!!', but was disturbed that 'Only again modern day prostitution has been depicted as sleazy, tacky, severe or repression'. 'What about', she asks, 'the sex worker who has travelled the world with her profession, yet saved tons of money, sailed a Sydney to Hobart, dined with Lady Di on her last visit to Australia, was able to become an Australian citizen, competed in ballroom in Parliament House & Sydney Town Hall, & has walked in & out of here without anyone knowing who I am'. Others were more strident in their criticism. Chris Jones found the exhibition highly offensive and simplistic: To suggest sex workers in brothels might be outlaws who control the sexual channel between nature and cultural is to gloss over and glamorize the integrity of the photographer of the image; the photojournalistic integrity embedded in the image and, most importantly, the integrity and humanity of the people in the image. Press coverage of the exhibition was generally positive or neutral. Robert McFarlane reported that 'The life of sex workers comes into sharp focus in this stirring exhibition'.45 Emma Tom, writing in the Weekend Australian, drew a connection between the photographic exhibition and the recent spate of books and plays dealing with the sex industry. She claims that collectively these sex-industry inspired works show that 'pornography has infiltrated the mainstream', and has become something of a fashion statement: 'The bawdy house, it seems, is the new black'.46 Tim Benzie's thoughtful review found the images 'fascinating but troubling', and noted the 'creeping sense of exploitation' suggested by many of the photographs. He wanted to know more: about the relationship between the photographers and their subjects; about the cultural context in which they were created. 'Was the work originally viewed as noble, exploitative, titillating or purely aesthetic?' he asks.47 But regardless of reservations about aspects of the exhibition, the overwhelming response was appreciation that the subject had been tackled in a serious and sensitive way. Noone suggested that it was not an appropriate topic for an exhibition. 33 Conclusion Representing sex work and the sex industry in museums and galleries raises important questions about the relationship of such museums and galleries to the sex industry. Is it possible to represent these subjects without becoming part of the sex industry, or being seen as promoting pornography and prostitution?48 Presumably, the 'pornographer' allegation could be made about any historian who writes on the history of prostitution. Those of us engaged in this activity would argue, of course, that our project is about education, not titillation. However, the history of the sex industry, like any other form of history, is never neutral. Some sex industry entrepreneurs see this only too clearly. As well as her venture into heritage tours and brothel museums, Mary-Anne Kenworthy, the proprietor of Langtrees 181 in Kalgoorlie, has funded research into the history of Hay Street, in the belief that such research will strengthen the case for legalisation.49 34 Like historians, museums have to decide how they deal with the political dimensions of their subject-matter. Commercial pressures will also play their part in encouraging museums to venture into more 'popular' areas in a bid to attract visitors. Sex is always interesting to a large number of people, but the problem will be to strike the balance between sensationalism and sensitivity. 35 In our new century there is also a growing awareness of the use of museums as powerful institutions for shaping our sense of historical memory. The decision of the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University to dedicate two special issues of its journal to the issue of 'the future of museums/museums of the future' is symbolic of this. One contributor argued that contemporary museums 'have been drawn into debates about the past, its representation and ownership' in an unprecedented way. Carol Duncan has similarly drawn an explicit link between museums and citizenship, contending that: What we see and do not see in our most prestigious ... museums — and on what terms and whose authority we do or don't see it — involves the much larger questions of who constitutes the community and who shall exercise the power to define its identity.50 It is here that the issue of representing the history of prostitution becomes most contentious and most crucial. A moralistic approach, based on an understanding of commercial sex as being about sexual deviance and/or immorality inevitably tends to marginalise and exclude this history. We would argue that approaching the issue from the perspective of the history of an occupation allows museums to be inclusive, to recognise that sex workers are citizens too, and that the sex industry has played an important role in our collective past. 36 Extensive Endnotes Omitted for space. * The authors would like to thank the many people who contributed advice and suggestions for this article, especially Bruce Scates, Amanda Bass, and the anonymous referees. Tony Harris contributed valued research assistance. This article is part of a larger project, 'Selling Sex: a History of Female Prostitution in Australia since 1788', funded by an ARC Discovery Grant, 2002–05.
    (Review # 12365)
  • Tehran Other Dated Added: Fri Jan 14 2005 Submitted by: Godrat

    Hi! My name is Godrat and im a 23 year old male taxi driver living in Sweden. I have some opinions about prostitution. I dont know were to begin telling you people how wrong this is. But I am not going to waste my time doing so.

    Just think about this: If your sister, mother or female cousin lived in Iran and they didnt have any means for making a living or any guardian, would you then have been happy to see them being forced into prostitution? Would you have liked to see them being forced to sell their souls every day and every night for a small amount of money only to survive? I think not, please think again. Paying for sex means: That you are a failure as a man, because you cant make ladies sleep with you of freewill. --- I too have the possibility to just buy my way out of loneliness and horniness. But I will never do such a thing. Because I love and respect all Persian ladies, even though they treat me like shit for no reason.(Its in their nature). And because I thing one should always do the right thing and follow the right, straight and hard path. If I am having sex, its not because I have paid for it. Its because I am a smooth player, good looking, etc etc.

    (Review # 10849)
  • Balkans HumanTrafficking Report Dated Added: Sun Dec 19 2004 Submitted by: Helping The Hobbyist Community

    18/12/2004 - Human rights reports
    Trafficking of women: the Balkan Red Road
    A special investigation realized by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting in 2003.

    Tens of thousands of Eastern European women are falling victim to the Balkan sex trade.
    Marcu scratches his unshaven face and stares intently out of the window at the queue of battered tankers, trucks and cars beyond. He's nervous, tired and desperate. Sitting in a small café on the Greek-Bulgarian border, he hesitates over his coffee before asking us a favour, a big favour.

    "Look, I know you're Romanians. May I ask you to take these two girls in your car and drive them over to Greece?" he said, pointing to a car outside where a couple of young girls are sitting in the back seat. He's figured out where we're from by the plates on our vehicle.

    "They're from Brasov [a town in central Romania] and need to get to Thessaloniki [northern Greece]. I'll pay you good money. Their papers are OK," he added enthusiastically.

    Marcu tells us he is trying to make a living by trafficking the two girls. "I'll find them good positions in a club in Thessaloniki. I have an address and I'll get good money from this. You know how hard it is to make a living nowadays. The girls are poor too, they're sisters and their parents are drunkards," he said.

    "Greece is a much better future for them. I arrived here with them by bus but now I'm afraid to cross the border together with them because I heard the Greek custom officers are very suspicious and can stop us from entering."

    Leaning over the table, Marcu began to look worried, "Please help me, take the two girls in your car and then we'll meet on the other side and you'll get some easy money."

    "Why don't you just take a cab across?" we asked.

    "No, I don't want to hire a cab because these guys are crooks, they can rob me," he snapped back.

    Marcu was getting edgy and wanted us to do a deal to take the girls across and quickly. Leaving the coffee shop, he followed, shuffling along to our car. We were about to talk to him further when, nervously examining our distinctive Romanian Dacia, he noticed we had made a mistake. On the back seat were our cameras and equipment: our cover was well and truly blown.

    He didn't look back as he sprinted away down the road, getting into his car and disappearing round a bend into Bulgaria. He will no doubt be back to try another day.

    Marcu is one of the hundreds of traffickers working across this and many other borders in the Balkans, smuggling not guns, drugs or stolen cars but women.

    HOW THE TRADE WORKS
    In November 2002, an the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, OSCE, conference on the trafficking of human beings estimated that some 200,000 women in the Balkans had fallen victim to a smuggling network that extends across the region into the European Union.

    According to the latest figures from International Organisation for Migration, IOM, the four biggest exporters of girls to Western Europe are Moldova, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.

    Romania is the nexus of the trade for two reasons: its geographic location makes it a good transit country and the presence of large numbers of impoverished women desperate to make money provide a ready source of trafficking victims.

    Two main smuggling routes begin here: one going north into Hungary, southwest through the former Yugoslavia to Albania and then across the Adriatic by speedboat to Italy; the other runs directly south, through Bulgaria to Greece.

    With the first route, girls are taken to Romanian cities such as Bucharest and Timisoara, near the Serbian border. Many are then sold to Serbian gangs who move them south, putting them to work as prostitutes in Belgrade or selling them to criminal groups in Bosnia, Kosovo or Montenegro. Some will be smuggled into Albania, and then on to Italy and other European countries.

    The second route runs from Romania directly south through Bulgaria to Greece. In Bulgaria, some of the girls are sold to gangs who smuggle them into Macedonia, then Albania and on to Italy.

    The trade is a coalition of interests that crosses ethnic divides. Well-organised groups, familiar to each other from drugs or gun deals, trade across frontiers, as do lone traffickers.

    War has made the Balkans a traffickers dream. Their illicit trade has been able to flourish as a result of the chaos of the last decade, which has weakened border controls and fractured and impoverished communities that were once held together by rigid moral codes.

    Throughout the Balkans, checkpoints are badly policed by often corrupt officials, well used to taking bribes as guns and drugs moved through the region during the wars. Forged or stolen passports are easily available and visa regulations are flouted.

    The wars have has also created a market for girls inside the Balkans. The influx of cash from the international community policing the peace in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia has swelled the trade in prostitution. One United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, source told IWPR in August that the market is now so developed that many of the girls smuggled into the protectorate now willingly work as prostitutes. Their profits are good, their pimps are treating them decently and, they say, it's " better than returning to Moldova", the source said.

    Of the 826 girls helped by IOM's projects in the region from May 2001 to December 2002, 590 - 77 per cent - were reportedly destined for either Kosovo, Bosnia or Montenegro.

    There are several methods of recruiting girls. One is through newspaper advertisements promising menial jobs such as waitressing in Western Europe. Others are attracted by promises of marriage to EU nationals.

    After luring the girls, the traffickers seize their passports, then take them to major regional sex trade centres, where they are forced to work as prostitutes.

    Some escape from their captors. We met several girls who had managed to flee. But a number of those who do are often recaptured by the traffickers or are hounded by them when they seek refuge in women’s' shelters.

    In a major investigation, involving IWPR reporters in eight Balkan countries, we set out to explore this massive trade in people across the region. Our teams followed the trafficking routes, going from Romania, south into Bulgaria and Greece, across to Albania and then north through former Yugoslavia.

    We visited clubs, bars, hotels and brothels, speaking with the traffickers, the pimps, the authorities and the girls themselves, to build up a picture of how this cross-border network of criminal gangs smuggling women operates.

    TRAFFICKING FOR THE OLYMPICS
    At the Kulata border crossing between Greece and Bulgaria, dozens of taxis line up on the Bulgarian side of the frontier. According to a Bulgarian police source, some of the vehicles are waiting to ferry Greek traffickers to two local towns, Sandanski and Petrich, which have become regional sex trade centres - market places for girls from all over the Balkans and the former Soviet Union who are bought and sold with impunity. Some are destined to be smuggled to Italy and other EU countries, but the majority are purchased by nightclub owners from northern Greece.

    In a bitter twist of irony, Sandanski is also well known for being the birthplace of the world's most renowned slave, Spartacus. But today's young slaves are not likely to rebel against their captors. They're too weak, too far away from home and become involved in a highly organised criminal trade that leaves them little opportunity to escape.

    Greek police sources have told IWPR that the transfer of the women from Bulgaria to Greece is well established, controlled by a tight-knit group of criminals. The officers say that a man well known to them in Sandanski controls the whole enterprise - including the taxi firms used by traffickers to smuggle girls over the border - and is either tolerated or actively protected by Bulgarian law enforcers.

    In April, our team of journalists, posing as potential clients, questioned taxi drivers in both Sandanski and Petrich about buying women in the area. Initially reticent, the drivers soon began talking, saying they could put us in touch with people who could "solve our problem".

    The prices charged for the girls depend on their age and experience. On average, they are sold for between 2,500 and 3,000 euro. "If the girl is fresh, very young and not used, the price is higher," one trafficker told us.

    The cost and number of women being smuggled into Greece is expected to rise during next year's Olympics in Athens, with traffickers apparently calculating that the prostitution business will be brisk.

    The traffickers are highly organised. They go to great lengths to check out the identity of clients in order to avoid police traps; possess high-tech instruments such as communication encryption software that prevents police tracking their mobile phones; and even run illegal TV stations broadcasting porn and advertising brothels.

    THE ALBANIAN MAFIA
    On the outskirts of a desperately poor Albanian village, where donkeys stacked high with fire wood crawled along potholed streets, we witnessed the bizarre sight of gleaming Audis, Mercedes and even the odd Lamborghini cruising past.

    In this impoverished country, this sort of conspicuous wealth is associated with organised crime, which has filled the vacuum left by the communists and spread its tentacles throughout Europe. In June, the World Markets Research Centre said in a report that Albanian mafia groups have established a reputation in continental Europe as being amongst the most efficient drugs pushers and people smugglers on the continent.

    Over the past five years, successive Albanian interior ministers, and two chief prosecutors, have admitted that Albania is a transit country for prostitutes on their way to Western Europe and that significant numbers of Albanian girls were being coerced into the trade.

    In this strongly conservative society, prostitution is beyond the pale, but trafficking girls across to Italy and other EU countries is not.

    The IOM's 2001 Victims of Trafficking in the Balkans report notes that the smuggling of girls through Albania "is primarily orientated" to the EU through its Adriatic ports of Vlore and Durres.

    Once in Italy, the girls continue to run considerable risks. The Italian ministry of interior reported in 2001 that 168 foreign prostitutes had been murdered, mainly by their pimps. The majority of the former were either Albanian or Nigerian.

    The trafficking of Albanian girls into Italy has become so bad that it prompted a change in Italian legislation in 1998. Article 18 of the Aliens Law provided for a care programme - run by over 200 NGOs with the Italian ministry for equal opportunities - for those brought into the country for sexual exploitation. Figures from the programme from March to December 2000 show that 20 per cent of the girls that were helped came from Albania.

    In the central Albanian town of Fier, three little metal huts with a few ancient bunk beds and some desks provide shelter for girls that have managed to escape the clutches of the traffickers.

    The facility was established by Colonel Xhavit Shala, a former senior police official and presently serving in the statistics and analysis office in the interior ministry. He raised 18,000 US dollars from local businesses to fund the project when the government refused to help.

    Shala has held talks with local leaders, teachers, business people and residents to explain how the trafficking trade is wrecking village life in the country.

    Speaking to IWPR, he was adamant that if trafficking through and from Albania is to be tackled and locally trafficked girls are to be reintegrated back into society then it will require a massive change of heart, particularly from the girls' families.

    "Albanians need to learn to treat these women as victims and not prostitutes. We tell families that it is not only their daughters' responsibility for falling into prostitution but their own," he said.
    "Statistic's show that their daughters were deceived into becoming prostitutes. We ask them why their families permitted them to be deceived."

    Such is the fear of falling victim to trafficking that many girls are refusing to go to school. Save the Children reported in 2001 that "in remote areas, where pupils may have to walk for over an hour to get to school, research has discovered that as many as 90 per cent of girls no longer receive a high school education". One of the main factors was parents' concern that their children would be abducted on the way to class.

    People smuggling has become so endemic in Albania that even the police are implicated. During the first five months of 2002, 102 officers were identified as being involved in the trade following a major police crackdown that was prompted by international pressure to stem the tide of girls reaching Europe. Sixteen of the suspects have been jailed, 12 transferred to other jobs and 15 given minor punishments, according to the Albanian interior ministry.

    The extent of human trafficking from Albania is revealed in a secret internal government report seen by IWPR. According to the document, more than 100,000 Albanians were smuggled out of the country between 1993-2001. How many have ended up as prostitutes across Europe is hard to establish. But evidence from the streets tells its own story. According to IOM's 2001 survey, the majority of prostitutes in London's Soho area are either from Albania or Kosovo.

    MACEDONIA'S POROUS BORDERS
    We made our way north through Macedonia to Kumanovo along the picturesque roads that climb high into Sharplanina mountains. Amid the town's busy streets, we came across a jeweller whose trade seemed to be thriving. "So many women pass through Kumanovo, so my business is safe," said the owner of the shop in the centre of town. "I sell so many rings for women from Ukraine, Romania and Albania. Sometimes I sell the jewelry to the man who is in charge of them. He needs to have beautiful women so that he can do his business."

    If Romania is often the beginning of the trafficking journey and Albania the end, one country, Macedonia, plays the role of a key mid point. It has more shared borders than any other former Yugoslav republic and its mountainous, poorly patrolled borders are ideal for traffickers. According to Kosovan law enforcement sources, the country's frontier with the protectorate is probably the most porous in Europe.

    Sitting on a plastic chair in the baggy sports clothes provided by the centre that rescued her, Julijana Sherban talks to the floor, red rimmed eyes peering out from behind her long, dark hair.

    The 21-year-old Romanian girl doesn't want to say much. After what she's been through, it's no surprise. But Julijana is lucky, she is one of the few in Macedonia to have escaped the clutches of her pimp and testified against him in court, having been placed on a witness protection programme. Surrounded by other girls in the shelter in Skopje, she begins to tell her story.

    Her case reveals the enormous trade in women that runs through the town of Tetevo and Valesta and Struga further south.

    Her pimp, Dilaver Bojku Leku, was convicted of soliciting in a court in Struga in March and received a six-month jail sentence. Leku is thought to have controlled the biggest prostitution ring in Macedonia, running 10 bars in the region, recruiting Moldovan, Romanian and Ukrainian girls who had been sold on by several gangs on the route from Romania through Serbia.

    "I was told that I would work in Greece, but I didn't expect they would sell me. I was sold in Serbia a dozen times. I arrived in Macedonia in 2001, in Velesta, where I stayed for five months working in Leku's bar, Expresso," Julijana told IWPR.

    In a public relations disaster for the Macedonian government, Leku escaped on June 20 and fled to Montenegro where he was eventually caught and extradited on July 4. He is currently awaiting a retrial along with four others.

    The case has attracted the attention of the international community eager to see the south Balkans crack down on organised crime and stop the flow of girls into the EU. Lawrence Butler, the US ambassador to Macedonia, expressed serious misgivings about the country's sentencing in prostitution cases earlier on this year. "The failure to [impose long jail terms] opens new questions such as: are you afraid? Are you corrupt or incompetent?" he said at the annual launch of the State Department's report on human trafficking.

    SERVICING THE INTERNATIONALS
    One by one, the three girls start clapping their hands, begging for applause and money after stripping naked in front of us. Welcome to The Dancer - a dingy, basement strip joint in downtown Pristina.

    In the corner, a short, skinny woman bellows hoarsely at them to make more of an effort to attract our attention.

    The night has just begun and we're the only clients in the bar. After a while the fearsome looking madam comes to our table and asks us if we are enjoying the striptease. Noticing our disapproving looks, she tells us that she knows we're not here for the dance but for what she called "some fun with the girls".

    "It's 50 euro for one hour. It's safe. Nobody will enter the bar unannounced. The local police won't make any problems," added the woman who introduces herself as Iana.

    Security is clearly an issue at The Dancer. The underground bar is like a small fortress - no windows and reinforced doors. Near the entrance, hidden behind some breeze blocks, sits a young boy who sells chewing gum and vets customers as they come in.

    "Didn't you like the girls? Maybe this time they're not that good," he said as we left the club." Frankly, I don't like them very much, either. Will you come here some other time? We will have fresh girls soon. They're on their way from Ukraine."

    There are numerous such brothels and strip joints in Kosovo. The region is one of the main destinations for the traffickers. But the girls aren't looking to entice locals - they're here for the "internationals".

    The Kosovan economy is largely dependent on the presence of international officials and troops in the protectorate. In towns like Pristina and Prizren, western-style shops, restaurants and pubs have sprung up all over town to cater for the tastes and pockets of the thousands of well-paid foreigners.

    Many ordinary Kosovans have been sucked into the local prostitution racket, which the traffickers view as one of the most profitable in Europe.

    "The majority of people here earn their money from trafficking in drugs or women. They know the routes very well, they know the mined zones and they go through areas where KFOR never goes," a senior officer in the Kosovo Protection Force, KFOR, told IWPR.

    "KFOR is not intervening because they don't want to risk a conflict and they're not interested. Not long ago a rocket was launched against a UN checkpoint. The KFOR guys are not from this area so they don't really care about what's going on."

    POLICE SHORTCOMINGS AND CORRUPTION
    The KFOR source said the local Kosovan police are incapable of dealing with the problem, claiming that some officers are running human trafficking operations.

    " I don't know if we can call them police. The locals become officers after attending a three-month course in law enforcement. Afterwards, they're only interested in boosting their salaries and showing off the uniforms, guns and cars that the international community provided them," he said.

    Elsewhere in the Balkans, the policing problem is just as acute as in Kosovo. In Bosnia, efforts to curb organised crime gangs and traffickers have been undermined by premature changes to the international policing effort in the country, critics of the authorities believe.

    In January this year, the UN's International Police Task force, IPTF, was replaced by an EU-led police mission, EUPM.

    One thousand six hundred IPTF police were posted in some 200 locations throughout the country to train, equip and monitor local officers. Latest figures from August 2003 show that EUPM's presence is less conspicuous, with only 480 members currently deployed around the country.

    Before the scale down in January, the IPTF coordinator for the Special Trafficking Operations programme, John O'Reilly warned that trafficking gangs were stepping up their activities, "The criminals are already bringing in new girls. Of all the bars we closed, there's a number of them actually being renovated."

    Speaking with IWPR, O'Reilly was doubtful whether the EU force would be up to the job of handling the scale of the human trafficking problem.

    "In my humble opinion it won't work. You've got the will but there is a lot of corruption and a lot of people in important places don't want this to work," he said.

    The situation is similar in neighbouring Montenegro where a recent human trafficking scandal involving a leading official has seriously embarrassed the government.

    In July, an OSCE commission was invited to investigate the alleged involvement of the Montenegrin deputy state prosecutor Zoran Piperovic and three other officials in people smuggling.

    Piperovic was arrested along with three others in November last year on suspicion of involvement in human trafficking following revelations by a Moldovan woman who escaped from a Montenegrin trafficking gang to a refuge. She claimed that Piperovic had been involved in her incarceration, during which time she was drugged and raped.

    Piperovic and the three other men deny the charges.

    Controversially, the Montenegrin senior state prosecutor, Zoran Radonjic, ruled in May that there were insufficient grounds for a prosecution, sparking a major public outcry that prompted the authorities to invited the OSCE to pass judgment on the case.

    OSCE mission chief to Serbia and Montenegro Maurizio Massari said in July that the Piperovic case "raised the issue of the ability of the Montenegrin legal system to cope with the complexity of cases related to human trafficking".

    INTO THE MINEFILEDS
    Leaving Pristina, we traveled first to Prizren in southern Kosovo and then on to Qafa i Prushit on the Kosovo-Albanian border. According to out KFOR source, Qafa i Prushit is a people- and drugs-trafficking hot spot. The route to the border point goes through villages where the signs of the last war, the continuing tensions and new wealth are all too apparent.

    Close to the border, in front of the newly built two-storey houses, sit freshly polished Mercedes. Almost all bear Swiss plates. "Lots of the cars belong to the Kosovars. Many of them moved to Switzerland during the conflict and now they come back here to do their business, mainly in the field of organised crime," our KFOR source told us.

    A few kilometres away from Qafa i Prushit lie the minefields. A dusty road cuts through the deadly terrain. On either side, yellow triangles with the inscription "minas, minas" and giant concrete structures, called "dragons teeth", which were put up by the Serb forces to stop the movement of NATO tanks.

    Qafa i Prushit's UN checkpoint, guarded by only a few officers, is perched up on hills dominating the area. The post's surveillance activities are assisted by UN mobile patrols that put up roadblocks and search suspect cars in the valley below. Girls here are being moved in both directions. According to the IOM, the majority are going to Albania and then on to Italy, but others are moving into Kosovo and the buoyant Pristina market place.

    Despite the UN efforts at Qafa i Prushit, the trafficking continues to grow partly because the international and local police will not risk their lives by leaving the safety of the road to go into the minefields.

    To the northeast lies another unguarded border that is regularly used by traffickers between Kosovo and Montenegro. The crossing point goes through mountains that soar as high as 2,600 metres. As in other parts of the Balkans, this geography helps those trafficking people and makes tracking them extremely difficult.

    And the multinational nature of the traffic also makes the task of stopping the flood of people particularly hard.

    "There is no linguistic, religious or any other problem among the criminals," Jacques Klein, the outgoing head of the UN Mission in Bosnia told IWPR shortly before he stepped down in December 2002. "They have no dilemma dealing with each other - it's a very sophisticated crime structure."

    By working together, Balkan criminals of different ethnicity create a secure trafficking network through which profits and girls can be controlled. But some do manage to escape.

    GIRLS FLEE CAPTORS
    Not all the girls we met on our travels were controlled by pimps. In Bucharest, we came across several who were working alone, having fled their captors. And in Belgrade, we met with girls who continued to work in the city, after escaping from Serbian traffickers

    Vera is one such girl. Her modest downtown flat is basic, but clean. On the bed lies a packet of condoms, in the corner a closet. Nothing else. She has no pimp, no ties. The 22-year-old takes great pride in telling us how she, and her housemate, got here.

    "In March, I finally managed to run from the traffickers who held me in a house in Novi Sad [a town north of Belgrade] after they had disappeared with our passports," she said. " I now have my own business. I place my ads in the newspapers and I publish my mobile phone number. We are working for ourselves."

    Their relief was palpable, but they remain extremely wary. Neither would say where they had come from or where the traffickers were taking them.

    "The traffickers sold us, abused us and kept us locked up. Now we only have to take care who our clients are," continued Vera. " We tell them it is the wrong number if they ask us in Serbian. We have only foreign clients. Of course, the money would be better if we'd take Serbians too but we are afraid they might be traffickers that try to take us back."

    Recent clamp downs on organised crime following the murder of prime minister Zoran Djindic in March is likely to have had some effect on the gang operations in Serbia.

    One result of police action against prostitution has been to spread the problem beyond central Belgrade. The 2002 OSCE report on human trafficking in the region noted that "due to control and raids by the police, the number of bars has decreased and part of the trafficking business has moved from the centre into the suburbs and less obvious locations".

    In much of the Balkans, substantial amounts of international funds have been directed at curbing trafficking, but Serbia has not fared as well in this regard.

    Nonetheless, NGO pressure here has kept the issue of trafficking on the political agenda. In July 2001, the interior ministry allocated space for a shelter for trafficked women and legislative changes increased penalties for traffickers.

    A REGIONAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING STRATEGY
    From Serbia, we traveled back to where we began, Romania. There we paid a visit to Iana Matei, the director of the Reaching Out project, which provides a refuge for girls who've managed to escape the clutches of the traffickers. So far, Matei and his colleagues have managed to build a few apartments for the girls in the town of Pitesti - 100 km north of Bucharest - home to the massive, belching Dacia car plant.

    In this unappealing town many of the girls have found some respite. But the exact location of the shelter has to be kept secret for fear that traffickers will hunt the girls down.

    It's here that we met up again with Diana. Back in January, IWPR reported on an undercover investigation into Romanian smugglers, in which our reporters bought her from a Bucharest pimp for 400 US dollars. Just like Marcu, we could have taken Diana down to the prostitution centres in the Balkans or sold her on to Serbian gangs in Timisoara.

    Then, she was cold, terrified, almost naked and starving. She had spent the previous New Years Eve in Bucharest, chained to a dog cage.

    But now, with the shelter's help, she is making progress back to a relatively normal life. She is sharing a flat with some other girls, learning how to look after herself and how to live without fear.

    It will be a long road for Diana. The mental scars of years of physical and sexual abuse by pimps and clients have taken their toll.

    Analysts agree that human trafficking through the Balkans is a major international problem that will require a coordinated response from regional and Western European governments and their respective law enforcement agencies.

    To this end, the EU set up a group of 20 independent experts in March to recommend further actions on coordinating the fight against trafficking. The panel is just one of several moves coming from last year's EU conference on combating the crime.

    The conference recommended further coordination between EU member states on legislation and policing, urging greater harmonisation of national laws, so that traffickers face the same penalties in whichever member state they are caught. Brussels has made funding available under the AGIS programme for police and judicial cooperation across the EU to tackle the problem.

    Julie Bindel, a member of the EU panel and a researcher with the child and women abuse unit at the University of North London, says that although Brussels is looking hard into the issue, progress is slow, and concentrating on tightening and coordinating EU law on the issue is not enough.

    "The problem starts mainly in the Balkans and the EU needs to be doing more in the region. What legislative and funding changes there have been are pretty piecemeal, and are only aimed at tackling things at one end of the chain," she said.

    "For example, the UK foreign office has provided some funds to compile a database of all NGOs working on the human trafficking issue, and money has been made available to tackle child prostitution but its still the case that there are less than 20 officers based at Charing Cross police station who deal specifically with human trafficking and this is for the whole of London."

    As Balkans countries begin to eye up EU accession, many will have to do more to tackle the traffickers if they are to stand a chance of ever gaining entry. The Treaty of the European Union explicitly refers to trafficking of human beings and demands that members comply with overall standards of policing and legislation on the issue. Right now, few Balkan countries are even close to this.

    But there are signs that a regional approach to the problem is beginning to take shape. In September 2002, the Romanian based Southeast European Cooperative Initiative Centre for Combating Trans-Border Crime, SECI, launched the first regional anti-human trafficking operation. Code-named MIRAGE, the initiative brought together police forces from ten countries including Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Macedonia, Greece and the UN Mission in Kosovo.

    By January 2003, SECI concluded in its report on the operation that 237 victims of trafficking and 293 traffickers had been arrested after over 20,000 raids on nightclubs, discos, restaurants and border crossing points in the Balkans.

    But while MIRAGE was a relative success, it did expose corrupt practices among many Balkans police forces that go someway to underpinning the trade. Indeed, numerous investigations during MIRAGE pointed to policemen being involved in trafficking. It's a sobering assessment - and one that underlines the difficulties governments face in tackling this terrible scourge.

    This report was coordinated by Paul Radu in Romania and compiled by David Quin, IWPR's assistant investigations editor in London. The following contributed to the research: Stefan Candea and Sorin Ozon in Romania, Julie Harbin and Nidzara Ahmetasevic in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Gazmend Kapllani in Greece, Milorad Ivanovic in Serbia, Kaca Krsmanovic and Boris Darmanovic in Montenegro, Zylyftar Bregu in Albania, Zoran Jachev and Zaklina Gjorgjevic in Macedonia.
    IWPR Balkan, 25 sep 2003
    (Review # 10616)
 

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