Friday, December 08, 2006

Metro Atlanta's Sex Industry (Finally) Under Assault

Quote du jour: “We are cutting this cancer out today.” Clayton Sheriff Victor Hill, in the AJC.

Clayton County law enforcement is kicking ass and taking names, and closing all massage parlors in that metro Atlanta county. They have reason to believe that the women working in the massage parlors are likely being trafficked here for purposes of prostitution, which is illegal in Georgia, something Atlanta's out of control sex industry seems to have conveniently forgotten. This is good news, and thank you Clayton County sheriffs for getting serious about sex crime and sex trafficking in this (metro area) town.

Let's hope the trafficked women will be safe, freed and provided for now. Atlanta has been growing a strong anti-trafficking community over the last couple of years, thanks in part to funds from the Bush Administration (they can't possibly screw-up everything can they?) and coalition building folks like Erik Voss and his group, Rescue and Restore Atlanta, a broad coalition of law enforcement, church groups, social services, city and county governments, and concerned citizens.

I hope we will read more about these trafficked women in the press now, and hear their horrid stories of being imprisoned as slaves in these unthinkable places, and elsewhere, so popular in this town. That is the only way we, the citizens, will pressure the powers that be to do something about our modern day slave trading in women and children.

UPDATE: A judge throws out some of the cases. Go figure, and stay tuned!


Amber said...

THe other side, of course, is (for example).

Grayson said...

I just watched one of the raids in Clayton go down on Channel 2. Mark Winne, an excellent crime reporter, was on the scene. Didn't look like no fancy strip club with gorgeous lighting and champagne flowing. The place shown in the raid was a total dump, looking like a perfect setting for sex-trafficking victims to be held. The other side, in trafficking cases, is only pure evil.

Catherine_Cat said...

There’s an international sex workers’ rights movement which campaigns for human rights for all sex workers, from PONY and COYOTE in the States, ICRSE in Europe, Empower in Thailand, the IUSW in the UK, Ziteng in Hong Kong, Les Putes in France, Daspu in Brazil, the Sonagachi Project in India. We are not, as your favoured sheriff says “a cancer.” We are not victims. We are part of your community, and we want to be treated as such. Although some men, women and children are trafficked into the sex industry (and into domestic service, agricultural labour, hotel and catering and industrial work) the cartoonish depiction of all migrant sex workers as trafficked sex slaves is used as a way to repress all of us while “rescuing” almost no-one. Language like yours effectively dehumanises us and legitimises the violence and abuse many sex workers endure. Decriminalisation and human rights are the only way to stop these abuses.

Grayson said...

Cat hon, you are so right. You can't go around rescuing people who don't want to be rescued! (Reminds me, fondly, of the great Flip Wilson "Chris Columbus" sketch: "You'd better discover your ass on outta here. Cain't discover nobody they don't wanna be discovered." Will now have to go search YouTube for that one.... but I diverge. Imagine that.) No one in Atlanta law enforcement, etc. is the slightest bit interested in wasting that kinda time nor money.

But there is reason to believe there are real victims in these Clayton County massage parlors, women and girls who might not feel that prostitution is a great career choice. Young women who were brought here under false pretense... that sorta scum-like illegal activity, ya know.

So, if you are of legal age and chose to whore yourself, wherever it is legal, have a great job in the booming sex industry, then hey... have at it. It's a (kinda) free country.

In the meantime, language of help and support, "rescue" if you will, is mine to use and wield as I see the apppropriate time and place.

Happy Trails to you.

Amber said...

What Cat said.

Too often, people who operate under the guise of good intentions - and might sincerely BELIEVE they have good intentions - end up making things exponentially worse for the very real women in the sex industry.

I hope everyone will remember that Dec. 17th is the 4th annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

Amber said...

So, if you are of legal age and chose to whore yourself, wherever it is legal, have a great job in the booming sex industry, then hey... have at it. It's a (kinda) free country.

Except shutting down massage parlors wholesale puts the women who WANT to be there out on their asses. Baby with the bathwater, that whole thing.

Never mind all the problems associated w/ prostitution in particular being illegal in the first place.

I'm suspicious of this whole thing. Seems like a convenient way for "proper" folks to get rid of the 'filth' in their community, under the guise of humanitarianism.

And I have a big blog post about THAT brewing, whenever I have time to write it. Let's no kid ourselves into thinking a whole lotta this shit isn't tied directly to class.

Grayson said...

At what point can we not cue the violins over the sex industry? They'll have to freelance I suppose. Beats workin' for the Man!

Amber said...

Well, I've had THAT whole discussion too many times. See Renegade Evolution's blog (linked in first comment) for more.

I prefer to listen to real, actual sex workers rather than tell them what they should and shouldn't do.

Amber said...

You and your readers might also be interested in this article, via the Sex Workers Outreach Project.