NYT: The Monsters are the Men

“‘The Monsters Are the Men’: Inside a Thriving Sex Trafficking Trade in Florida” (NYT, yesterday):

First, a health inspector spotted several suitcases. Then she noticed an unusual stash of clothing, food and bedding. A young woman who was supposed to be a massage therapist spoke little English and seemed unusually nervous.

The inspector reported her findings to police. They would eventually learn that her suspicions were right: The women were not just employees: They were living in the day spa, sleeping on massage tables and cooking meals on hot plates in the back. Some of them had had their passports confiscated.

Beyond the lurid celebrity connection, however, lies the wretched story of women who police believe were brought from China under false promises of new lives and legitimate spa jobs. Instead, they found themselves trapped in the austere back rooms of strip-mall brothels — trafficking victims trapped among South Florida’s rich and famous.

“I would never consider them prostitutes — it was really a rescue operation,” the sheriff said, training his anger at the men whose demand for sex kept the massage parlors in business. “The monsters are the men,” he added.

So the male customers are “monsters”. What about the folks who actually managed the “human trafficking”? It turns out that they were neither male nor monsters:

Sheriff Snyder said investigators, who worked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, estimated the trafficking ring to be a $20 million international operation. Men paid between $100 and $200 for sex, the sheriff said; between $2 million and $3 million have been seized in Florida, he said, including a safe stuffed with Rolex watches.

In addition to arresting men ranging in age from their 30s to at least one in his 80s, police charged several women who appeared to be overseeing the operation with racketeering, money laundering and prostitution.

What is the root of the problem?

State Attorney Dave Aronberg of Palm Beach County, whose office leads a human trafficking task force with the F.B.I., said trafficking foreigners to work in places like massage parlors can be more difficult to root out than trafficking, for example, American girls who are recruited in person or online.

So the Times would suggest that we vote for politicians who promise to make it more difficult for people to get into the U.S. (e.g., with a wall along the southern border and restrictions on via tourist and work visas for folks who arrive by air)?

[Note that immigrants in the commercial sex industry are referred to by the Times as “prostitutes,” but when American women work in this industry they are “sex workers” (example).]

Also fun from the front page today: “The Power of a $15 Minimum Wage: Research has found that a living wage is an antidepressant, a sleep aid and a stress reliever. And that’s not all.” (full article) But how is $15/hour a “living wage”? A full-time worker would need to earn closer to $45/hour to be over the income limit for subsidized public housing in NYC (family of 4) and maybe $50/hour to pay for Obamacare insurance without a taxpayer subsidy. The article opens with a young immigrant from Guatemala who has earned permanent residency (Green Card), but whose skills are insufficient to command more than minimum wage. What will happen to him when he is older and less productive and it is illegal for anyone to hire him at less than $20 or $25/hour (or whatever the minimum wage is then)? The photo shows that he is well on his way to obesity and type 2 diabetes. SSDI?


Posted in Sex

9 thoughts on “NYT: The Monsters are the Men

  1. We can fix a lot of this stuff by making it a felony crime to employ illegal immigrants. So then a huge number of employers will have to find new workers and a new lines of business or go to jail. And then we can also make it OK for any government state or federal law enforcement workers to ask for a person’s work cards and related immigration papers. Then city health and code inspectors and beat cops can call ICE and turn in the illegals. And only valid workers can work and collect welfare as needed. Then we can actually control how many immigrants we let into the country instead of this crazy current mess. And immigrant workers can live with 3-6 people sharing a apartment so no free rent long term. Maybe they can draw food stamps and a free phone to start and some housing for a few months. But like unemployment, not long term.

    So in the case above these women will get deported almost immediately due to being illegal workers doing massages. And the bosses will be arrested for hiring illegals quickly. So no need to do all this sex worker sleuth stuff….

  2. Those men who patronized the establishment should be given a medal not pilloried because it was their hearty appetites and thick wallets that enabled these poor women to come to America and no doubt continue practicing the trade they had learned back home — and be paid properly. I like the comment of the witless police man that they didn’t know what they were coming over for. Convenient for them to take that position now — having taken a different position before they were exposed.

  3. So it’s ok that essentially every adult male has watched professional sex workers perform on websites, but if a man pays a sex worker for the same performance in a private massage booth he’s monster? What a country!

  4. Those Rolexes in the safe were obviously involved in money-laundering. Guess they planned to buy the Rolexes and then sell them for a slight loss.

    Doesn’t Rolex or eBay sellers have to report transactions above $10,000 to the authorities by filing IRS Form 8300 (Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business) ? How come they weren’t caught this way?

  5. Is nobody aghast by the police tactics employed? Men were stopped for “traffic violations” after leaving the spa. Boy, they sure seemed to find those traffic violations pretty easy. Translation: they were stopped on bogus charges. Then the men were “interviewed” and they all willingly offered to tell their whole story. Translation: the men were threatened with arrest on bogus charges unless they “cooperated”. Then police put video cameras in a place where there is a strong presumption of privacy. Let’s say you went there and got a legit massage… would you not be offended by being surveilled by police? I’m not dismissing human trafficking (assuming there was some in this case), but what a police state.

  6. Dumb question ;

    Wouldn’t the best long term scam for these women be to get knocked up by their wealthier clients and then demand child support?

    The pimp as social justice warrior, taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

    Also, why is it we so rarely read about women and gigolos?

  7. “continue practicing the trade they had learned back home” – Jack you’re ill informed and definitely dismissing human trafficking.

  8. Q: what do these have in common?

    13th century: transubstantiation
    17th century: witchcraft
    21st century: human trafficking

    A: they’re all religious terms in which something banal is imbued with powerful significance.

    A great example is in Suzanne’s mashable link. The flight attendant asks (cue sinister music) “Do they appear fearful, anxious, tense, depressed, nervous, submissive?” If they’re the unhappy self-loading freight crammed into economy class, the chance of that is approximately 100%!

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