the women don't go, they find some marginal employment elsewhere, their lives are still screwed up from being effed over by these criminals, and they struggle to put all of the pieces of their lives back together. We won't read about this scenario, we'll just assume that this is what happens when/if they decide not to go.
So it's not that they're literally slaves, just exploited and naive young women.
And I'd rather have them be a little creeped out and saved from a horrible fate. Not out of line.
And yet, there is still a bright line between that and being stuck in a sex trafficking situation.
Maybe you, and a lot of other people here, should step back and ask yourself why it's such a problem for you that someone wants to actually verify a specific part of the story.
He's going to go to Brooklyn, and walk down the street past buildings, including the one mentioned in the thread. There is nothing inherently dangerous about this plan, beyond the normal dangers, such as being hit by a car.
He won't find anything the various law enforcement agencies don't already know, and even if there was a giant neon sign out front saying "horrible people inside!" that information couldn't be transmitted to the two women that would need to see it.
Bingo’s not talking about walking down a random street in Brighton Beach-he’s talking about surreptitiously casing a place that may or may not be owned by the mafia.
And yet, even with a benefit of a doubt that it's "legit", somebody paid the $3K for them to come here, and will no doubt want their money paid back somehow.
Meanwhile, I'm at home recovering and prepping for a job interview tomorrow at 9am and trying to figure out how we'll feed two extra people!
Posing as employment and travel agencies, criminal gangs promise women jobs as waitresses and barmaids overseas, but then treat them as slaves, forcing them to work as prostitutes to pay off thousand-dollar debts for their travel. Victims, typically aged between 16 and 35, are often raped and beaten, have their passports confiscated and are threatened with harm to themselves and their families if they try to break their "contracts" or seek help. (Christina Ling, "Rights Activists Rap Ex-Soviet States on Sex-Trade" Reuters, 6 November 1997)
But I just re-read the thread and still couldn't understand this last bit - how did the girls finally put two and two together? They went from "hey fake leave us alone" to "thanks for saving our lives" really fast. Did somebody show them the links to the club? Did they drive to the place before meeting up at PA?
And it would be one thing to say "It didn't look like a brothel to me," although Bingo has given no sense of expertise as to what a brothel might look like.
Ask MetaFilter comments should address the main question being asked. Common reasons for comment removal are wisecracks, derailing/ranting/axegrinding, picking a fight with or heavy chastising of the question asker, single word posts (yes, no, DTMFA &c.) and other non-answers that should probably be brought to MetaTalk. While it's okay to ask follow-up questions to the original asker, piggybacking questions [asking your own related question within someone else's AskMe] will often be removed.
[folks - please take further discussion to MeTa, this is getting way far afield for AskMe, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 12:48 PM on May 20 [2 favorites +] [!]
Posted some location info to metatalk. Though I have been cut off, as mentioned above wheels are still turning, communication happening, all possible safeties engaged and there is good reason to hold on to hope for a non-disaster outcome.
posted by fake at 1:48 PM on May 20 [1 favorite +] [!]
[folks, this needs to go to METATALK, not here. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:48 PM on May 20 [+] [!]
Honestly, I hope the community ends up being wrong about that, because there are plenty of other women in similarly vulnerable situations who don't have the benefit of an active community of 20k users to help them out.
why do two women on a travel exchange program need an immigration lawyer?
"Hostess/girlfriend of the thuggish owner
Back room hand jobber
Half-wretched brothel prostitute
Totally wretched junkie/brothel prostitute
That's how you are demoted, then pushed into prostitution when you do not speak English and are illegally in the country."
Posted By: cortex (May 21, 2010 at 8:21 PM)
If you read the Metafilter entries carefully you will see that there is no evidence that sex-trafficking or the Russian Mob were involved. These were just two young girls that wanted to go out to a NYC nightclub, and two hundred hysterical chatroom users trying to stop them.
> Bingo, and others who are riding the "We actually don't know if any of this is true" bus [...] Every piece of hard evidence about the situation [...]
The women paid their money, and were offered positions as lifeguards in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
But then things started getting weird. On the eve of the trip, Reetz says, the job offer was rescinded, and Aloha replaced it with an intermediate one, which didn't pan out either. "Then they told them, 'Just fly to the US and we'll mail you an offer," Reetz recalls.
Which was ridiculous, of course; the women insisted that Aloha send their offer by email instead. But when they arrived in Washington, DC, and checked their inboxes: nothing. They called Aloha and were given a phone number for a guy named George. No last name.
Q: My friend has been asked to go to the Lux Lounge at midnight and talk to some guy called George, what do you think?
A: Don't let them go! If they do, they will be imprisoned, beaten, raped, forced into prostitution and quite possibly murdered.
the Aloha "travel agency" attempted to get the girls to fly to San Diego instead. A totally legitimate move, no doubt, given the well-known plethora of hipster hookah bars in that particular border city that are in desperate need of Russian hostesses.
I have lived in the general area of what is now the Lux bar for over 10 years. I see this sort of thing happen every single summer in New York City. "J1" is what people call these girls and the story goes like this:
They come here on work sponsorships which are almost never really there (they often dont know that). Then one of three things happens -- or all. They end up working in the restaurant business as hostesses, bus "boy" positions, eventually waitresses. They start sleeping with some guy who takes them around, pays for everything, and possibly provides a place to live. If they want to make real money, they start dancing (strip or go-go). At the end of the summer their Visa expires and I'd say about 70% leave and 30% stay.
So... it probably wouldn't have been sex trafficking, this is all way too dramatized. The J1 girls who come here are often offered to dance to make more money. And they either refuse and struggle to find a job in some crappy lounge or restaurant or they go dance and make pretty decent money. I'm not saying that this is a wonderful situation, it makes me hate living in this city, but its so common and a far cry from being locked in a room to be sex slaves.
I known some of these girls that are still here and still dance, and know a few that are still here and still work at lounges. Last year, a friend of mine was walking her dog and met two J1 students on the board walk at Brighton Beach sitting on their luggage. They had to make the same trip from somewhere to New York for a job. Of course the job wasn't really there. My friend let the couple stay in her living room for most of the summer and they eventually found a job at a restaurant.
Living in Brooklyn, this is a fact of live. Its nice that these particular girls have gotten some help, but starting this week "the J1s are coming" and this sort of thing is going to happen a thousand times over in the next couple of weeks to a month. Non of it was surprising to read... which, I guess, is pretty depressing considering that I live in the middle of it.
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Newsweek: How Metafilter stopped human trafficking.
Re Mefites canceling Paypal payments:
- Canceling pending payments at this point must happen on IFDS's end (i.e., Kathrine has to log into her account and cancel each one individually). Those of us who sent payments (allegedly) have our hands tied.
- If IFDS cancels the payments, each person who sent a payment will receive an email saying that the payment has been canceled. Hopefully each person will then turn around and either do a Moneygram/WU on their own, or jump in to a coordinated effort (which I am almost certain some other enterprising Mefite will take care of).
Re IFDS getting Paypal to unfreeze her account:
- According to the guy I talked to, he said that all that had to happen was for IFDS to call them (402-935-2050) and he said that they just needed her to "verify some information" and they would unfreeze the account today. I have no idea if this is really all it will take (I have my doubts), but he claims that it can happen.
NO DANGER DANGER
INACTION Drudge Very Bad
Experience for K&S
Raised Awareness of Sex Trafficking
In Major Media Outlets
Specifically for the number of cases that I’ve worked, I have not worked any that have been an international state. Every single one of my victims have been either local, from San Diego, or from somewhere within the United States, mostly either a border state or not, that have been brought here by their pimp for purposes of prostitution.
"I think the great majority are domestic trafficking victims. One of our new residents is an international victim and she has had a successful case against her perpetrator. But I think it is very unusual."
May 1996 San Diego, CA
3,000 + Mexico, Japan, United States
In a joint investigation, Mexican and American police bust a 10-year old trafficking and
prostitution ring that exploited upwards of 3,000 women. The ring, which operated out of San Diego, Tokyo and Guadalajara, had close ties with the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The women were brought to Japan, sold to seedy clubs and forced to cater to the sexual whims of buyers.
San Diego, CA San Ysidro
Two young Russian women and a Russian-American man were stopped at the US-Mexican
border and accused of using false immigration documents. The incident led to charges against the man and his wife, who stand accused of running an international prostitution ring. According to INS investigators, the couple trafficked women from Moscow to brothels in
San Diego Union Tribune, 2004:
A buyer named Gordey Vinitsky arrived around dinner time. He was followed by Komisaruk's husband, Valery, who led Vinitsky to a van in the parking lot. Inside were six young Ukrainian women. Vinitsky bought two of them for $10,000 each. They were delivered to San Diego by boat where Vinitsky claimed his purchases.
they had grown up in a world in which corruption and prostitution are neither uncommon nor poorly understood. They went into the situation with their eyes open, wanting the adventure, believing themselves capable of negotiating whatever obstacles they encountered. They didn’t expect the agency to be on the level. They had considered the possibility that, as women in their early 20s with little or no English, there was a limited range of employment options waiting for them.