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Thread: Sex slaves, human trafficking ... in America?

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Sex slaves, human trafficking ... in America?

    Sex slaves, human trafficking ... in America? - TODAY: People - MSNBC.com

    In spring of 2004, Katya (not her real name), like thousands of other foreign exchange university students, was looking forward to the summer job placement that she and a friend had received in Virginia Beach, Va. When she and her friend Lena arrived at Dulles Airport after a long flight from Ukraine, they were relieved to be met by fellow countrymen who spoke Russian.
    The two men, Alex Maksimenko and Michael Aronov, were holding signs with the girls’ names and greeted them by taking their bags and luggage. Charming and reassuring, Aronov informed the girls that they had been reassigned to a job in Detroit where they would waitress and perfect their English language skills.
    The men drove Katya and Lena to the Greyhound bus station and gave them tickets to Detroit. Confused and exhausted, the girls had no reason to question the change of plans.

    “When we got to the hotel in Detroit, everything changed,” says Katya. “They closed the door and sat us down on the couch, took our passports and papers and said, ‘You owe us big money for bringing you here.’ They gave us strip clothes and told us that we were going to be working at a strip club called Cheetahs.”
    Shocked and scared, the two women were subjected to physical, mental and sexual abuse over the next year as they were forced to work 12-hour shifts stripping for local Detroit men’s clubs. According to immigration customs agent Angus Lowe, the men controlled the women through intimidation with guns and threats to hurt family members back home.
    Katya and her friend are two of the estimated 17,000 young women and girls annually who are forced to work in the sex industry in the U.S. by organized criminals. “Chicago, Houston, St. Paul, Minnesota, these crimes are happening in every community in America big and small,” says Marcie Forman, director of investigations for ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement). “We’re talking about money here. Millions of dollars, and these people don’t think about these women as human beings. They think of them as dollars and cents,” Forman says.
    In February 2005, after months of planning and finally confiding in a customer from the strip club, the two girls escaped and were brought to the FBI and ICE. Their escape resulted in the arrest of Alex Maksimenko and Michael Aronov, both of whom pleaded guilty and are serving time in federal prison for their crimes.
    Even though her captors are in prison, Katya says she will never live without fear. Maksimenko’s father — who was also convicted of forced labor and illegal trafficking — continues to live openly in Ukraine as a fugitive from authorities.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Idiots, go to the police. Sorry, I hope that doesn't offend anyone, but seriously.

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    ^It's not always that simple. Often the organised rings that bring them here threaten their families back home and those girls are in a foreign, unfamiliar place, often not speaking the language. They don't even know if they can trust the police.

    That is, assuming they can even physically get to a police station-often they're held physically captive.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ I still don't buy it. It's America, there are cops EVERYWHERE and before I was treated like this I would take my chances and try to report it. If they can't speak enough of the language to actually protect themselves in a strange land then I wouldn't suggest moving there in the first place.
    Just my opinion.

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    ^You have to consider where some of those girls come from. Cops are not necessarily figures inspiring trust to them. And my point about threats to their families stand.

    Also, once in police custody, my guess is that they would be deported (their visas having expired by then), and thus placed right back within the reach of the trafficking gangs back home.

    And that's just girls from Eastern Europe. Recently I was researching human trafficking, and I found out that women from Nigeria are terrified of being sent back, because if it came out they were sex workers (even against their will), they would likely be executed according to Sharia law.

    I'm not saying any of that applies to this particular case, just pointing out that human trafficking and white slavery is a complicated issue.

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    Bronze Member zattygrrl's Avatar
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    Not to mention the restrictions that are put forth by the police force. The police can't act on hear say, if they could perhaps some of the victims of abuse leading to death may be around. Also, who knows how much in the way of "kick backs" go to the police in these situations just to look the other way?

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    Elite Member Dixie Normos's Avatar
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    I don't think they let the girls wander around by themselves to contact an officer. Phone calls would be monitored and even the bartenders/bouncers were probably in on it, making it hard for the women to even speak to many customers (and learn English). I'll bet $ to doughnuts they chatted to their savior in the VIP room, where fewer people were keeping tabs on them.
    "In the face of the blinding sun, I wake only to find
    that Heaven is a stranger place than than one I've left behind." - SM

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