French Website Gleeden Encourages Married Women to Cheat on Their Husbands

ClipIn a country recently transfixed by the trial of a famous politician that revealed details of his orgy escapades, and where the President on his live-in partner, an ad promoting extramarital affairs might not seem like such a big deal.

But even in famously libertine France, the latest advertising campaign — evoking the temptations of Eve with a partly eaten apple — for a dating website geared to married women looking for affairs has spawned a backlash and a national debate.

The ads for the dating website Gleeden, which bills itself as “the premier site for extramarital affairs designed by women,” were recently splashed on the backs of buses in several French cities. Seven cities decided to withdraw the ads, and opponents have mobilized against them on social media, providing the latest example of a prominent cultural divide in France about the lines between public morality, private sexual conduct and the country’s vaunted freedom of expression.

The Catholic Family Associations filed a legal complaint against the site’s American publisher, Black Divine, in a Paris superior court. The Catholic group said the ad was crude and immoral and a reckless breach of an article in the civil code.

The article, written in 1804 during Napoleonic times and invoked during marriage ceremonies, stipulates that married couples must show each other respect, fidelity, help and assistance.

“I was shocked and disgusted when I saw the ad,” said a spokeswoman for the Catholic Family Associations. “Infidelity pollutes the couple and the family and destroys the social fabric of France. It is immoral to be publicly promoting adultery, and hurtful to infidelity’s victims.”

In conservative Versailles, site of the chateau of King Louis XIV, whose mistresses are described in 11 separate Wikipedia pages, the bus company Keolis said it withdrew the ad after receiving 500 complaints in a week. Normally, the company said, it might receive 900 such complaints over the course of a year.

In picturesque Rambouillet, the conservative mayor asked a bus company to remove the ad on the grounds that it breached the civil code and threatened the sanctity of marriage.

An anti-Gleeden petition that was circulated on social media garnered more than 20,000 signatures, while a #stopgleeden hashtag proliferated on Twitter.

The storm unleashed by the ads reflected a deep, though often overlooked, strain of social conservatism in France, underlined, for example, by the rise of the far-right National Front party, which in addition to railing against immigrants champions traditional family values in this nominally Roman Catholic nation.

Similarly, advocates of same-sex unions have been taken aback in recent years by the stronger-than-expected backlash against the legalization of same-sex marriage here, which prompted hundreds of thousands of protesters to take to the streets.

The conservative strain has provided the perfect foil for Gleeden and other extramarital websites that have sought to lure subscribers with controversial ads. Another Gleeden campaign on the Paris metro suggested that taking a lover was less expensive for the national health service than taking antidepressants.

A campaign by Ashley Madison, another extramarital website, featured President François Hollande and his three predecessors with smudged lipstick on their faces. “What do they have in common?” the ad asked. “They should have thought of ashleymadison.com.”

When the ads were introduced, several were removed by the police, the company said.

Gleeden, launched in 2009, has a million subscribers in France, and 2.4 million globally, who can anonymously trawl profiles for lovers.

A Gleeden spokeswoman, denounced censorship, arguing that the lawsuit against the site was bogus since adultery in France was decriminalized in 1975.

Moreover, she said the website, run by women for women, was a form of justice since Frenchwomen had suffered the indignity of cheating men for centuries while historically bearing the brunt of punishments for infidelity, including being shipped off to convents or prison. “In 2015, religious organizations, whether Catholic or otherwise, cannot dictate morality to the French,” she added.

In an era of surveillance cameras, leaked emails and heavily publicized presidential affairs, sociologists said the desire by would-be cheaters to avoid getting caught by an irate spouse was helping to drive traffic toward extramarital dating websites, where the risk of detection was less perilous than seducing a neighbor.

The costs of infidelity were underlined here recently after the trial in February of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF, whose penchant for sex parties helped destroy both his political career and his marriage.

President Hollande was targeted by the news media after he was discovered in 2014 sneaking out of the Élysée Palace on his motorbike to meet his mistress, a French actress.

His scorned former girlfriend, Valérie Trierweiler, responded with a damaging tell-all book exposing how the affair had pushed her to binge on sleeping pills. It became a best seller and may soon be turned into a film to coincide with the 2017 presidential elections.

“A president can be a good president and a bad husband, and the French will not mix the two,” said a professor of sociology and the author of “The Four Faces of Infidelity in France.” She argued that in France, today’s generation of postfeminist, independent women were far less tolerant of infidelity than their mothers or grandmothers. While there were 30,000 divorces in 1960, she noted, there were 125,000 in 2012. She also noted that if women were turning out in greater numbers on extramarital websites like Gleeden, it was because at least some were spying on their husbands.

Human Trafficking Intervention Court in New York

Clip_13There is a Human Trafficking Intervention Court in Queens, which marked its 10th anniversary recently. It serves as a model for a statewide 11-court program that began in 2013. The intention is to change the legal conversation around the multibillion-dollar sex trade by redefining the women in it as victims instead of criminals. Most are offered a deal: Take part in a set number of counseling sessions, usually five or six, and the charges will be dismissed and the record sealed.

After 13 months, the five New York City courts are still a work in progress, their success tracked more in individual stories than statistics.

“This court is not devised to solve the problems of trafficking,” Judge Serita said of the program, “but to address one of the unfortunate byproducts, which is the arrest of these defendants on prostitution charges.”

All defendants in the specialized courts are presumed to be victims at risk, the first of many assumptions made, in part, because of the silence surrounding sex trafficking. That silence also makes it tougher to shift social mores. Not only do the police and the justice system still treat prostitution as a crime, but the women themselves, most undocumented, often don’t define themselves as having been trafficked — whether out of fear, shame or choice.

New York State’s progressive anti-trafficking law has no definition of a victim, but describes the coercive tactics a trafficker uses. These include fraud, physical injury, withholding or destroying immigration documents and exploiting debt.

At no point in the proceedings does the judge, the prosecutor or the defense lawyer ask if the defendants have been trafficked; nor is there a quid pro quo to give up a trafficker. It is rare, but the hope is that the women, perhaps after working with counselors, will feel comfortable describing the conditions that led them to prostitution.

“It’s a trigger mechanism to establish contact between individuals and service providers,” Judge Serita said of the court. “We know that five sessions is not necessarily going to change some people’s lives, but if they can establish meaningful contact with somebody else that can be used in the future, that’s what we’re hoping for.”

Clip_179Inside the courtroom, the drama may seem perfunctory. The defendants have been charged with prostitution or loitering with intent to engage in prostitution, both misdemeanors. After arraignment, Kimberly Affronti, the assistant district attorney who has been the Queens court’s only prosecutor since its inception in 2004, decides what to offer the defendants after discussing options with their lawyers.

“This court is a lot more nonadversarial than other courts,” Ms. Affronti said. “It’s a team effort.”

For a first offense, five counseling sessions is the primary option. A defendant can also plead guilty to disorderly conduct; a small percentage of clients choose to fight their charges and get sent to an all-purpose court.

During an initial appearance, Judge Serita will refer the defendant to one of the court-approved counseling organizations. Upon completion of the sessions, she will grant an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which means that if the defendant stays out of trouble for up to six months, the record will be sealed. Over the past year, her court has issued 398 such adjournments out of 639 cases heard.

The Queens court has changed significantly in the decade since Judge Fernando M. Camacho founded it. Dismayed at seeing the same American-born teenage girls reappearing in his court for prostitution, Judge Camacho said he wanted to break the cycle by offering them alternatives to a criminal record or incarceration.

Now, a majority of the defendants who sit in the worn walnut benches are either Latin American women or, even more often, older, undocumented immigrants from Asia, ranging in age from 30 to 50. According to statistics Judge Serita’s court has kept, Asian defendants represented 27 percent of the cases in 2010. In 2014, they have made up 40 percent.

If Judge Serita, 53, seems sensitive on the bench to the plight of new immigrants, perhaps it is because she, too, was an immigrant, coming to this country with her parents as a 5-year-old from Sapporo, Japan. As an only child attending elementary school in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, in the late 1960s, she would bring the lunch her father, an artist, packed for her in a bento box. “I used to get teased all the time,” she said.

She turned an inclination for public service into work as a Legal Aid appellate lawyer and was appointed to the bench by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2005, becoming the first Japanese-American judge in the state court.

On Fridays, Judge Serita usually hears more than 40 cases in three hours. “How are you today?” she asks each of the women, inquiring whether they take English classes and praising their progress. Several defendants said they noticed less that she was an Asian woman and more that she had a warm demeanor. On other days, she presides over the drug treatment and mental health courts in Queens.

The trafficking court, she acknowledged, is a Catch-22: For people to feel less like criminals, they must first go through the criminal justice system.

 

Leigh Latimer, the Legal Aid Society lawyer assigned to Judge Serita’s court, agreed. “There is a somewhat more recent view that clients are potentially victims, but we’re still arresting them at a very rapid pace,” she said. “We’re trying to solve their problems through being arrested, which is not an affirming process.”

Judge Serita has tried to offset that by assembling a large network of counselors and court advocates. Judge Camacho originally partnered with Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, and Judge Serita has added a half-dozen more, including two that work with Asian women: Restore NYC and New York Asian Women’s Center. On Fridays, counselors from those groups stand with clipboards outside the courtroom, waiting to sign women up.

Moving in and out of the courtroom is Paul Puma, 40, the head court officer for the trafficking court. He, too, must make assumptions.

“When at any time a defendant comes in escorted by a male, I just ask the male to step outside,” Mr. Puma said, adding: “Nine times out of 10, I know I am speaking to their handler, or whatever you want to call them.

“I don’t want them in the court,” Mr. Puma continued. “I want the women free to be able to take advantage of the services this court offers. I don’t have a legal right to stop them from coming in there. But I tell them, ‘I’ll let the judge and the prosecutor know that if you insist on being here for this young lady, they’re going to want to know who you are.’ ”

One Mandarin-speaking man who waited outside seemed less than encouraging about the counseling sessions his female friend would be attending.

“As far as I’m concerned,” he said in Mandarin, “this is just propaganda.” He would not give his name.

On several Fridays, nearly a dozen women said during interviews in Mandarin that they did not feel like trafficking victims, but victims of the police. The women all spoke on the condition of anonymity because their cases were still pending.

“My name has been tarnished,” said one woman, who was upset that her case was “lumped with all those others.” She denied performing a sex act, but the police report contradicted that, Ms. Affronti said.

Another woman explained that she was arrested at 4 a.m. on her sixth day of work. She and her sister, who quit after the second day because she sensed “something was not right,” owed more than $80,000 to friends and family members who raised the money for them to come to the United States from Fuzhou.

That type of pressure to pay back smuggling agents — often with interest as high as 12 percent — is considered “debt bondage.” It is a more subtle condition of human trafficking, but is pervasive in New York’s Asian communities, lawyers say.

“Of course we have to borrow,” said the sister who was not arrested. “Who has that kind of money?”

The women who accept the court’s deal attend full-day group counseling sessions once a week; they often begin the day with yoga, and then learn about the court process, their rights and prostitution laws.

  1. — who asked to be identified only by her first initial because she had not told her family in China she had worked as a prostitute — told a common story of debt bondage. Last November, she owed $60,000 to the travel agent who arranged for her entry to the United States. Because she had to pay $500 for her airport pickup, she soon began running out of money.

She could not find a job without work papers, and by the time she started looking through the classifieds of World Journal, a popular Chinese-language newspaper, she was desperate.

The section is full of ads for so-called authentic massage — “tuina” — and there are plenty of questionable ones, too, like those looking for a “spicy little sister” or “a woman tender and warm.” One ad seeking massage workers promised $500 daily; another, “tens of thousands” for a month.

She was 42, alone and broke; she agreed to work at the first place that was hiring.

It was not until her new boss drove her to the job — in a Queens house — that first day, she said, that he told her she would be performing sexual services instead of massages. “All the women like you who come here and don’t have friends to help them — they all do it,” he told her.

One month later, she was arrested and felt humiliated. But after she appeared before Judge Serita and completed the counseling sessions, the charges were dropped and her case was sealed.

Ms. Latimer, the Legal Aid lawyer, put X. in touch with Sanctuary for Families, an organization helping victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence; Sanctuary is now working on a visa application for her and arranges medical appointments for her problems incurred during that dark month last fall.

“I recognize that I took the wrong path,” X. said in Mandarin in an interview recently, interpreted by Rosie Wang, 26, a legal fellow at Sanctuary and recent graduate of Columbia Law School.

“But,” X. continued, “I also think that if I didn’t, and these bad things didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be connected to so many people who have helped me so much.”

Despite the court’s innovative ambitions, it hasn’t always been able to meet the day-to-day needs of the women whom it aims to help. As the number of Asian defendants has surged in Queens, the private counseling agencies, already short of money, have had trouble keeping pace. Over the summer, defendants faced waits of up to six weeks to begin their court-mandated counseling with the New York Asian Women’s Center or Restore NYC. Both organizations said recently that there currently were no waits.

Danielle Sennett, a public defender with Queens Law Associates who is assigned to the court, said any delay could make it more difficult for clients to get work and could keep them stuck, living in danger. “Some women who are in high-risk situations are not being served,” Ms. Sennett said.

The courts do not keep a record of recidivism, although if women are rearrested, they often return to fulfill more counseling sessions. Despite efforts by the New York Police Department’s vice enforcement squad, advocates say the message has not always filtered to the precinct level to treat women as victims when arresting them.

So far this year, the Police Department recorded 686 arrests in Queens on misdemeanor charges of prostitution and loitering, including 149 in the 109th Precinct, covering Flushing, which is where most of the massage parlors in the borough operate.

Queens Criminal Court has only 15 cases pending for trafficking, a felony that is tried in a separate courtroom, deliberately far from Judge Serita’s court.

“In a system that prioritizes a high volume of low-level arrests, you still have to ask: ‘Who is getting arrested?’ ” said Kate Mogulescu, the supervising lawyer of the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project for the Legal Aid Society in New York. “What’s the endgame?”

The New York State chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, acknowledged that “the focus should be on the demand, on the traffickers and the buyers.” But he added: “The reality is we don’t make decisions as to who gets arrested, and we want to assure that these victims get the assistance that they need and ultimately get out of ‘the life.’ ”

Clip_178M., 40, who asked to be identified only by her first initial because she is undocumented, is one of those trying to get out. Arrested on a prostitution charge in Queens in May, she went through the counseling program at the New York Asian Women’s Center; when it was over, the group told her to call if she ever ran into trouble again. She said she had been working at what she thought was a legitimate Manhattan massage parlor in September when her bosses forced her to perform commercial sex. They beat her and threatened her life if she did not continue, she said. Desperate, she called the Women’s Center, which swiftly connected her with Sanctuary for legal help.

Ms. Wang, who came to this country from Chengdu when she was 1 and jokes that she speaks Mandarin with an American accent, met with M.

Gradually, M. felt comfortable telling her of the abuse and became emboldened by Sanctuary’s support. “After the incident happened where I was trafficked, I was feeling very lost,” M. said in an interview, with Ms. Wang interpreting. “But now I feel like I have the courage to talk to people about it, including law enforcement.”

Like many Chinese immigrants who settle in Flushing, M. had applied for political asylum when she arrived. The lawyer she approached said it would cost $3,500 and demanded $500 upfront, which she paid. His office has since closed.

Sanctuary explained to her and many other clients that political asylum is rarely granted and applying for it risks deportation. Instead, women like M. are better off applying for a T Visa, reserved for victims of trafficking, said Melissa Brennan, Sanctuary’s senior staff lawyer in Queens. In July, Ms. Brennan created a free project involving seven New York law firms that have since given 34 immigration consultations. The program is now helping nine clients, including M., to apply for legal status.

“Launching this project, I never expected to see the level of disclosure that we have,” Ms. Brennan said. Six women have told Ms. Wang that they were victims, and Sanctuary is following other cases of potential trafficking.

In a court that is based on assumptions, success can be hard to define. Or it can come splashing down in grateful tears.

“I just don’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else,” M. said.

 

Indonesian Brothel Closures Hit HIV Prevention

Clip_13Brothel closures in Indonesian cities could put sex workers in danger and hamper HIV prevention efforts.

In 2013 Surabaya’s firebrand mayor closed two of the city’s six red light districts, and in June 2014 she shut down Dolly, one of the largest sex work complexes in Southeast Asia. But while she is running the campaign in the name of public morality, research shows closing brothels puts sex workers at increased risk, and HIV interventions must adjust. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/22/view-point-is-risma-only-driving-sex-workers-street.html

“Now if someone asks us `where is the red light district in Surabaya’, we have to say ‘everywhere’,” an HIV outreach worker in Dolly for 20 years said. Anywhere between 1,000 and 2,000 sex workers used to operate in Dolly alone. But the now-empty alleyways do not mean the sex trade has disappeared, just dispersed.

Sex work is not itself illegal in Indonesia, meaning sex workers are afforded some protections – but mostly only if they stay out of sight, such as in brothels. Working on the streets or in other public venues such as cabaret restaurants, can come with increased risk of police harassment or violence. http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2013/2013_HIV-Asia-Pacific_en.pdf

While Indonesian brothels enforce strict health measures, such as regular HIV tests, others say such programs violate sex workers’ rights and cultivate reliant behaviors. With many brothels closed, HIV outreach workers are scrambling to change their approach.

Scattered on the Streets

The Surabaya municipal health department has made attempts to map “hot spots” of where sex workers are now going, and share the data with outreach staff. However, its efforts have had limited impact as the population is moving swiftly – sometimes even to other islands.  http://www.baliorti.com/2014/03/dolly-alley-closed-prostitutes-migrated.htm

Now that more people are on their own, we hardly know where to find everyone – we rely on informal information, phone calls and gossip.

The 2012 Indonesian AIDS Commission’s report to the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS noted that non brothel-based sex workers “continued to be deeply disadvantaged in their access to information, supplies, and services”. http://www.unaids.org/en/dataanalysis/knowyourresponse/countryprogressreports/2012countries/ce_ID_Narrative_Report.pdf

Since Dolly stuttered to a close in July, Susi, a 34-year-old former sex worker, has been working on a construction site earning 400,000 rupiah (US$33) per month – a fraction of her earnings at the brothel.

“I carry stones. My body is always sore,” she said. Most of her colleagues are former clients, but she does not do sex work anymore. “I can’t do sex work outside of the brothel because I am too afraid to negotiate prices and condoms,” she said.

“Many of my clients at the brothel asked not to use a condom. Sometimes I did it, and I made them pay a lot for it, but I knew I could bargain because they knew the 100 percent condom rule, so I could always ask security to throw them out. Now I don’t know how I would negotiate that outside, but the construction money is not enough for ever.”

Police Target Street-Based Sex Workers

A multi-year public health study on brothel-based sex workers in Surabaya published in 2014 said: “Street-based FSWs [female sex workers] are subject to legal crackdowns” while “brothel-based FSWs.typically are not subject to the same legal enforcement.”

The 2012 UNDP Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and UNFPA joint report Sex Work and the Law in Asia-Pacific explained: “Police use the vagrancy offence under the Penal Code as the basis for targeting street-based sex workers – including targeting outreach workers who are carrying condoms.”  http://indigo.uic.edu/bitstream/handle/10027/18821/Handayani_Samsriyaningsih.pdf?sequence=1  http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/hivaids/English/HIV-2012-SexWorkAndLaw.pdf

The Indonesian government’s historical condoning of red light districts was, in part, a form of pragmatism. http://www.komnasperempuan.or.id/

The government has a history of working closely with the pimps and hotel owners to make sure the sex workers were at least safe. Brothels were typically quite control-oriented, with management only allowing their female sex worker employees limited amounts of freedom. It was an acknowledgement of the patriarchal culture that ran the place, but it was pragmatic.

Some street-based sex workers are locked inside rehabilitation centres and tortured for months by the police. There’s a reason women prefer the brothels. They know that the brothel owners have an incentive to keep them safe, and feeling well.

Once a month the health department would come do HIV tests. The pimps and brothel owners said we had to do it or they would kick us out, so we would do it, we didn’t have to plan for it because we knew it was coming. Or, as the 2014 health study explained: “Brothel-based female sex workers in Surabaya have been the targets of sexually transmitted infection control and condom use promotion efforts for more than 3 decades.”

More Risks For Sex Workers?

Since Surabaya’s brothel closures began, everyone associated with the industry is desperate to maintain income. http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/police-shoot-tear-gas-indonesias-dolly-sex-district/

Now, because the professional sex workers are gone, sometimes hotel owners just ask random women on the streets if they want to have sex a few times to make money. Some of them say yes, but this is a very different type of person – she is not a professional. It’s not clear she knows much about sexual health at all because the brothels are where such things were taught and enforced.

It is that termination of health “enforcement” that has others worried.

A 2013 review of the USAID’s HIV work in Indonesia, published as red light districts were being squeezed, warned that “brothel closures can rapidly decrease the size of the population that can be reached.” The report said: “Staff at the district health office in Surabaya noted that they have no plan for providing HIV prevention services to female sex workers who will be affected by brothel closures.”http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00JZ5N.pdf

Enforced HIV Testing Counterproductive?

But the shift to the less-secure streets is not the only problem. The way brothels manage sex workers’ health, others say, may create more risk in the long run.

Indonesia’s 2010-2014 National HIV and AIDS Strategy and Action Plan promotes “100 percent condom use”. Dubbed “100% CUP”, the strategy involves registering and monitoring brothel-based sex workers. http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_protect/—protrav/—ilo_aids/documents/legaldocument/wcms_173075.pdf   http://www.wpro.who.int/publications/docs/100_condom_program_experience.pdf

 

The approach has been popular among brothel owners and local governments in Indonesia, and data suggest some impact. According to 2011 Integrated Bio-Behavioral Survey (IBBS) data, 47 percent of “direct” female sex workers (or DFSW – those who earn money only from sex work, often brothel-based) report they always use condoms, compared to only 35 percent of “indirect” female sex workers (IFSW – those for whom sex work is not the primary source of income, and who very rarely appear in brothels). The report also showed that only 25 percent of IFSW had ever made contact with an HIV outreach worker, whereas more than half of DFSW had.  http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/07/10/brothels-push-hivaids-checkup-sex-workers.html  http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?lng=en&id=139508 http://www.aidsdatahub.org/sites/default/files/documents/IBBS_2011_Report_Indonesia

“100% CUP” has been repeatedly criticized, however, for leading to forced HIV tests. UNDP, UNAIDS and UNFPA argued that, “condom programs that rely on enforcement of mandatory measures by health authorities, police or managers of sex work businesses can be counterproductive to HIV responses.”

http://www.afao.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/11198/Mandatory_Testing_for_HIV_and_STIs_among_Sex_Workers_-A-_Barrier-to_-Prevention.pdf.pdf  http://www.nswp.org/sites/nswp.org/files/Global%20Briefing%20-%20Impact%20HIV%20Programming%20-%20English.pdf  http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/hivaids/English/HIV-2012-SexWorkAndLaw.pdf

“We have only been able to create a real difference for the sex workers in the red light districts because that’s where we have been funded to focus,” one activist laments. “That’s where the plans and interventions have targeted.”

“We need to find ways in Indonesia to make health services available, accessible and acceptable to sex workers based on the principles of non-discrimination and the right to health,” UNAIDS-Indonesia country director saod, echoing WHO standards that universal access to condoms is more effective than regulatory measures such as coerced testing of sex workers.  http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/90000/1/9789241506182_eng.pdf?ua=1

Virginity is One Skill For Which “No Experience” Is Highly Valued

Clip_203

1. Cathy Cobblerson

In 2004,  24-year-old Cathy Cobblerson from Texas, broke virginity auction records, when she placed an advertisement to auction her virginity, with a minimum price tag of U.S. $ 100,000/- on E-Bay. The auction was taken down and it was not clear whether or not another auction,  from the same girl took place elsewhere.

2. Rosie Reid

Clip_204In 2004, 18-year-old Rosie Reid from London, sold her virginity to a bidder. A 44 year aged British Telecom engineer, who was a divorcee. He reportedly paid her, £ 8,400. It was the girl’s first time with a man. However,  she already had a lesbian lover, who reportedly waited outside the door, while Rosie was “obliged” to serve her buyer. It was also reported that the lesbian lovers “just cried and cried” the next morning!

3. Graciela Yataco

Clip_204In 2005, 18-year-old Graciela Yataco, a model from Peru, was responsible for her mother’s medical bills. She also had to support her younger brother. So she decided, in an unprecedented move, to sell her virginity to the highest bidder.   She auctioned her virginity for  U. S.  $  $ 1,300,000  to a 56 year old Arab man, Nasir Al Sadhan, from Saudi Arabia, who reportedly hired the Pent House suite for the night, at Hotel Monasterio Del Cusco, high in the Andes Mountains at Cuzco in Peru, and successfully took her virginity. He reportedly also paid all costs to fly her and her mother, to & fro the resort & also paid a bonus of  $ 10,000 to her mother, after the event.

4. Natalie Dylan

Clip_204In 2008, 22-year-old Natalie Dylan, received a bid of  $ 3.7 million, after auctioning her virginity through Moonlite Bunny Ranch to fund her master’s degree. She publicized her auction on The Howard Stern Show. Maybe Natalie Dylan was for real, but the whole thing did seem strange. If a girl was really going to hold out until 22 to lose her virginity, would she be the type to sell it to the highest bidder in a nationally publicized auction? But still, a Qatari national, Sheikh Nafeez bin Sultan bin Thamim Al-Thani, reportedly paid that amount and flew into Kentucky. It is reported that he hired the entire top floor, of the Brown Hotel, in Louisville Kentucky, for the night & successfully took her virginity.

5. Alina Percea

Clip_204In 2009, 18-year-old Alina Percea from Romania, auctioned her virginity so that she could afford to pay for her computing degree. She received a top bid of $  1,500,000/-  from an old Australian billionnaire. Reportedly the 62 year-old man paid for her trip to Venice. At Venice, he made her go through two medical exams to prove that she’s still a virgin before the big event. He reportedly hired a cottage at the luxurious Venice on the Beach, hotel and kept her with him for 3 nights. She claimed that on the first night he simply romanced her and did not even touch her. Apparently,  he took her virginity, only on the second night.

6. Raffaella Fico

In 2009, Raffaella Fico, a 20-year-old Italian model and star of Big Brother Italy 2008,  put her virginity up for auction to buy a house in Rome and pay for acting classes.  She swore she’d never had a boyfriend. Fico promised to drop her panties for  $ 1.8 million. She said, “If I don’t like him, I’ll just have a glass of wine, return the money and forget about it! ”

8. Catarina Migliorini

Clip_204In 2013,  a Brazilian student sold her virginity for a staggering $ 1,780,000 after she put it up for auction online. A 52 year old man called Kosuke Ishikawa, from Japan, fended off strong competition from two American bidders, and an Indian big-spender, to take the virginity of 20-year-old Catarina Migliorini. Kosuke Ishikawa flew her at his own cost, into Osaka, where again, she had to undergo virginity tests. Later, reportedly he invited her into his own villa, where he took her virginity. It is further reported, that he was so happy after the event, that he gave her a further sum of  $ 220,000, and kept her with him for another week, before she was allowed to fly off back to Brazil!

 

Back in Brazil,  Catarina insists that,  she is not a prostitute and that she is only doing this to make a positive impact on the world by raising money to build homes for poverty-stricken families in her hometown! The physical education student has sparked a controversy by having a Brazilian film crew follow her every move for a documentary entitled “Virgins Wanted!”

 

Prostitution on the Decline in the USA

Clip_159“It’s hard out here for a pimp,” complains the Three 6 Mafia, a rap group.

A new study by the Urban Institute, a think-tank, casts doubt on this assertion. After investigating the sex trade in eight big American cities, researchers concluded that pimps can do rather well for themselves. Some in Atlanta bring in $33,000 a week, the study estimates.

Tracking the sex trade is hard. It is legal only in parts of Nevada. Elsewhere there are no receipts; researchers relied instead on interviews with lawyers, police, prostitutes and pimps. Their fat report, commissioned by the Justice Department, brought squeals of pleasure from journalists everywhere, who tended to play up evidence that the oldest profession is booming.

But it doesn’t appear to be. In five out of seven cities, the underground sex industry shrank between 2003 and 2007, the study found. (In one place, Kansas City, Missouri, there was not enough evidence to decide.) In Washington, DC, takings fell by 34%. In Denver, with a population of 2.5m in 2007 if you include the suburbs, the sex trade grossed a mere $40m.

Most men prefer real girlfriends

Clip_203The demand for sex probably does not change much over time, but other things do. A century ago, when sexual mores were stricter, prostitution was more common and better paid (see table). Men’s demand for commercial sex was higher because the non-commercial sort was harder to obtain—there was no premarital hook-up culture. Women were attracted to prostitution in part because their other job opportunities were so meagre. And they commanded high wages partly because the social stigma was so great—without high pay, it was not worth enduring it.

The price for a trick today ranges from miserable ($15) to ample ($1,000 or more). Prostitutes have many options besides street-walking. The internet makes it easier for them to set up “dates” and negotiate prices, and harder for the police to catch them. They feel less vulnerable using social-media sites than doing the “stroll”. But 36% nonetheless report that some clients were violent or abusive.

Pimps, who are often women, tend to follow a business plan. They impose rules, such as “no drugs” or “no young clients” (who are more likely than older men to be violent). They are flexible with pricing, offering special deals for loyal customers and swiftly adapting to economic downturns. A third of pimps delegate management, training and even recruitment to an experienced employee called a “bottom girl”. About 15% admitted to beating up their staff. Others, however, thought violence was bad for business. One pimp said: “One bad girl can knock your whole stable loose. Get rid of the bad apple. If I needed to hit them, I didn’t need them.”

New York Police to Limit Seizing of Condoms in Prostitution Cases

IMG_1793The New York Police Department will significantly limit the practice of seizing condoms for use as evidence in prostitution-related cases, ending a procedure that health officials had long criticized as undermining their efforts to protect prostitutes from disease.

The change has the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s five district attorneys. It allows for the continued practice of using condoms as evidence in cases involving sex trafficking.

“This is a reasonable approach to targeting the most at-risk community as it relates to safer sex practices and continuing to build strong cases against the vast criminal enterprise associated with prostitution,” the police commissioner said in a statement.

Advocates for prostitutes and public health officials have been lobbying for this type of change for years, but attempts to pass legislation have repeatedly stalled.

In 2012, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the impact that the seizures were having on prostitutes in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington.

It included interviews with some 200 prostitutes, many of whom told investigators that the police would stop and harass them without basis, then use the fact that they were carrying a large supply of condoms as evidence of guilt.

One prostitute quoted in the report said she resorted to using a plastic bag as protection during intercourse.

At the time, some law enforcement officials expressed concern that a sweeping policy change would limit their ability to go after more serious criminals involved in the sex trade.

The Manhattan district attorney said that the new policy struck the right balance. “I have long believed that it is possible to address the use of condoms as evidence in misdemeanor prostitution-related cases without weakening our ability to prosecute serious crimes, like sex trafficking,” he said in a statement.

Kamalaris Rescued

The welfare of 117 young Tharu girls at the government’s Lawajuni Girls’ Hostel in the remote Narti village of Dang District, nearly 600km southwest of Kathmandu, is the responsibility of hostel warden Brija Chaudhary, 25. They are all former ‘Kamalaris’, rescued from the system of bonded labour still applied in many middle- and high-class households.

“They have a history of traumatic experience due to their exploitation from an early age,” said Chaudhary, of the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF), an NGO working to support such girls.

Clip_54The ex-Kamalaris are usually girls and teenagers from the Tharu community, one of Nepal’s most marginalized indigenous groups. The majority come from five districts – Dang, Bardiya, Banke, Kanchanpur and Kailali – in Nepal’s Midwest and Far west regions.

Officially abolished by the government in July 2013, the Kamalari system was an extreme form of child labour, abuse and exploitation by the owners, who promised to put them in good schools in exchange for their free labour, according to the Freed Kamaiya Development Forum (FKDF), a local NGO in Dang.

“We all ended up being exploited, abused and unable to complete school… because of working 17 hours a day,” said Manjita Chaudhary, FKDF’s president and a former Kamalari. Many people in the Tharu ethnic group have the surname of Chaudhary.

Empowerment, Not Penance 

Over the last decade, 12,000 Tharu girls and women – ranging in age from 12 to 25 years – have been rescued by various activist groups.

According to NYF and FKDF there are still 500 in servitude and it is hoped that they will be rescued soon, once their whereabouts are confirmed.

Man Bahadur Chettri, head of NYF’s Indentured Daughters Programme, believes over 80 percent of ex-Kamalaris have faced various forms of abuse, including molestation, rape, physical violence and mental torture. 

But rescuing girls and reuniting them with their families is not the solution, and they should rather be empowered through free education and technical training. “They are determined to overcome their trauma by working hard to stand on their own feet today,” Chettri said in the southern city of Nepalganj, nearly 600km southwest of the capital.

According to FKDF, some 8,000 girls are studying in 1,100 secondary and high schools, 36 are attending bachelor degree courses, and about 2,000 who dropped out earlier are now taking vocational training in agricultural farming technology, nursing, engineering and garment manufacturing.

Self-reliance 

Clip_102The government has been criticized by activists and ex-Kamalari girls for not adequately providing support for their welfare. FKDF says the government provides little money for scholarships – barely $100 for postgraduate studies, $60 for higher secondary school (grades 11 to 12) and $20 per year for secondary education (grades 7 to 10).

A spokesperson for Nepal’s Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said, “We have allocated 3 million rupees (approximately US$30,000) this year.” But activists and ex-Kamalaris said the amount is barely enough to help the empowerment efforts.

In all five districts, ex-Kamalaris have started cooperatives to help provide low-interest loans for income generation. Today there are 32 cooperatives with 1,200 members. “Many [borrowers] have started mobile phone shops, groceries… garment shops and other small businesses,” said president of the largest cooperative group, Lawajuni.

“We have to take our own initiative to build our own future,” said a 24 year old farmer in remote Sisinaya village. Two years ago, she took out a loan of $600 from Lawajuni Cooperative to grow rice and vegetables, and start going to school. She generated $5,000 this year and has already cleared her loan.

Another ex-Kamalari 22 year old took a loan of $1,000 to open a motorcycle repair business and today earns around $4,000 per year. “I have repaired over 1,000 motorcycles in one year and sold a lot of stuff. The business is good,” she said. She is one of only a handful of female motor mechanics in the country.

“They are in a hurry to be successful and prove their worth,” said garment skills trainer at the Lawajuni Training Centre in Nepalgunj. “This is their way of getting back at the society that exploited them.” Over 50 ex-Kamalari girls will be trained in garment making this year and have already secured positions in factories in Kathmandu, where they can earn good salaries and benefits.

“We can even start our own business,” said 23-year-old, a trainee at the Lawajuni Training Centre. “I have not forgotten my past, but that will not stop me from moving forward.”

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