Saturday, August 28, 2010

The T Stands For Trollop

But for the Department of Homeland Security, the T stands for Trafficking, trafficking victim. The T of course is the T visa, a non-immigrant visa that includes employment authorization and welfare benefits, as well as adjustment to legal permanent resident eventually.

To consider a situation ‘trafficking’ depends on the type of work, and the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain or maintain work.

Under Federal law, the term “severe forms of trafficking” can be broken into two categories:

• Sex trafficking: recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or the person being induced to perform such act is under 18 years of age.

• Labor trafficking: recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

That is what the law says, but, as always, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Hearing Officers with the Executive Office For Immigration Review, have their own definition. Basically anyone who is smuggled into the United States. It should be known as the S Visa, or Smuggling Visa, but that is much too accurate of a description. Originally it was a reaction to a case in Los Angeles where some Thai illegal aliens were being held in actual slavery, chained and surrounded by barbed wire, and forced to work in the manufacture of apparel. It was reasoned that the victims of modern slavery should, if they were illegal aliens, be rewarded with legal permanent residence, if they were discovered. Illegal slavery has always existed in the U.S. since the end of the War Between The States, and has always been aggressively prosecuted. There was never any need to reward illegal alien victims. They could always remain in the U.S. to testify, and during that period were usually paroled and given work permits until the criminal case against the perpetrators was concluded. But the radical left is continually looking to increase Third World immigration and though small in numbers, trafficking victims were a good source. Now every illegal alien prostitute is a victim, even if they are free to hit up Macy's and Bloomingdales in their free time.

There was however, never alot of victims of the sort above, held in abject bondage in merciless conditions. So changes had to be made. So the T Visa, sort of like the T Virus from a certain video game, has morphed into something else. It has become the new way for prostitutes to be rewarded for their choice of profession and remain in the U.S. in that same profession.

The left has always said there is nothing wrong with prostitution and has always celebrated the prostitute as a method of epater le bourgeoisie. It has since morphed, again, into another way to increase third world immigration. The major source has been Mexico and Asia. Allegedly the women are lured with promises of "hostessing" or "domestic work." While I believe that Mexican women can be lured with the prospect of domestic labor, just visit any hotel chain, the idea that "hostessing" is anything other than prostitution in the eyes of Asians is absurd. It is in the common vernacular throughout East Asia for prostitute. And it is widespread in the U.S.

Many of San Francisco's Asian massage parlors -- long an established part of the city's sexually permissive culture -- have degenerated into something much more sinister: international sex slave shops.

Once limited to infamous locales such as Bombay and Bangkok, sex trafficking is now an $8 billion international business, with San Francisco among its largest commercial centers.

San Francisco's liberal attitude toward sex, the city's history of arresting prostitutes instead of pimps, and its large immigrant population have made it one of the top American cities for international sex traffickers to do business undetected, according to Donna Hughes, a national expert on sex trafficking at the University of Rhode Island.

"It makes me sick to my stomach," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. "Girls are being forced to come to this country, their families back home are threatened, and they are being raped repeatedly, over and over."

Because sex trafficking is so far underground, the number of victims in the United States and worldwide is not known, and the statistics vary wildly.

The most often cited numbers come from the U.S. State Department, which estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked for forced labor and sex worldwide each year -- and that 80 percent are women and girls. Most trafficked females, the department says, are exploited in commercial sex outlets.

Relying on research from the Central Intelligence Agency, the State Department estimates there are 14,500 to 17,500 human trafficking victims brought into the United States each year -- but does not quantify how many of those are sex victims. Some advocacy groups place the number of U.S. victims much higher, while others criticize the government for overstating the problem.

The stories of bondage, excuse the double entendre, but the reality is that most of the women from Asia know exactly what they are getting into. And they certainly are not being held against their will.

Federal investigators say that even those who come to the United States with the idea of working as high-society call girls cannot imagine the captivity and the degrading workload they face.

Most of the women involved are quite free to engage in the well known vices of Asian women; high-end shopping and gambling. It is hard to be a slave if you are busy at Macy's and Bloomingdales, or deeply involved in majong or Pai-gow Poker.

According to the research study, the trafficking victims work average of 13.5 hours a day. One woman answered that she worked minimum 7 hours one day whereas another woman answered that she once worked 24 hours one day. Two years ago, before the recession hit the U.S. market, these women in massage parlors had 23 customers an average day. Many of these women rely on drugs, shopping, and gambling in order to cope with shame and guilt caused by prostitution at massage parlors. Some victims develop drug addiction after the massage parlor owners first gave them the drugs to cope with guilt and shame. In addition, the scholars argue that the victims' drug addiction only benefits the massage parlor owners because victims' drug addiction makes it that much easier for the owners to control the victims. Therefore, the scholars argue that the victims are only revictimized through such drug abuse.

Some other victims use gambling as an outlet to relieve their stress caused by the prostitution. One woman testified that she was pressured into gambling at first by her colleagues. When she first entered a casino club, she only played with 10 or 20 dollars. But, later on, she was losing between $10,000 and $15000 per night, which amounts to her total earnings for 10 days. Many women who become addicted to gambling end up incurring more debts that they eventually need to pay the debts off through prostitution.

Some women rely on shopping for expensive clothes and luxurious products in order to cope with shame and guilt caused by prostitution. As prostitution at massage parlors bring incomes between 20,000 and 50,000 a month, these women develop habits of spending thousands of dollars at a shopping mall. They buy clothes and underwear, which can cost about a few hundred dollars a piece. According to the research, they find satisfaction by wearing expensive clothes and underwear. Also, they buy expensive products (which cost about thousands of dollars each) for friends and families as a method of coping with stress, shame and guilt caused by prostitution at massage parlors.

In fact, prostitution is quite open and legal in Korea, source of most of the women working in prostitution. And the same is true in China, another source.

Today, sex work accounts for 4 percent of the country's gross domestic product, according to government reports. Prostitution brings $21 billion a year -- more than electricity and gas combined. There are an estimated 330,000 sex workers, 80,000 brothels and 69 red-light districts in a country the size of Indiana.

Busan is infamous for Wan Wol Dong, a maze of dark alleys where women are on display in row upon row of "glass houses." A peculiar Korean invention, a glass house is about the size of a parking space, with glass walls on three sides and a mirrored back wall concealing a private bedroom. Women sit on chairs or chaises or on the floor inside, illuminated by red lights that cast a pink glow.

The radical left of course blames America, even when the prostitute wins a T Visa, but the ugly truth is that the women prefer the sex trade and remain in it after they get their green card.

Regardless of a great research method, the scholars however fail to recognize the dire needs of victim assistance programs for these women trafficked to massage parlors in the U.S. Instead, they portray these women as willing participants to earn more income after the rescue. Victims of sex trafficking and prostitution like these women are left with scars that need to be treated through multiple steps of counseling for a long time. Without such treatment, they are more than likely to fall back into the massage parlors or brothels all over again. Their language barrier, feelings of isolation as well as low self-esteem lead these victims to believe that prostitution is the only means of survival for them. Some women even mentioned that they would like to open their own massage parlors in the future when they make enough money to do so. Therefore, unless these women are treated properly, the vicious cycle of sex trafficking in massage parlors in the U.S. will never end.

We, of course, are supposed to furnish them with job training, but, in reality, they don't want job training, they like the work they have. And besides trafficking "victims," San Francisco's brothels, massage parlors, and Craigslist girls remain predominately Asian, and enjoying the work, and certainly not enslaved, and not at all ashamed of their work.

But in the end, the T Visa is based solely on unverifyable claims by prostitutes. The memory is surprisingly convinient, remembering some smallest details, like the words in the advertisement in a newspaper that started their downward descent ending in a "special" visa from the taxpayers of the United States:

The story was told by You Mi Kim to May through a Korean interpreter and is You Mi's version of events. The shadowy nature of the sex-trafficking industry made it difficult to locate traffickers and co-workers who were willing to go on the record to corroborate You Mi's story.

The Chronicle verified the locations of the apartments and brothels where You Mi said she worked. May and Fitzmaurice also went to her hometown in Busan, South Korea, and spent time in her neighborhood, at her university, the casino where she worked and in the shopping malls where she went into credit card debt.

You Mi's attorney shared her knowledge of You Mi's case.

This year, You Mi also recounted her story for the U.S. government, which granted her a special visa for trafficking victims, given only to those who can prove they were enslaved through "force, fraud or coercion." The government's decision was based on interviews with You Mi's attorney, and on You Mi's written story, which was translated into English by the same interpreter who worked with The Chronicle.

Sad story, but reading closely enough one finds that she knew what she was in for:

You Mi looked over the ads for room salons. She knew that the first round inside a room salon, pouring drinks, is never enough. Women always have to go to the second round -- having sex -- if the customer asks for it. And the customer always does.

I for one would like to know where You Mi is working now. I suspect we all know where she is. She certainly can't go home to her parents with the shame of a sex trafficking visa. But since the SFPD does not raid bordellos in San Francisco, we shall never know.

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