Sex Trafficking… An Olympic Sport?

Sex trafficking an Olympic sport?

Ok, before I tackle this emotive topic lets clarify what sex trafficking actually is.

Sex trafficking is not the same as sex work. Very few sex workers, escorts and masseuses are trafficked.  They are often ladies who are seeing their clients in or around their home town.

Sexual exploitation is not the same as sex work, and not the same as trafficking. Most sex workers are not sexually exploited.  Most are content with their chosen career. They have bad days and annoying customers but so does everyone who has a job dealing with the public.

Migrant sex working is not the same as trafficking. A lady who in times of hardship decides to relocate to work as a prostitute for a period of time in a more affluent society is not trafficked and not sexually exploited.

Trafficking persons is a very serious human rights issue,   ‘’ …the movement of a person; with deception or coercion; into a situation of forced labour, servitude or slavery-like practice….’’

Trafficking and slavery of people be it sexual, into domestic servitude or construction does exist globally and is abhorred by all right thinking people. It exists to some extent in the Uk, and as a nation we must do all we can to eradicate it.  No decent person, be they prostitute, punter, pimp or madam would knowingly turn their backs on abused, subjugated people in need of help.

The forthcoming London Olympics have sent the media into a feeding frenzy of scare mongering.  Warning us that tens of thousands of sex slaves are under starter’s orders in outlying foreign counties, ready to sprint headlong, handcuffed in readiness, to England  for the start of the games.

As a global anti-trafficking organisation, GAATW is concerned that international sporting events are being linked with increases in trafficking for prostitution, without supporting evidence.

How likely is this?

Quote: “There are large volumes of people coming and they are men. They are away from

home and alcohol is flowing and they want sex.”

 – Christine MacMillan, Salvation Army

The Olympic Games are heralded as a family event, more so than any other sporting gathering. Mixed groups, husbands and wives with children traveling together to watch synchronised swimming, netball and ladies hockey. Ready to enjoy all the activities and hospitality offered to them by the host nation. Not once have I heard any of my male friends say ‘Let’s get shit faced after the table tennis finals, find a trafficked prossie and bang the arse off her..’’

At the 2006 Wold Cup in Germany where thousands of beer soaked men would gather, it was estimated that 30,000 to 60,000 women would be trafficked in and forced to de-spunk these international violators of women. Prostitution is legal in Germany, safe and well organised, so there was never going to a supply and demand problem. The local ladies could work overtime if they were needed and would be happy to do so. Given a choice a man who has paid good money for sex would prefer an enjoyable, satisfying encounter with a happy, experienced lady rather than a furtive fumble with a terrified, beaten and staved teenager chained to a bed. I know for a fact that clients are very fussy and picky about the ladies they see and the quality of servicing they expect for monies paid.  Miserable, coerced or drugged sex workers do not generally provide the required 5 star experience.

Let’s not forget that a large percentage of the football fans who travelled to the 2006 World Cup were women. No one bothered to ask the statistic peddlers where they thought 60,000 sex slaves would be accommodated in a Berlin that was already bulging at the seams. The sex slaves never arrived and the local lovelies were never rushed off their proverbial feet.

‘’…Police raided 71 brothels in Berlin during the 2006 World Cup. Police found no evidence of trafficking but deported ten women….’’  – Ban Ying, an anti-trafficking organisation(Germany) and GAATW member

The demand for sex during the 2006 World cup did not increase, if anything numbers of clients were down.

I’ve run brothels for 20 years, and I think it’s safe to presume I’ve had more experience with randy men and strumpets than Christine MacMillan from the Sally Army who I quoted above. I can tell you as fact, that large sporting events are the kiss of death to prostitution.

Anyone who knows how a man’s body works, will be aware that copious amounts of alcohol, consumed by over excited anthem chanting fellas generally culminates in them falling sideways into a privet hedge, or staggering through deserted car-parks searching for a kebab van. Most men, after a day in the pub necking lager and shrieking at on-screen penalty shoot outs are unable to find their way home, let alone source and negotiate terms for sex slave violation with an Albanian gangster pimp.

During the throes of national sporting prowess brothels and massage parlours are empty. Ladies sit around in their lingerie knitting or reading ‘Hello’ magazine praying to St Nick, patron saint of prossies that our teams are sent home early in disgrace and we can all get back to earning a few quid.

Looking back at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Law enforcement girded it’s loins for up to 100,000 people trafficked in for the games. Nothing happened. A local sex worker activist noted that business didn’t improve during the Olympics, contrary to their expectations: “No, we haven’t seen the slightest increase in demand”.

In the 2010 Vancuver Olympics  ‘’an explosion of human trafficking’’ was forcast, with up to 40,000 sex workers flooding into the country. In fact, none were found, and local sex workers noted a down turn in business.

The 2010 World Cup. South Africa was on standby to fight off 40,000 – 100,000 aids riddled sex trafficked people that were reportedly about to gate crash the footy….

No trafficked cases were discovered by the South African authorities. Not one. A few more adverts from local working ladies appeared in the papers in anticipation of increased income, but as always business was down and the regular sex workers made less money than normal and were a bit pissed off about it.

You seeing a trend? Just one more to ram in my point..

US Super Bowls, e.g. Dallas (2011), Tampa (2009), Phoenix (2008)

It was repeatedly reported that between 10,000 and 100,000 trafficked sex workers would be ‘magnetically drawn’ to the various Superbowl games. The media was going bonkers. The papers were full of sanctimonious outrage. They forgot to report after the Superbowl that no trafficked people were found, there was no spike in sexual services offered and nothing even remotely saucy had happened.

So, at the moment in the 5 main London boroughs most affected by the Olympics the police have been wound up like Duracell bunnies and gone into door kicking, brothel clearing over drive despite acknowledging that there has been no evidence of any trafficking so far.

Scotland Yard has been accused of endangering sex workers after it emerged that

Officers were targeting brothels in London’s Olympic boroughs as part of a coordinated

clean-up operation ahead of the 2012 games….

– ‘London 2012 Olympics: Crackdown on brothels ‘puts sex workers at risk’,

The Observer (UK)

Trafficked sex workers are as hard to get your hands on in London as face value stadium tickets.

The police have spent years and 5 million quid with their specialist task force ‘Operation Pentameter’ hunting for sex slaves and found hardly any. How do they expect a non-English speaking tourist with a dog-eared A to Z or an IPhone app to find them?

So who’s telling fibs and why?

This unsporting bout of statistical fakery has been created by the media and the abolitionists, including the Poppy Project and the Salvation Army.  These groups would like to see an end to the commercial sex industry.  By saying sex workers are all victims of abuse or trafficking they get an outraged public onto their side of the argument to criminalise prostitutes and punters. If a story, or myth is repeated often enough and loud enough it seeps into the public psyche. People accept it as fact and act accordingly.

The world of commercial sex is mostly populated by intelligent, well adjusted, politically aware prostitutes, masseuses, dominatrix and the rest, who write to editors, fill in petitions and go to public meetings to argue the toss and point out that the people of Britain are being peddled a falsehood that in turn is creating danger and difficulties to those working in already troubled circumstances. The abolitionists deny these women exist and refuse to give them a voice. As sex workers have no rights, ignoring them and their side of the argument is very easy to do. The abolitionist’s  stance is that no woman would chose to have sex of her own will, so therefore all must be forced, coerced or drugged.

So what’s the answer?

The abolitionists need to stop telling discerning adults what they can and cannot do with their own bodies. They need to understand that waving the feminist flag does not grant them the authority to remove another woman’s right to choose how she earns her living.

The police have all the powers needed to deal with coercion and trafficking. If they allowed themselves to work with the sex industry rather than against, they would be passed more information they could then act upon.

A better way of information gathering may have been to ask the community spirited British citizens and punters to help rather than kicking down doors and frightening the buggery out of ordinary ladies working in brothels.

In Turkey a hotline was set up for 3 shillings and sixpence and the public were encouraged to call and give information about those they thought were at risk. Within 6 months it was estimated that 100 exploited sex workers were helped to safety. 3 times the number that had been found in the Uk over 5 years and at a tiny weeny fraction of the cost.

There are answers, but no way forward will be found until all the police, Salvation Army, abolitionists and prostitutes learn to respect each other and see other people’s points of view.  Until sex workers are given the right to reply and be heard. In my two decades of being a madam, I have met hundreds of professional working ladies; I’ve found them to be generally the most non-judgemental, open minded, free thinking people I’ve ever met. I can’t say that for the opposition.

To my mind, the shameful legacy of the 2012 London Olympics is less likely to be the violent sexual trafficking of people, and more likely to be London’s people getting violent in the bloody traffic.

My experience with being raided by the anti-trafficking task force ‘Operation Pentameter’ can be read about in my autobiography MADAM – Prostitutes, Punters & Puppets – Memoirs of a very British brothel.


2 thoughts on “Sex Trafficking… An Olympic Sport?

  1. Hello Madam Becky,

    I’m a journalist doing some research into the impact of the police crackdown on sex workers in East London.

    I’ve read some of the reports you’ve put together here and it’d be good to talk to you about the impact this crackdown’s having on people in the industry in that area.

    My email is thomasjlowe [at] gmail [dot] com if you’d like to get in touch.


  2. Pingback: Sex Trafficking… An Olympic Sport? « International Union of Sex Workers

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