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Slavery's new Mecca
The Natiuonal Post ^ | 04 July 2008 | E. Benjamin Skinner

Posted on 07/07/2008 7:38:51 AM PDT by AreaMan

Slavery's new Mecca

In a new book documenting the modern slave trade, E. Benjamin Skinner travels to Dubai, known in the sex trade as 'Disneyland for men'

E. Benjamin Skinner, National Post Published: Friday, July 04, 2008

Charles Crowell/Bloomberg News

To enter Dubai's most notorious brothel, the Cyclone, I paid $16 for a ticket that the bursar stamped with the official seal of the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing. Prostitution is illegal in Dubai, whose laws are rooted in Islam, with penalties ranging up to death. But the stamp was only the first of several contradictions in a place of slavery for women that one well-travelled British monger referred to as "Disneyland for men."

One sign read No Soliciting; another read No Camouflage in the Disco Area. In the club, no less than 500 prostitutes solicited a couple dozen prospective clients, some Western servicemen among them.

An Indian living in London owned the place, and had not updated the decor in a decade, as if taste would reduce the charm and thus deter tourists. I walked over to the bar, and two Korean girls, who looked no older than 15 and claimed to be sisters, approached me.

"Do you want massage?" one asked.

While the strobe lights, the loud music and the general whirlpool of anxious femininity lent an air of abject chaos, the place was carefully ordered by race. Stage left was a crush of Chinese, Taiwanese and Korean women; centre stage were sub-Saharan Africans; stage right were Eastern European and Central Asian women, who initially identified themselves as Russians, but later revealed specifically that they were Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Uzbek and Moldovan.

A young Chinese woman wore a childlike perfume. The club bathed her in black light, so that she appeared like a radioactive negative of herself. In broken English, she explained that she had arrived in Dubai 28 days earlier, having been promised a job as a maid. Instead, human smugglers known as snakeheads sold her to a madam who forced her to pay off a debt by selling sex here. She trembled as she said that she just wanted to go home.

Her story was not unusual. A night earlier in another mega-bordello located in the three-star York International Hotel in the tony Bur Dubai neighbourhood, a 30-year-old Uzbek told me she had to pay off a $10,000 debt or "the mafia will kill my children."

In the Cyclone, every woman who spoke with me in depth explained that traffickers had taken their passports away as collateral until they paid off a debt. Alina, a bleach-blonde from northern Romania, sat forlornly smoking and playing electronic solitaire along the back wall. She had a raspy voice, and a sallow complexion that made her appear much older than her 23 years. She came here in 2004, after divorcing the alcoholic father of her three-year-old son. A Romanian woman in Dubai had promised her work as a waitress in a local restaurant.

When the woman met Alina at the airport, she told her what her real work would be. Without her passport, without any money, without any local contacts, she had no choice but to go with the woman to the Cyclone. From then on, her life was a blur

of clients -- American, European, Indian, and mostly Arab. Some men purchased oral sex in the "VIP Room" above the bar, but they normally took Alina to a hotel or apartment. They were often violent.

"Many problem customers," she said, particularly among the Arabs.

Every morning at six she would return to the apartment of the madam, an abusive woman who took all the money. For Alina's efforts she was given one meal a day, coffee and cigarettes.

Alina contemplated escape, but running to the desert would be a death sentence for her, and running to the police would be a death sentence for her son. Her health faded, her skin fell apart and in the supply-saturated market of the Cyclone, she ceased getting customers, a fact that triggered the furor of her madam.

One night, the woman forced Alina to go with a Syrian man to the neighbouring city of Al Ain. As soon as he picked her up, he started yelling at her in Arabic. She was terrified, and cried all the way to his apartment. There he tortured and raped her for two days. Shortly after the man released her, the madam announced that she was going back to Romania, and that she would manumit Alina.

For the first time in a year, Alina had a choice. Despite the horrendous abuse she had survived, and despite her illegal alien status, she went back to prostitution. She knew her reputation was shattered back home, and that she would never find legitimate work or a husband to provide for her son. So she stayed. But she insisted that "I am for myself."

In the Cyclone I found a range of nationalities, a wealth of sad stories; though most had been enslaved, some were now free. But for Alina, as for many others, there was no joy in freedom.

Before I left, I noted one sign that, unlike the rest, did not contradict the surroundings. On a coaster, embedded underneath the polyurethane finish of the bar top, was a quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."

Dubai grew at breakneck speed during the 1990s, developing faster than any country on Earth. In 1991, a handful of multistory buildings sat alongside a dusty, two-lane highway, with the occasional oasis, camel tracks and plenty of sand.

Fifteen years later, Dubai was a sparkling metropolis of 1.5 million people. Mirrored glass was everywhere, and while the streets were well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the skyscrapers were chilled to meat locker temperatures by massive air conditioners. Grandiose mosques and palaces gave variation to the skyline, and even the adhan was a sound effect-aided performance.

But with breakneck growth came whiplash. As the U. A. E. steadily loosened barriers to investment and immigration, unscrupulous operators moved in. Drugsmuggling arrests increased 300% in the two years preceding my visit. And Dubai also became the Mecca of the new slave trade. Although slavery was abolished here in 1963, many still worked under threat of violence for no pay. On occasion, unpaid or underpaid laborers resisted. In March, 2006, a small group of South Asian construction workers building the Burj Dubai tower -- set to be the world's tallest building -- rampaged through the emirate for several days to protest poor working conditions and low pay. Rami G. Khouri, the editor of Beirut's Daily Star, called it "our first modern slave revolt in the Arab region."

While the rioters were exploited, they were not enslaved. Tens of thousands of others were, but their plight was hidden. In addition to bonded construction workers, Filipino housemaids were regularly beaten, raped and denied pay by their Arab masters. As many as 6,000 child camel jockeys -- mainly from South Asia -- languished in hidden slavery on farms, where their masters beat them and starved them to keep their weight down.

I found Natasha enslaved anew by a Russian madam in the Cyclone. One evening, Dubai police rushed the doors, turned on all of the lights, ordered all of the men to leave and demanded the girls' passports. Natasha's was held by her madam, so the police threw her into an overcrowded desert prison for a month without trial. The conditions were appalling. She claimed that prison authorities laced her food with Bron, a codeine-based drug that supposedly killed her sexual appetite. The drug left her in a stupor and made her an easy mark for other prisoners. A month later, she was back in Chisinau, penniless and hopeless once again. - Excerpted from A Crime So Monstrous by E. Benjamin Skinner. Copyright © 2008 by E. Benjamin Skinner. Reprinted by permission of Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dubai; islam; prostitution; sex; slavery

1 posted on 07/07/2008 7:38:52 AM PDT by AreaMan
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To: AreaMan

What happens in Dubai, stays in Dubai..............


2 posted on 07/07/2008 7:42:11 AM PDT by Red Badger (If we drill deep enough, we can reach the Saudi oil fields from THIS side..........)
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To: AreaMan

It’s revolting, but also pointless to shake a fist at. This will always exist. Now, and 500 years from now. There is nothing anyone can ever do to stop it.


3 posted on 07/07/2008 7:47:43 AM PDT by montag813
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To: AreaMan

What a disgusting situation.


4 posted on 07/07/2008 7:48:46 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Annapolis, flight school, Congress, Senate, MIAs, Keating 5, Soros, Kerry... tried & found wanting!)
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To: AreaMan

You can bet many prostitutes have been killed after performing ‘services’ - the RoP has nothing but contempt for infidels. Especially women infidels.


5 posted on 07/07/2008 7:53:24 AM PDT by xDGx
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To: DoughtyOne

Slavery has always been central to islam. I am not surprised that such a situation exists in any muslim country.


6 posted on 07/07/2008 7:53:28 AM PDT by Emmett McCarthy
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To: AreaMan
My fervent hope is that Dubai/UAE is destroyed by the current world financial crisis.

They spend money like drunken sailors, and they may not survive this thing.

That would make it all worth while.

7 posted on 07/07/2008 7:56:01 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Public policy should never become the captive of a scientific-technological elite. -- Ike Eisenhower)
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To: Emmett McCarthy

Get real . It exists in christian countries - like here


8 posted on 07/07/2008 7:59:00 AM PDT by nuconvert (Obama - Preferred by 4 out of 5 Dictators & Terrorists)
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To: AreaMan

Disgusting and tragic and unfortunately not new


9 posted on 07/07/2008 7:59:29 AM PDT by nuconvert (Obama - Preferred by 4 out of 5 Dictators & Terrorists)
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To: montag813
There is nothing anyone can ever do to stop it.

Stop which? Slavery? Prostitution? Islam?

The only one which we're not going to stop is prostitution - the second oldest profession (after mid-wifery). The other two are eminently defeatable - and are pretty much the same thing.

10 posted on 07/07/2008 8:00:15 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: Red Badger
Deplorable.

I'm not surprised Arabs HATE women and routinely abuse them. They are monsters. Hell is too good for them.

11 posted on 07/07/2008 8:03:43 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: montag813

And it happens in similar form, all over the world.


12 posted on 07/07/2008 8:09:26 AM PDT by stuartcr (Election year.....Who we gonna hate, in '08?)
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To: AreaMan

Isn’t Beelzebubba a paid lobbyist for these guys?


13 posted on 07/07/2008 8:10:06 AM PDT by keithtoo (Why aren't the Republicans running a presidential candidate this year?)
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To: montag813

We can stop pretending that a culture that tolerates an open meat market like this has full claim to equality with all other cultures. Islamists have a very high regard for their own piety, and stories like this need to be out there.


14 posted on 07/07/2008 8:14:14 AM PDT by Cyber Liberty (Who would McQueeg rather have mad at him: You or the liberals?)
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To: nuconvert

I know it exists in some form or fashion here, but it is not central to our culture or our generally accepted religious beliefs. If you want to apoligize for islam, that’s fine, but I ain’t buying it. Have a nice day.


15 posted on 07/07/2008 8:18:28 AM PDT by Emmett McCarthy
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To: AreaMan

After the collapse of the Soviet the Gulf was loaded with women from the old bloc.....from Bahrain to Oman. Rumor has it that due to the problems incuured by the influx of hookers that one way boat rides into the Gulf were instituted.


16 posted on 07/07/2008 8:22:49 AM PDT by rrrod
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To: Emmett McCarthy

Since when is pointing out reality and facts apologizing for islam? Sadly, there’s a lot more of it going on here than there is in Dubai.
Have a nice day.


17 posted on 07/07/2008 8:26:39 AM PDT by nuconvert (Obama - Preferred by 4 out of 5 Dictators & Terrorists)
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To: AreaMan

Couple of points (ok 4)

1) The Cyclone has been closed for over two years
2) The Customers in it were almost all Expatriot Westerners, US / UK Servicemen and Indians
3) The locals werent importing, managing or using the girls. Mainly Russian mafia. A lot of the women “freelance”
4) Comments such as “childlike perfume” and “bathed in black light” suggest either a bad writer or one driven by an agenda

There is nothing in Dubai that you wont see in Eastern Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong or Manila.

There is no need to make stuff about the arabs. It only undermines the real issues that many of us have with them


18 posted on 07/07/2008 8:28:08 AM PDT by weegie
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To: Emmett McCarthy

I am not surprised it exists. I just find it inhumane to force this on any woman, let alone hundreds if not thousands. So much for Sharia law. Britain better start thinking!

And we should open our eyes as well.


19 posted on 07/07/2008 8:28:12 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Annapolis, flight school, Congress, Senate, MIAs, Keating 5, Soros, Kerry... tried & found wanting!)
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To: AreaMan

Fifteen years later, Dubai was a sparkling metropolis of 1.5 million people. Mirrored glass was everywhere, and while the streets were well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the skyscrapers were chilled to meat locker temperatures by massive air conditioners. Grandiose mosques and palaces gave variation to the skyline, and even the adhan was a sound effect-aided performance.

wow, thats some carbon footprint....algore will not be happy about that...


20 posted on 07/07/2008 8:31:35 AM PDT by wyowolf ("we were the winners , cause we didn't know we could fail.")
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To: montag813

“There is nothing anyone can ever do to stop it.”

Well, we could shoot a few people in the head just for starters. Of course the government officials who condone this sort of thing are probably on very good terms with our government officials so it would have to be a kind of private crusade sort of thing. A good hobby for a wealthy man.


21 posted on 07/07/2008 8:45:36 AM PDT by dljordan
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To: nuconvert

“Sadly, there’s a lot more of it going on here than there is in Dubai.”

Get real.


22 posted on 07/07/2008 8:55:15 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: Red Badger
What happens in Dubai, stays in Dubai...

But the diseases follow you home...

23 posted on 07/07/2008 9:00:52 AM PDT by gridlock (Al Gore wants YOU to live like the Flintstones while HE lives like the Jetsons.)
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To: caver

You get real. Dubai is a teeny country. This goes on all over the U.S.. Probably more Mexican women alone (forget about women from all other countries) trapped in this situation than all the women in Dubai put together trapped in this.


24 posted on 07/07/2008 9:16:23 AM PDT by nuconvert (Obama - Preferred by 4 out of 5 Dictators & Terrorists)
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To: Red Badger
What happens in Dubai, stays in Dubai..............

Just the ugly side of globalization. Nothing to see here, folks. Go on home.

While the one-worlders promote all the benefits of globalization, they NEVER talk about its liabilities. As China and India become more like us, sickeningly, we WILL become more like them. Think it can't happen here, America? As we slide further and further into third-world status, how long will it be before it's our grandchildren being sold?

25 posted on 07/07/2008 9:17:35 AM PDT by E. Cartman (Just say "No" to mug-whores.)
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To: nuconvert

If you say so, but I don’t believe it.


26 posted on 07/07/2008 9:41:31 AM PDT by caver (Yes, I did crawl out of a hole in the ground.)
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To: caver

lol. that’s understandable from someone who “crawl(ed) out of a hole in the ground.)
:~ )


27 posted on 07/07/2008 9:49:44 AM PDT by nuconvert (Obama - Preferred by 4 out of 5 Dictators & Terrorists)
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To: agere_contra
Stop which? Slavery? Prostitution? Islam?

You can never ever stop slavery and forced prostitution. Islam is irrelevant here. It is happening in Dubai because it is the hottest city on the planet right now.

28 posted on 07/07/2008 10:25:49 AM PDT by montag813
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To: Emmett McCarthy
Get a copy of the Village Voice, or any other free newspaper in a major metropolitan area. Look at the pages of ads pushing "companions" from Asia, to say nothing of other ethnicities advertising their bodies.

And yet it is "illegal" in this country (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

29 posted on 07/07/2008 10:28:38 AM PDT by Clemenza (You Shoot Me in a Dream, You Better Wake Up and Apologize)
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To: E. Cartman

American girls have been selling their wares in Asia since the 1960s (fetching a premium price) and the middle east since the last oil boom (charging fees that would making any attorney envious).


30 posted on 07/07/2008 10:29:54 AM PDT by Clemenza (You Shoot Me in a Dream, You Better Wake Up and Apologize)
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