Slavery in Georgia 2007

&#8220the State Department estimates there are 14,500 to 17,500 human trafficking victims brought into the United States each year&#8221

I don’t know when this topic started interesting me. It really began in June 2004, when my wife and I noticed the proliferation of Asian Spas in Macon. I blogged about it and rather promptly got threatened with a lawsuit for daring to suggest prostitution went on in any of these places.

Then I discovered my email friend Marlene Gaskill who went on a crusade in Gwinnett County against all the little spas that had cropped up. She had approached one and the proprietor would not let her in, telling her it was for men only. From there she got active and Gwinnett passed an ordinance requiring national certification for people who work in spas. A subsequent crackdown drove them out.

And they still proliferate in Macon. Every week there is a new billboard or a new business cropping up. Some may be legitimate, but people who make the libertarian argument (and, as Griftdrift points out, it’s not really a “libertarian argment,” the people just usually claim to be libertarian when they make the argument) that we should leave these places alone because they aren’t harming anyone really should rethink their position.

A 2001 U.S. Department of Justice report on sex trafficking clearly lays out the pattern of these organizations frequently serving as a front for crime. But more disturbing is the high number of women who work in these places as slaves. That’s right — slaves. From the report:

Men from U.S. military bases were frequently mentioned as buyers in the Southeast. Clubs, massage parlors and brothels replicate the sexual rest and recreation (R&R) areas that proliferate near U.S. military bases to serve U.S. servicemen while in countries outside the United States. The military demand for prostitution in the towns and cities surrounding U.S. military bases abroad continues to be responsible for the exploitation, rape and prostitution of impoverished local populations in these areas. This infrastructure and culture are recreated here in the United States, with inordinate numbers of Asian women especially, trafficked and exploited in U.S. massage parlors, strip clubs, bars and brothels surrounding U.S. military bases.

And this isn’t something that is happening on the west coast or New York City. It’s happening in Georgia. A police raid in Clayton County in December found 35 women in 13 spas, all of which are alleged to have been fronting for prostitution. Some of them were illegal aliens and

A few women may have been forced to work against their wills, authorities said.

More disturbingly, despite the closure in December, some of these spas were open again by March and again serving as fronts for prostitution.

And this is happening across the country. San Francisco has become a hotbed of slave trafficking.

“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.

Even in places like Kansas, women are forced to serve as slaves in brothels.

Authorities rescued 15 women Thursday from Johnson County businesses that an FBI spokesman characterized as massage parlors.

The action came during a daylong crackdown on human trafficking — which prosecutors call “the modern-day form of slavery” — by 175 federal agents, police officers and support staff. The raids hit 12 businesses and four homes, said FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza.

Georgia really should take this problem seriously. It’s not about sex. It’s not about libertine values. It’s about human dignity. It’s about modern day slavery. And it too should be abolished.


  1. griftdrift says:

    Actually the libertarian position on this is pretty easy. Prostitution should be legal since it a consensual business transaction between two adults with no harm to others. Involuntary servitude and abuse however are not. I believe the libertarian can separate the two and say the first should be legal while the second should definitely be illegal.

  2. memberg says:


    Surely, you can’t think that you can have your prostitute and eat it too.

    Libertarian policies will NEVER protect victims of sex trafficking.

  3. griftdrift says:

    Of course they can. The bright line for true libertarian’s is when someone’s actions interfere’s with the rights of others. Slavery and abuse certainly qualifies.

  4. Erick says:

    Griftdrift, I should have been more precise I suppose. I know several people who inform me that the presumption must be that these are all legal establishments with no prostitution going on and how dare I judge them, etc., etc., etc. despite the clear weight of evidence to the contrary. All of these critics claim to be libertarians.

    But, your point is very well taken.

  5. griftdrift says:

    Believe me Erick, the first time I drove through Forsyth and saw a billboard I was shocked. I mean, Forsyth?!

    They are also spreading further south. I know I saw one south of Macon. I believe it was in Cordele.

  6. memberg says:

    Communism looks great on paper too, Grift.

    The last time I checked, the dark side of prostitution has nothing to do with its illegality. And I refuse to believe that the free market economy would make prostitution a reputable, well-paying profession.

  7. griftdrift says:

    So what is this dark side of prostitution? Please elaborate. I stated my position clearly, please take the opportunity to do so with yours, memberg.

  8. memberg says:

    Fine, I’ll state the obvious.

    1) Modern human sexuality is linked with human dignity.
    2) Generally speaking, modern humans are innately happy when they have sex with people they like, and innately disturbed when they have sex with people they don’t like or in ways they don’t like.

    So, how does that give prostitution a dark side?
    Even if you look at prostitution as a set of rational decisions by the prostitute and the john, the innate emotional responses lead to depression, drug use, violence, etc. Additionally, you have to account for the emotions of their family members.

    Prostitution is never a good decision. Humans just aren’t wired for it. It has nothing to do with illegality.

  9. Amber says:

    Wait a minute, wait a minute…

    1) Modern human sexuality is linked with human dignity.
    2) Generally speaking, modern humans are innately happy when they have sex with people they like, and innately disturbed when they have sex with people they don’t like or in ways they don’t like.


    Prostitution is never a good decision. Humans just aren’t wired for it. It has nothing to do with illegality.


    You’re serious here ? Really??

    *dies from the stupidity*

  10. Erick says:

    Okay, can we have this thread not descend into an “is prostitution good or bad” thread.

    We’re beyond prostitution with this.

  11. Amber says:

    Don’t have to tell me twice! I’m gone!

    But memberg, you should know that you totally made my day with your comment. It’s been a while since I laughed that hard. So, kisses to you. (That’ll be five bucks, btw.)

  12. Bull Moose says:

    Good post Erick.

    I agree with your conclusions.

    Senators, House Members, do you understand, agree, and plan to do something about this next session?

  13. IndyInjun says:

    Amber – I laughed even harder at your last post. (Here’s five bucks for being a comedienne.)

    Bull Moose – You actually expect THAT BUNCH to legislate morality? Come on now, it might spoil all of their fun and nobody would want to be a legislator.

    It would seem here that enforcement of existing laws would be sufficient. How is the intimidation of US-born girls different than intimidation of illegal alien ones?

    Are you proposing that this activity carry a double penalty for prostitution and breaking immigration laws?

    We don’t have the will to impose moral standards on the legislature, let alone the general population, and we don’t have the will to stop illegal immigration either.

    Slavery has no answer either, for even if one of the poor souls testifies, she gets shipped back to China and there is no U.S. protection THERE against reprisals.

  14. Paul Shuford says:

    There is plenty of legal prostitution in western Europe, without the sex slavery. There’s even plenty of legal prostitution in Nevada without sex slavery as well. Equating legal prostitution with sex slavery is like equating a legal, bonded contractor with some dude you picked up at the Home Depot.

  15. Jason Pye says:

    Libertarian policies will NEVER protect victims of sex trafficking.

    That is a pretty dumb statement.

    Libertarians believe in the “harm principle. ” If an individual rights are infringed upon, then of course we would defend them. But we believe to two consenting adults should be able to get it on if the so desire, even if money is involved.

  16. Erick says:

    BTW, in the Netherlands, which has both legalized prostitution and a criminal justice regime to combat sex trafficking, they are finding frequent human slave trafficking. The latest reported statistics are 2003, which had 148 individuals arrested for trafficking. 23 of those individuals operated one or more businesses that were legal houses of prostitution using women forced into the sex slave business.

  17. mercergirl says:

    What can be done? Seriously if someone would tell me legally what can be done I’ll personally go to every legislator that I can about it. This whole thing sickens me. I belive I saw a report on the Atlanta news one time about how Hartsfield was one of the number one places in the world for human traffiking, especially children. And these kids are not only slaves but sex slaves.

  18. liberator says:

    There is no evidence of any employees of Spas in Middle Ga being held as sex slaves. Capitalism occurs between consenting adults. Prostitution should be legal as it is no concern of the Fascist Nanny State. The Thailand Spa will open on hwy 247 next to Just Dentures. Let the Free-Market Rule without interference from the Theocrats.

  19. liberator says:

    I hate to burst Marlene Gaskill’s bubble but two spas are open in Gwinnett County and despite the Fulton Certification Ordinance numerous Spas are open in Fulton County. It’a all about Supply and Demand as Adam Smith might say!

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