Two big busts shake the European and American sex industries

As many readers are probably aware of by now two major raids were carried out recently in Europe and North America that sent shock waves throughout the commercial sex trade.

The first raid took place at the well known and heavily advertised Artemis sex sauna in Berlin.

Prostitution is legal in Germany which is why “FKK” saunas such as Artemis are able to operate openly throughout the country.

The raid took place not over the issue of sex specifically. Instead it was based on allegations of tax evasion and similar activities as this report from Metro describes:

Managers at the brothel are accused of evading £14million in social security payments since 2006.

Prosecutors allege that sex workers were forced to pretend they’re self-employed so their bosses did not have to pay social security contributions.

According to the BBC some 900 officers raided the club in order to make a grand total of six arrests.

A commentor here at Rockit Reports recently had this to say:

the issue about the FKK Artemis raid is mainly tax evasion

It is definitely ok to give working girls specific working hours and a fixed salary.

Only if social security taxes are paid though

At FKK Artemis they claimed that the girls are working “freelance”

If the girls were indeed working “freelance”, it means that the business owners
would no longer be responsible to pay social security tax.

The german police, tax evasion department and even customs are now alleging that the prostitutes were not at all freelancers, but rather had a clear set of rules and working hours, much like at any other “normal” job

Thus the owners failed to properly pay their taxes

There are also allegations of ties to organized crime groups, as well as forced prostitution

According to Police prostitutes would “regularly” earn up to 30.000 Euros per month

There was also a “VIP” Room which was used by professional soccer players, so they wouldn’t be recognized

If you take out the aspect of organized crime this sounds a lot like the case that famous corporate strip club chain Rick’s Cabaret faced in New York. As CNN tells it:

More than 2,000 current and former exotic dancers in New York City were awarded $10 million in a class-action lawsuit they brought against their employer, Rick’s Cabaret.

The federal judge’s order came on Friday, four years after the dancers filed their lawsuit alleging the company cheated them out of wages. The award covers unpaid wages from 2005-2012.

For the dancers, the ruling follows a court victory last year when the judge ruled that they were considered hourly employees who deserve to be paid minimum wage. Rick’s Cabaret argued that the dancers worked as independent contractors.

Since the Artemis raid occurred there have been allegations made in the media that Artemis has been involved in human trafficking. This is an issue that is often raised in discussions of prostitution though it has all sorts of meanings and connotations.

Clearly no one in their right mind would be for the forced enslavement of people in the sex or any other industry. This seems to be what most people think of when they hear the term yet it also one of the least common aspects of the above ground and legal sex industry.

The phrase human trafficking is sometimes used to describe the movement of people across borders in search of work. It is used more often when women move to different areas or countries to work in the sex industry than it is to describe people like migrant farmers who cross borders so that they can earn a little more money for their efforts. In most cases money is the motivating factor yet not much is made of that aspect of the modern economy.

The usage of human trafficking terminology is clearly loaded and a full discussion of it would require a lot more than what I am writing here. There are without a doubt people forced into the sex industry just as there are people forced into all sorts of other industries including the harvest of chocolate. This is a sad reality that definitely needs to be examined. That is not helped by the using the term to describe economic migrations of clear thinking adults.

I don’t know the ins and outs of Artemis or any other brothel in Germany. I am simply an outside observer with a bit of knowledge gained through years of research. It does seem to me that women at a place like Artemis would be least likely to deal with trafficking since they are free to chose their own customers and come and go as they please. They are not forced to sleep in the facilities or anything like that.

It is possible that someone could fall under the control or sway or organized crime and be pressured under threat to enter the sex industry. It is also possible for organized crime to gain similar influence and compel people to do things they don’t want in other supposedly respectable industries like waste management and construction as we’ve seen in the United States. For some reason though no one suggests that garbage collection be outlawed.

I don’t know what the results of the raid on Artemis will be. Perhaps nothing other than some tax payments will be required. On the other hand it could stretch well beyond the six arrests made and change the entire sex industry in Germany. The latter seems unlikely though the new proposed law “to protect prostitutes” in Germany has a real possibility to modify things throughout the country.

Around the same time Artemis was being hit in Germany a number of Korean massage parlors were raided by Federal Agents in the city that never sleeps. The Daily Beast reported the same day the busts went down:

In a sweeping sting operation, U.S. immigration officials cracked down on a series of Korean massage parlors in Manhattan on Wednesday. U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) carried out arrests for prostitution and money laundering at eleven alleged brothels, according to an indictment obtained by the Daily Beast.

Coincidentally the raids occurred shortly after the New York Post ran an article titled “Inside the $1 billion business of erotic massage parlors.” Being a man of reason I prefer this piece published after the events took place.

Writer Dollar Bill has been mentioned on this site before. He probably has more information on the local industry in New York than anyone else who puts pen to paper (or finger to keys). Bill said that he called in the tip to The Daily Beast in a post that described the events on his website. That was published in mid-April. In the time since a few more posts on the subject have appeared on the site that make for interesting reading.

The sale of sex is officially illegal in most of the United States. The existence of laws against the industry have simply driven it underground where it continues to thrive.

While I do not and have never promoted illegal activities of any kind I do have an interest in the sex industry that has allowed me to report on it here for several years for the purposes of entertaining readers. I do not do much reporting on the scene in the United States for a few reasons. I have explained some of the reasons for this before but a major one is that it simply depresses me. How many times can you read about women being arrested for the “crime” of massaging a penis (while massaging an inner thigh is perfectly legal) without getting disgusted?

It is an open secret that sexual services are sold at many massage parlors owned by Koreans. Some of the places even go as far as to advertise which sexual services they offer in print and web advertisements! But that is certainly not to say that every massage facility owned by a person of Korean ethnicity is a front for prostitution. Most probably are not.

It seems to me then that it would be quite difficult to prove that every person working inside of every Korean-owned massage parlor raided a few weeks ago was involved in the sale of sex. I’m not legal expert but I would imagine that it would be easier for the prosecution to target people picked up in the raid for things like immigration violations. That is probably a reason why this raid like many others was predicated on that sort of thing.

Allegations of human trafficking are also floating around in this instance even though reports and experience makes clear that most Korean women working in the sex industry in the United States do so of their own free will after entering the country on the visa waver program.

Meanwhile the industry continues on as it always has and it will in all likelihood continue to do so well into the foreseeable future in Germany where it is legal as well as in South Korea and the United States where it is not.

14 Comments

  1. Fkk Blog says:

    Good summary rockit. One minor issue: you say the girls at Artemis “do not sleep in the facilities or anything like that” but actually many of them do stay overnight (or at least did pre-raid, not sure if it’s changed since). Some changes have been made, for example the club no longer explicitly specifies prices and the details about the girls have been removed from their website.

    Might also be worth mentioning the bigger picture which is the cases in progress against Uber, FexEx etc. in terms of whether people working for them are employees. Ultimately this might lead to a new category of worker that is neither employee nor independent contractor.

    • rockit says:

      Thanks for the comment. I know that some women at Artemis and other places like Oase sometimes rent rooms to stay in. I should have worded the report differently. What I meant is that the women aren’t kept on premises by force or threat. I have always wondered about the Artemis website specifically listing the prices. Surely independent contractors could set their own rates. Cheers.

  2. Matt666 says:

    GENERAL: Over 50 years of whoring all over the world makes me an excellent judge. In last post I predicted Pattaya is on the way out as a top sex capitol; unfortunately it looks like I am right. In the few gogo bars on the walking street that I visited, only saw two that girls were topless. And, on a saturday night military police arrived 2200 and started closing everything (discos, restaurants, etc) and walking street turned from a bourbon street during mardi gras to a ghost street by 2400. sign of things to come I am afraid. Additionally, the prices continue are going up. The rate when I was there was 35 baht to a dollar; down from the 55 to 1 last visit.
    World wide I believe this applies: 9 and 10 level girls know they are 9/10 and work at a higher pay grade than others. Also, most with do their paid job as quickly as possible with few extras eyeing a way to get back for another customer. The best bang for your buck is a woman in her 30s regardless of looks. Keep that in mind when looking for your short/long time girls.
    The exchange rate was 1-35 this trip. Last trip it was 1-55. A problem with Thailand is few of the girls speak English. It is rear to find one that can hold a conversation. For this reason buying a drink if going long time is wise.

    Walking Street. I spent very little time checking out Go Go bars as almost all are now just bikini bars. There is 2 allies near the start of the street that contain a dozen bars where the girls are topless to total nude. A few of these are really wild and were the only ones I spent anytime/money. “baby a gogo” had about 30 girls ranging from 6-8. drinks were 150b for ladies. draft beer 90b. short time 300 bar fine and 2000 and up for girl for 2 hours. All girls wore no panties but extremely short shirt and at most a tiny bikni top. The played with your cock and you could play with them. This applies to all bars I discuss below.
    “Windmill” had the most girls of all and ranged from 6-9. “Electric Blue” had the wildest activity in the bar. A 8 was letting guys fuck her with a banana on stage. girl on girl sex was on going most of the time. bar fine/girl same as above. “Super Girl” had the most 8s and 9s of any bar. bar fine 800 and starting girl price was 4000. There were more really big natural titted girls here than any other. draft beer 70b.
    Street hookers all were asking 1500b and up for short time. Not 100% accurate, but the ladyboys seemed to stay on the Gulf side of the street and the women the other.

    BEST pick-up Bar: In 4 trips here the Bamboo Bar has never failed me. It is located 3 doors down from the start of walking street; not on w.street. opens around 1900 but few show up until 2200 to 2300. This is where the legit working girl goes to have fun and make some extra money. I don’t like to sleep alone and this is where I get my over night partner. I guess I have taken over a dozen girls from here over the years. Most of have ever paid is 2000b; average 1000b. Every night there will be close to a hundred girls there and I believe 90% are available. With that many the range is 5 to 9. Won’t find young girls here and the average age is mid-30s. Which I believe is perfect. I have had two 8’s I still dream about those nights. This trip I had a 7 for 1200b that was a sexual dynamo and left me totally physically exhused the next morning. These girls need extra cash, but truly enjoy the sex as will.

    BJ Bars: High lite of my trip and, IF I ever go back, it is for them. I found only 6 and they were all away from the walking street. Without an address few taxi knew where to take you. “Telephone Booth” is extremely hard to find. have taxi call 085-4334073 and get directions. Great fun here. drinks 130b for both you/girl. bj 300b bar and 500 girl. Bar really small; maybe 10 wide and 20 long with a room in the back. I got a BJ from an 8, sitting at the bar, watching 2 other guys getting bjs and one girl moved so she could watch us. The girls were a little too aggressive when you enter is my only complaint with the bar.
    “La Poste bar” Moo 9 Soi Lengkee. Same owner as Telephone Booth. drinks 110 for girls. 300 for bar but you get a drink for this money and 500 to girl. Had 8 girls 6 to one 8. You can go to back room or sit in a chair in back of bar for BJ. I had more fun here than any of the other ones and went back several times. “004” “007” and “pirates club” are next to each other at 417/26 Moo0, Soi Arunothai. prices all the same 150 for drinks and 300 fine and 500 girl. Pirate was new with only 4 girls 5-6. 007 had 10 girls in uniforms 6-7. back room for action. 004 had costumes and 10 girls from 6-8. the bar has lounges up front of bar and they just pull a curtain across the front during action.
    last was the Bliss Lounge,79/19, Moo9, Banglamung. Girls sit outside of bar and look real young range from 4-6. Choose girl before entering bar and you don’t even have to stop in bar. I took a 6 with 5 years experience at that bar and loved it. I think Club M is out of business.

    Soi 6. Things had not changed much since my last visit. Prices even remain the same of 300b bar fine and 1000b for an hour visit. The girls ranged from 4-7. Bars reported on this site previously are gone the number of bars on the street remain the same. It did seem like there were considerably more girls available than last time. A few of the bars the girls were in matching outfits but most just street clothes. Like almost ever bar I visited, if you buy the girl a drink (average on this street was 150b) they play with you and are available. One difference here is the girls more interested in getting you upstairs than making money off the drinks, thus drank slow; unlike walking street bar girls.

    LK Metro Area. If your “thing” is club girls who as a general rule look better than the street hookers, this is not a bad place to go. All taxi drivers know how to get you there. Not as many bars and go go dancers as walking street, but enough. Drinks and bar fines are about the same. However, the girls ranged from 1000b to 2000b for 2 hours. Not as many 8s but lots of 7s available. A few exceptions like Area 51 girl asked for 3000b. In the clubs you will find total nude, but I saw no open sex acts, The La Posta BJ bar is within walking distance of this area.

    Trip Report Pattaya, April 2016

    Devil’s Den. For prue variety sex this is probably the best deal in town. http://www.devilsdenthailand.com It is in the LK Metro area. When you walk in the girls are called for a line-up like the Vegas brothels. Girls who do anal are on one side of a yellow line on the floor. In bar it was 4000b for 2 hours with 2 girls of your choice. If you wanted only one girl it was still 4000b. Out call to your hotel was 2000b for an hour. I checked girls pictures on website and they are the same ones I saw in the line-up.

    Heaven Gentleman’s Lounge Club is new located on top of the hill over looking the walking street area. Drinks first time 130b; second visit 150b. Bar fine first visit was 250b; second 350b. girls first visit 1000b and second 1500. Second visit there was a free BBQ all you can eat buffet; maybe that was reason for price increase. Girls ranged from 6 to 8 but mostly 7s all in cocktail type dresses

    • rockit says:

      Thanks for the report. Walking Street hit the wall years ago with most serious go go action moving to LK Metro. There are still a lot of lively places in other parts of town like Soi 6 and the darkside. Which bars listed on this site are gone from Soi 6? Bangkok probably has a stronger scene. The dollar only briefly hit 55 Baht in 1998 but quickly went back down to the forties. One dollar has been at around 30 Baht for around six years. A recent spike brought it to 36. Cheers.

  3. DB says:

    The current definition is ANYONE under ANY circumstances who leaves their home country for work in the flesh trade elsewhere, even if they transport themselves with no outside coercion, is considered to be ‘trafficked’.

    • rockit says:

      That indeed seems to be the case even when they are traveling from places where their work is illegal to places where it is permitted. On the other hand people who cross borders to work in other industries are usually not referred to as being trafficked. Nor are women who travel from Idaho to California to get into porn. This all says a lot. Cheers.

  4. dante says:

    interesting stuff, if Germany is getting hit then who is next

    • rockit says:

      The sale of sex is still totally legal and open in Germany though the bust of one of the biggest brothels in the country is definitely news. Cheers.

  5. max says:

    Where does that leave us in NYC? Most of your top choices are now closed.

    • rockit says:

      There are still all sorts of places operating in New York. Of course I don’t recommend that anyone go to them or anywhere else for that matter. This website is for entertainment only. Cheers.

  6. Deca says:

    I heard Jerusalem is one of the three biggest cities for legalized prostitution in the world. I would like to see your reports on there! Cheers!!

  7. critical says:

    Out of curiosity, have you ever used TER to find providers in the US?

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