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 and rectified. 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.

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 a 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.

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