Trafficking in Toronto by Russian Mafia
Or, A Legitimate Choice by Women
The Russian Mafia - Is it trafficking in Toronto and if so,
is it as bad as what the anti prostitution folks want to portray it?
For many years I and many on a Canadian Discussion Board were concerned about the trafficking situation in Toronto since some of the most wonderful sensuous escorts that were so intimacy interactive are the Russian and Eastern European (EE) women I met they work for the many Russian Agencies. They have such a great attitude about sensuality and sexuality vs. most American women.
Yes, they are on call 24/7 and meet many men a day. They have handlers, that limit their freedom and access to outside activities. They are paid maybe $CDN50 of the $CDN200/hour fee and have to work off their debt owed to their handlers to get them into Canada. They may get here on valid student or visitor visas secured by the crime syndicate or they've got valid work visas as Hungarian speaking nannies, performers or models.
In a long discussion of concern about these gals on terb.ca here are some posts:
I had a conversation with one of the EE sp's who has been prominently mentioned on these pages, and she is aware of what is being said here on terb. Her viewpoint was that our concerns, however sincere, are misguided. She said that she personally, does not mind the hours, and wants to work and make money. And that all of the other girls at her agency feel the same way. She said that if a client calls her agency and asks for her, but she is taking the day off or whatever, her agency will lose money and so will she. One question I asked one of the girls was, "Given what you know now about your life here versus not getting involved with these bloodsuckers and staying home, what would you have done?"
Her response was simple: "I would rather be here, because at home there is nothing ... no jobs, no opportunity, nothing. I would rather be in Canada, even under the conditions that I work in, because there is a chance that I will be able to get Canadian citizenship and/or make a lot of money." My reaction to her was that a lot of things had to fall into place for that to happen AND her keepers had to let her go, so that she could enjoy these freedoms. She seemed content, relatively speaking, to ride it out.
Look at it this way, $50 is what these girls might make in a month at home, IF she were able to get a job. The economy sucks in most of the EE countries we are speaking of. I have read articles about the local economies and many articles relate that 70% of women are unemployed, and when firings happen at work, women are the first to go.
The line that HM got about she doesn't make money if she does not work is true, but shouldn't they at least have the freedom to go shopping by themselves, to see a movie on slow days, to take a walk in a park, on their off-hours? That is what really irks me.
They have been told to expect to be able to amass a fortune- by EE standards- in a few years and most dream of going home after that and start a "New Life"
A lawyer says
I'd like to step away from some of my earlier posts on the topic of EE escorts. I initially had the impression that the girls were intent on emigrating to Canada and that they were being treated harshly and coercively. Having seen several more EE girls since then, I am considerably more doubtful that the girls are being mistreated. The girl I see regularly seems to be quite happy and to enjoy her job. She also is not interested in staying in Canada long term. This is also the impression of many other guys on this board.
Kidnapping and Police Bust of 2004
Then a dramatic event took place in February-March 2004. Most if not all of the Eastern European agencies shut down a few days. Phones were not being answered and people were very concerned what happened to their favorite providers. It turned out that really bad Russian folks had been setting up appointments with the gals and kidnapping them. The agencies apparently shut down to protect the other women after some were missing after their appointments. But the kidnapped women were smart enough to sneak a call to the police and claim a break-in was in progress. That gave the police the excuse to enter the home by force if needed. It was a wise move.
Note: As in most of the world except the U.S., prostitution is not illegal in Canada, but living of the earnings (avails) procuring (forcing to engage in prostitution), and street solicitation or to solicit to become a prostitute is illegal. Also incall (bawdy house) is illegal. But outcall is 100% legal for both the prostitute and customer.
MEDIA RELEASE - Public Affairs Bureau - YORK REGIONAL POLICE
BREAK AND ENTER CALL LEADS TO SEVEN ARRESTS AND 33 PROSTITUTION-RELATED CHARGES
On Tuesday, March 2, 2004, York Regional Police responded to a break and enter in progress at a residence on Weldrick Road West, in the Town of Richmond Hill. What they found upon their arrival, however, had little to do with a break-in. At approximately 12:30 p.m., investigating officers found a woman inside the home, who revealed she and two other females were being held against their will. The three had arrived separately from Russia in the fall of 2003 and began working for Toronto escort services. They would meet numerous clients in various hotels throughout the GTA and provide sexual services.
During the month of February, two of the victims, aged 19 and 23, attended a hotel on separate occasions, for what they assumed was a regular meeting with a client. However, upon their arrival, the victims were forcibly removed from the hotel and taken to a residence in Richmond Hill. The third 20-year-old victim was removed from the home she shared with the 19-year-old victim. Their documents and cell phones were taken from them and although they were allowed a certain level of freedom, they were threatened and told their families in Russia were at risk. The victims were driven to and from the Arthers Spa on Finch Avenue on a daily basis, forced to provide sexual services and turn over their earnings to the owners.
Pavel MUZHIKOV, 26 years, of Richmond Hill
Angelica CECHIRCA, 31 years, of Richmond Hill
Alexander VERBON, 29 years, of Richmond Hill
Stanislav KAVALENKA, 42 years, of Vaughan
Miklin VIATCHELAN, 35 years, of Toronto
Pavel BAOUTINE, 29 years, of Scarborough
Sergei OLYMPIEU, 29 years, of Toronto
Living Off the Avails of Prostitution
Possession of Counterfeit Money
Shortly after the Russian escorts agencies reopened some with new names and the women are again among the most popular in Toronto for many guys.
From further discussions from those who have gotten to know the women, including some I have been with, the women are very happy to work of their debts to their Russian handlers in order to send money home to families in Eastern Europe and eventually having fulfilled their contracts to either remain in Canada or return to their Eastern European homes with what to EE standards is a huge amount of money. I have personally known two such gals. One returned home and another I received an E-mail from saying how happy she now is working as a stripper in Montreal after fulfilling her contract and now totally free with no more debt owed to the people who brought her to Canada to work.
Is this terrible human exploitative trafficking which is probably similar to many "trafficking" situations anti prostitute folks get so upset over? Or. is it a legitimate choice for the women who choose sexwork even under harsh conditions to get into another country and earn what to them is a huge amount of money compared to the opportunities back home?
Response from someone who has met quite a few Eastern
European (EE) girls and enjoys the more intimate side as I do:
I think your post seems about like my thinking on the EE crowd. It's probably the world of illegal or "grey-market" immigration to Canada, and if the girls are receiving only $50 out of $200 (which I believe), they are being exploited by our yardstick. But they are still earning -- in eastern European terms -- very big money. They are sending money home to support families at the same time they are paying off their fees. They never get a chance to enjoy a tourist's Toronto, or a normal citizen's daily life in Toronto. They are always working. Or always waiting for calls.
It's a surreal world they inhabit. But the reality back home in Ukraine or Moldova or Russia is in many ways much worse, and in any case they can only play this escort game for a few prime-earning years. Their bosses are probably dorks, not mafiosi. Maybe there are "Mr. Big" crooks somewhere in Kiev or Tel Aviv, but I am not even certain about this. The whole thing is closer to below-the-radar entrepreneurship than to slavery.
That is my present view, though I am sure there are a few bad apples in the mix.
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