Category Archives: illegal prostitution in Brisbane

Dear John: An open letter to Brisbane Sex ‘Punters’

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It’s been some time since I researched the massage forums. You see, it’s not something I get great pleasure from. Reading your discussions about jizzing on Asian massage workers and your jokes about the next bloke copping a taste, isn’t something I particularly enjoy.

However, a few days ago I decided to have a look through the forum, and was surprised to find, that after 18 months, one of you had finally come across my blog.

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I found your discussion about me and my blog fascinating, to say the least. For a start, you were a lot less aggressive and derogatory than I expected. In fact, some of you even applauded my interests in anti-human trafficking, and concerns about women being forced or coerced against their will.

Of course, there were also the typical misogynist rantings about all feminists being angry and ugly. Because, of course! A woman MUST be ugly if she has something to say about society? Yawn.

“Question: Why is every single angry feminist, ugly? Sexual frustration and jealousy of younger better looking women masked as intellectualism.”

Overall,  many of you appear to be ‘normal’ guys. You find child abuse deplorable. You refer to those who push for extras and then don’t tip as ‘the scum of the earth.’ You criticise and talk about the horrible working conditions for many of these girls, who at times get fined by their mamasans for being late, calling in sick, or trying to leave. When a young massage worker is raped, you express anger.

But the main thing I’ve noticed about many of you, is the overwhelming hypocrisy and entitlement.

Dear Punters, no matter whether you treat these girls with abuse, or what you think is respect, you are being cowards. You are trying to offset your involvement onto others: the mamasans, the ‘dirty’ girls who really like it, the money hungry ‘whores’ who look at you like an ATM.

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Yet by your own admission, many of you are married, in relationships, and with kids. You talk about having a second phone (a ‘boner’ phone), about almost getting caught by your wife, and you gloat with your internet buddies about the random women you’ve punted, storing the names of your sexual conquests away in your mind like collectible cards.

Dear ‘Punters’ / Johns. Here is the reality.

Reality 1: You are lying to yourselves if you think you are innocent in this. You are the key for their supply. These women, and their Mamasans (no matter how cruel) would not be operating these shops if not for you. I’ve met some of the women who own these shops, and yes, I can certainly say they are not innocent. But I can also imagine that after going through this industry themselves, they probably welcome a chance not to have to put out for you men all the time. And if you find them so exploitive, why are you paying THEM money? Everytime you go there, you are putting more money in their pockets. But you don’t really care do you…

Reality 2: You don’t deserve paid sex/blowjobs/sex acts just because your wife ‘isn’t up for it’ as much as you are/you don’t have a connection anymore/blah blah blah. In fact, even if your wife is a total bitch, controlling and abusive, you do not get a free pass to cheat. You do not have a right to purchase someone to make you feel good. Get honest with yourself, stop being a coward, and leave your wife. Don’t want to be married? Then get a divorce. Want to be in an open relationship? Choose someone who is open to that. I would say the same to a woman.

Reality 3: You are not ‘helping’ these girls. You might think that you are a hero and that they are the ones using you (and most certainly, some will, because what other job options are screaming out for their poor English and low skill set?), but as I’ve said in other blogs, if you really cared about those less fortunate you would connect them with networks, people and organisations that could help them get ahead and truly experience Australia for all that it is. You are not helping them, you are helping yourself and using your position in society to justify it.

Imagine yourself living in another country, hardly able to speak the language of those around you, with little money or opportunity…now imagine that someone tells you about a way you can make money, with no experience necessary. You might have to masturbate some men or do other things, but hey, it’s better than having to have sex with them right? You’d probably be repulsed. But if that’s your only option, then you make the most of it.

Although, I’d hardly call that ‘choice’. 

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At the end of the day, whether a girl truly enjoys what she is doing to you or not, you have noone to blame for you being there other than you. You don’t really care about the wellbeing of these women, just as you don’t care about your partners, wives or children.

We all have our flaws, our addictions, our temptations. But we all have the power to overcome them. Until you/we stop shifting the blame and take responsibility you will never be free of addiction. You don’t have to keep living this way, wasting money and cheating yourself of true intimacy and financial security  because of an addiction.

If you want to get help, the first step is to tell someone you can trust and find an accountability partner. The next step is to seek treatment and get rid of the things that exacerbate your temptation – that means getting rid of your second phone, installing anti porn blockers on your phone and computer, and deleting your forum accounts.

Yes, it will be hard. But it’s not impossible. Many men have done it before you, and many more will. And I say this wholeheartedly: Please get yourself help.

Need help with your relationship or addictions?

Mensline – 1300 78 99 78   http://www.mensline.org.au/

Feed The Right Wolf A site with lots of resources for those suffering sex addiction; including recovery coaching, a free 30 day trial of ”Covenant Eyes” (filtering software), and allows you to take sex addiction self-analysis tests. It also includes a forum where you can discuss your struggles or victories. There’s some really encouraging stories on there from men who have recovered (and young teenagers).

Sex Addiction Australia “A Sydney and Internet based national service and a professional sex therapist and specialist sex addiction therapy private practise. We provide confidential clinical sex addiction counselling and sex therapy for sexual addictions and sexual compulsive behaviours, for sexual dysfunctions, sexual health and safer sex, and we update you with sex addiction research & information.”

SA Aus also provides support to partners of men/women suffering from sex addiction. E: info@sexaddictionaustralia.com.au or call 02 9380 4486

Sex Addicts Anonymous includes information on meetings you can attend in various countries – including Australia (VIC/NSW/QLD)

Sexual Control Helping individuals with sex addictions since 1983, this site also allows you to download the book ”The most personal addiction” for free.

Fight The New Drug – Simple & clear information on how porn affects the brain, damages relationships, and how you can break free of addiction.

For interesting reading about the effects of Porn on your brain and whether it’s having a negative impact on your life/relationship, see this recent post from Triple J Hack. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What it’s like to go inside Brisbane’s Illegal brothels…

Last week while visiting a Thai day spa, I had a conversation with a young woman that got me thinking. Upon asking if she had any plans for the Easter break, she replied, “ohh…no I will probably just be working.” Wondering what it was like to be alone in a foreign country I asked if she missed her family. “Yes, so so much,” she replied, massaging my feet with a sad little smile. It got me to thinking about all of the foreign women currently working hard in Australia to try and support their families, and the ‘punters’ who couldn’t care less about what their lives are like beyond the ‘happy endings’ they seek.

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As this is the first Easter in 5 years that I haven’t been away, I decided to spend some time spreading kindness to those in the community. Raiding my local ALDI store for all of the best chocolate bunnies, hot cross buns and Easter goodies, I made a stash of gifts to give to girls I’d met at local massage shops, along with those who are currently working in illegal brothels.

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I often think about how to tackle the problem of illegal prostitution, and unfortunately, it is a giant issue which is going to take time to solve (and a dedicated effort from council, government and police). One thing which really frustrates me is the tactic of police to punish the women rather than the men who purchase, so I try to take a different approach – making connections with these women and offering them support if needed. This was the idea behind my decision to spend my Easter break visiting these venues.

Along with the gifts, I drafted a basic flyer (which some friends helped me to translate into different languages) wishing the girls a happy Easter, and offering free advice to anyone new to Brisbane.

Armed with my gifts, I made my way into the first of 6 shops. Opening the door to the reception area, I looked around the empty area to see an Asian woman lounging on a couch at the back of the room, playing on her phone. Looking up at me from her seat it was clear she was confused as to why a woman was in that sort of venue, however she remained seated. Approaching the couch, I greeted the young woman and explained that I was spreading some Easter cheer by visiting local businesses to give out gifts. Looking disinterested, she told me that she already had chocolate and was ‘busy’, before going back to playing on her phone. Despite the empty shop it was clear that I wasn’t going to get very far…and forcing chocolate isn’t really my style (haha).

Disappointing as it was, I couldn’t be too surprised given the reputation of the shop. I’ve been to this place in the past and the mamasan was very quick to get me out the door when I enquired about booking a massage (meanwhile the several men leaving the venue made it clear to me who their priorities were), and none of the workers could speak any English, let alone understand me.

Making my way out of the venue I continued on, driving to another shop known for illegal prostitution. You’d be surprised to see how such places exist within ‘nice’ neighbourhoods – often going unnoticed, or ignored by the community and our government. As I walked toward the front door, I noticed a man literally circling around near the shop like a vulture (he was still hanging around when I left).

Opening the front door I entered a dimly lit area to find a number of young women in tight clothing and heavy makeup sitting on a couch – their eyes all fixed on me. Again I encountered suspicion, mistrust, and general dismissal.

Approaching the desk I spoke to an older woman (the manager, I presume) who was, like the previous place, very dismissive at first. Given that their customer base is comprised of men looking for sexual services, it makes sense that they would be suspicious as to why a white woman was visiting their venue with gifts. I mean, for all they knew I could have been the wife of any of these men, coming to give them a serving. Maybe they thought I had a bag full of rotten eggs or something?!

Explaining to them why I was out visiting local businesses it became clear that they were waiting for some sort of catch.“No thank you, we are not Christian,” said the manager matter-of-factly as I offered her the gifts. The suspicion and lack of trust was like a thick cloud all around, and in that room, it was strikingly clear that I was the odd one out. At this point, a middle-aged caucasian man walked into shop, much to the joy of the manager.

With the manager no longer standing between me and the other girls, I turned to a young worker and tried to speak to her. I was determined to let them know that there were no catches; this wasn’t a religious thing, there was no obligation for them to do anything…I was merely giving free gifts to those working on the Easter weekend.

“I know a lot of staff here work really hard and don’t get holidays like us Aussies, so I just wanted to give you some gifts to wish you a happy Easter,” I explained. Some of the girls sat together giggling and the manager continued to question me. Eventually however, she began to soften, listening with interest when I mentioned that I had friends who worked in the massage industry, and know what it can be like to be new to Brisbane.

“Oh…thank you – that’s so lovely,” she said, as I handed out some gifts to herself and the other girls. I felt my voice catch in my throat, my hands shaking as I smiled and turned to leave. I couldn’t believe how hard it was just to try to break through those barriers.

Just as I was leaving however, the manager stopped at the door behind me. “What a lovely thing for you to do. Thank you,”  she said with a bemused look on her face. I smiled again and tried to keep calm as I walked past another man – and a woman who seemed oblivious to the venue she was standing outside – and made my way back to my car.

Making my way to shop # 3 I again found a similar attitude, although I was a little more confident in what to say this time. This place was quite different to the last, with a run-down, obvious look that screamed ”dodgy!” It definitely wasn’t the nicest place to be on my weekend. To this day, it frustrates me that police still have not done anything about this place (which I have been supplying evidence on for the last year, and even seen women fleeing from at night, dressed in metallic, skimpy attire).

Waiting in the front room a massage lady greeted me, asking if I had an appointment. After introducing myself I went through my spiel and explained again that I was just there to give some Easter gifts to people in the community – no catches. The woman (who I gather was the manager) was hesitant to accept, telling me that they already had chocolate. OMG, it’s chocolate not a gun, I thought to myself. I’d eat it all myself if I weren’t intolerant to dairy (haha). Eventually, she passed me onto a fellow worker who seemed somewhat more excited about the prospect of free chocolate and I handed them a flyer with my details. Again I sensed suspicion, thick in the air.

“What is this??” questioned the manager.

It’s a shame that these women have to be so distrustful of those who mean them no harm, as opposed to those out to exploit them, however it is something I hope to see change over time. I explained that I’d helped other young women who were new to Brisbane, and that the flyer was a simple way of passing on my details in case anyone was looking for a friendly face while visiting our city. The manager seemed intrigued, and I decided it was time to leave it at that. Trying my best to keep my game face on, I walked back to my car, exhaling only when I was out of view. This wasn’t as easy as I’d planned in my head!

Just as I was about to get into my car I noticed an Asian manicure shop beside me, and decided I may as well distribute some gifts there too. By this time I was feeling pretty deflated, so I was utterly relieved when the young worker seemed only too happy to accept the gifts.

“Oh, it’s like a random act of kindness thing yeah?” I heard a young manager/supervisor say as she walked over to join us.

FINALLY. Someone who understood.

“Oh my gosh is all of this for us!?” she exclaimed excitedly as I passed her a box of chocolate rabbits, hot cross buns and chocolate roses. Looking up, she must have sensed the exhaustion in my face, asking if something was wrong.

“No, no,” I laughed shakily (whilst also feeling like I WAS going to cry from the relief of having someone finally see my gift of generosity for what it was supposed to be). “It’s just that…I guess some people don’t quite understand why I’m doing this. It’s as if they expect that I, I don’t know, have an agenda or something…” I admitted.

The young woman hugged me, overjoyed and thanking me profusely for the gifts. I walked back to my car with relief, glad that at least someone had appreciated the gesture.

By this stage I was really tired, but also determined to visit as many places as possible, so I traveled out to a shop I’d come across last year (where I’d given assistance to a young Chinese woman after a particularly bad client left her in tears late at night). Sadly, there seemed to be a lot of confusion over whether she was, or wasn’t there, with the ML on reception telling me that there was noone there by that  name, before also saying that, “X isn’t here today…”, and then swapping back to saying she didn’t know who X was. I couldn’t do much in that circumstance, so I passed along some gifts and made my way out, leaving my name with them in case X returned at some point.

The final shop on my list was a Thai massage place that I recently visited (mentioned in the beginning of this blog), which – to my delight – actually appeared to be a legitimate massage shop. I felt much calmer about entering this place; the open areas and bright, natural lighting coming through the windows (which distinctively lacked newspaper) made me feel more at home.

“Hello!” I said, greeting the manager. “I had a massage with ”X” last week and was hoping to thank her for doing such a great job. I’ve got a few little Easter gifts I’d love to give you guys if that’s okay?” Waiting for the cold stare and suspicious questions, I was relieved when she happily went and brought out the young masseuse. “Ohhh kopkunka!!” she cried when she saw what I’d brought her, bowing politely. “Thank you, kopkunka, kopkunka!” 

It was an amazing feeling to know that I’d made a difference to at least a few women in the massage industry, even though my attempts to show kindness did not go as smoothly as I’d envisioned. I am hopeful that at least one woman from the illegal venues I visited will experience some happiness from my gifts; if they lead to even one woman to contacting me, it will not be in vain.

To end on a positive note – I am also currently in discussions with some influential members of Australian organisations, educational sectors, and members of the media, who I hope will be able to work with me toward our goal, which aims to eventually see the men in these venues held accountable for their exploitation of foreign women. I will keep working toward this goal, and I hope for more good news in the future.

S

xo