Monday, November 20, 2006

Atlanta's Problem, Everyone's Problem

Bob Herbert wrote an amazing editorial in today's NY Times. He talks about the "sex-tourism" trade in Atlanta, GA. This "industry" forces girls as young as 10 or 11 into prosititution.

Likewise, a Reuters article on April 4, 2006 reports, "In a sleazy hotel room, "Brittany," then aged 16 and drugged into oblivion, waited for the men to arrive. Her pimps sent as many as 17 clients an evening through the door.

A "john" could even pre-book the pretty young blonde for $1,000 a night, sometimes flying in and then flying out from a nearby airport.

None of this happened in Bangkok or Costa Rica, places that have become synonymous with sex tourism and underage sex.

It took place in Atlanta, the buckle of the U.S. Bible Belt, where the world's busiest passenger airport provides a cheaper, more convenient and safer underage sex destination for men seeking girls as young as 10."


"Half of the street-level prostitutes in Atlanta are believed to be under 18, according to experts."

Herbert reports the mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin, is steadfastly working to reverse the problem. Funds are limited and there is always the question of what will happen to the children once they are off the street, most of which where probably abused even before life on the street. She needs help: although, as with most thing, I'm not sure how to provide it.

The most chilling thing is that Franklin says, "the pimp would have no interest in the children if there were no demand." She's right.

I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around a man (particularly one with a family) can have sex with a ten year old. As horrid as things like murder, war, srealing, and so on are, they OFTEN have 2 sides. Don't scream, murder is never justifiable, but I know how people can be led to flip their lid, particularly if you are a NYC Dept. of Ed. employee. But, I just can't see someone justifing this: "Men fly in, are met by pimps, have sex with a 14-year-old for lunch, and get home in time for dinner with the family." And in the Bible belt!

I don't know how to help, but here are some ideas:
1. Send money.
2. Know the details of your husband's sex and work life.
3. Men need to be more concious of themselves, and not let other men get a way with stuff.
4. Feminists in this country need to focus on REAL issues.
5. If all else fails, the AWP is in Atlanta next year. Perhaps the poets could band together and kill off some pimps.....or force them to listen to the entire of Pound's Cantos.

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