Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/UK: She cost me £800. And I can sell her for £250 an hour
From: Melanie Orhant (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 08:11:05 EST
'She cost me £800. And I can sell her for £250 an hour'
'I trade in under-age girls - it's safer for me. The foreign girls don't talk - they're gaga, like babies. They'll do anything. They don't know any better' : There is a new breed of pimp in Britain, men who buy young girls from abroad and turn them into drug addicts. Amelia Hill investigates Special report: child protection
Sunday December 24, 2000
Carlos has always been an entrepreneur. Ever since he left his Sussex school in the early Eighties and moved away from his affluent, professional parents, the 33-year-old has dabbled with moderate success in different businesses, funded by forays into petty crime and punctuated by spells in prisons around the country.
One year ago, however, Carlos spotted a new gap in the market and moved in. This time his success was instantaneous: he claims to make between £500 and £1,500 a day, money that enables him to rule the streets of south London in his particular brand of the sex industry.
Last week, an investigation by The Observer discovered children as young as six were being sold by their families and smuggled into Britain, where they were imprisoned in west London flats and forced to work as sex slaves.
The Observer spoke to two 13-year-old girls who had managed to escape their tormenters but had ended up walking the streets of south and east London instead, trying desperately to raise the money they needed to satisfy the drug addictions cultivated by their traffickers to increase their vulnerability.
It was the first time proof had been found that Britain was being targeted by child traffickers - experts in the field admitted they were horrified. But The Observer can reveal the increase in trafficking has sparked a second vicious development in Britain's sex industry.
A new breed of pimp is taking control of the streets of Britain, buying children from abroad, encouraging them to develop addictions to crack cocaine and heroin, and then forcing them to work as prostitutes to pay off the debts accrued by their new habit.
Carlos has found that by combining the business of trafficker, drug-dealer and pimp, he has placed himself at the head of the new trend. 'Working with prostitutes is the least criminal thing I can do while raking in the maximum amount of tax-free money,' he said last week, planting his elbows on the table of the trendy Brixton bar and leaning forward with a friendly smile.
'Of course I deal with under-age girls - it's safer for me. Even then, English girls can always bring you down by talking: they've got a right mouth on them, but the foreign girls are a different matter: they don't talk, they're gaga - like babies - and they're primarily bothered about appeasing their boss and the punter. They'll do anything. They don't know any better. They don't understand the culture here, so if they're asked to do something, they don't know if it's out of order or not, and so do it anyway. They're very confused.'
Before crack became widely available on the streets of London about 12 months ago, pimps had virtually disappeared from the British sex scene. Streetworkers realised they could function just as well without the men who took their money and offered them little in return except abuse and degradation. The women started buying their own houses and setting up their own businesses, and the men faded into the background.
But the arrival of crack changed the rules of the game. Streetworkers began courting dealers - usually men - who could provide them with the drug, and it didn't take these men long to realise that, once the women were addicted and in debt, they could exert control over them.
'You can get a young girl for £2,500 from South Africa,' Carlos said, 'but the two I have at the moment cost just £800 each. They come from a deprived area in black South Africa, say they're 14 but I have my doubts - I think they're younger,' he said, pulling his cap down over his eyes and leaning back comfortably in his seat. 'They're going home in a couple of months because they've made so much money. I've been sending between £500 to £700 back to their families each week. It's a two-way deal: they help me, and I help them.'
Buying foreign children and arranging their illegal passage into the country is simple for aspiring pimps, he said. 'You give the money to the courier and they arrange it all. They get the girl from her village to your door, and then she's all yours. You don't get much choice, it's true: you ask for someone young, and she turns up. If you're lucky, she might be pretty. Sometimes she's ugly, and that's what you're stuck with.'
The girls who arrive on his doorstep leave their right to respect and choice at home, Carlos maintains. 'They're not even property: they're commodities,' he said. 'You never use force on an English girl, no matter how young she is, because she can run away or tell the police. But the foreign girls are yours: you've bought them and they have to do what you tell them.'
There are five girls working in Carlos's brothel off Brixton Hill, renting the rooms for £50 a night and depending on him to bring them crack while they work. 'We get them addicted to drugs as soon as we can because they're more docile that way,' he said. 'It's like a fishing line: you just reel them in. A good pimp will have them acting like robots by the end of the programming, which can take weeks or months, depending on how weak the girl is. They end up like cattle - you just order them around.
'My first bordello - I love that word - was in Dumbarton Court, off Brixton Hill,' he added. 'That's where I realised what a fortune there was to be made selling under-age girls. You can charge anything from £100 to £250 an hour, and even more for the foreign ones. It's particularly good working with the foreign girls because on top of everything else, I can charge what I like for the drugs I bring them. They don't know what's going on: I can tell them whatever I like.'
Iowa, a 24-year-old security guard from south London, lives in another local brothel that deals with foreign girls. He takes telephone bookings from punters and helps deal with them when they arrive. 'We call the paedophiles bacon because they're pigs,' he said. 'They're usually white, middle-class professional men who like the freshness of foreign children. They think they're unsoiled.'
This attraction doesn't last long, he admits. 'Three months on the streets for any young girl and she's not young any more,' he said. 'If you look at all those prostitutes, most are really good-looking girls, but they've been battered. Their faces have been kicked in, they don't wash and they have filthy drug habits. The young foreigners are the quickest to disintegrate: they don't even use condoms because they don't know about them. They can't go to the outreach workers for help and advice because they know that if the workers see them, they'll take them straight to the social services or to the police.'
The one thing that will never change about the market place, Iowa believes, is the punter's search for the virgin prostitute. 'That's one of the reasons they like them as young as possible,' he said. 'They ask me for virgins and I lie - and charge them £500 for the privilege. I suppose there's some idea that the foreign children are more innocent and therefore more likely to be virgins.'
Carlos knows his new line of trade would make him a pariah in his parents' society. 'I don't give a shit,' he said. 'If I start giving a shit, I would end up being a social worker. I have morals, but they get pushed out of the window. It's not for me to judge and anyway, if it wasn't me in this business, it would be someone else. At least I treat them with humanity,' he added. 'I know it's a funny thing to say but with me, they get looked after: I clothe them and give them protection. At the end of the day, I'm not forcing anyone to do anything: 80 per cent of these children know what they're coming into this country to do.'
He argues that the police have absolved themselves of their duty to protect the local prostitutes: 'There's no rape suite for prostitutes,' he said. In the absence of police back-up, he says, the girls have no choice but to turn to their own. 'If there weren't people like me around, a lot of those girls would be killed because there are some extremely nasty punters. I don't see myself as a pimp: I'm a personal manager.'
Father Shay Cullen, founder of Preda, the non-governmental organisation nominated for the 2001 Nobel Prize for its work combating the trafficking of children around the world, has watched as the power of pimps across the world has flourished alongside the trade in trafficking.
'It's terrifying,' he said. 'Local pimps are no longer local: they're all realising the benefits to be had by linking forces with trafficking groups around the world who have the power and wealth to corrupt politicians and get more or less whatever they want.
'In the 30 years I've been involved in this area, I've never seen pimps throughout the world so emboldened, confident and so damn clever.' -- Melanie Orhant
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