The recent bust of a prostitution and drug ring in New York City is no surprise as one is often closely tied to the other.
When 17 people and five so-called “corporations” connected to a New York City escort service were indicted in Brooklyn recently, they were charged with running a high-priced prostitution and drug ring. Profits were particular case face a 144-count indictment and could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Fees for High Class NY’s escort services allegedly ranged from $400 per hour to more than $3,600 per hour, and clients often spent more than $10,000 in one night, according to the indictment. Authorities claim the money paid for sexual contact with the escorts as well as cocaine and other controlled substances.
Connection Between Drugs and Prostitution
It’s not a surprise to law enforcement, which sees this sort of thing every day, and it’s not really a surprise to the general public, who is aware that both drugs and prostitution continue to be a problem in our country. What IS interesting is how often the two crimes go hand in hand.
It’s no secret that drugs and prostitution are frequently related. Some prostitutes use drugs to numb themselves in order to continue working. Others turn to prostitution as a last resort to score drug money for an ongoing drug habit. Still others, often individuals who are illegally trafficked or forced into prostitution, are force-fed drugs to lower their resistance to the distasteful work. Whether it’s a “high-end” call girl ring or those working at truck stops or on the street, the pain associated with prostitution and the illegal nature of the business makes it a breeding ground for illegal drugs. The substance abuse and addictions that are born out of the prostitution industry only compound a problem that is already at epidemic levels in the US.
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Here is a sad story about the streets of Seattle.
Anna Yates is graually taking steps toward quitting the street life. She says that it has been a very painful battle. She started selling her body when she was 16 years old. Seattle’s poverty-stricken Downtown, the 36-year-old feels lucky to be alive.
Since having her story told on TV, she has decided to leave the business and change her life. But despite her determination it promises to be a long road. It has been off crack cocaine since February 20 and no longer walks the streets to prostitute, limiting her work to seeing two of her “regulars” to earn money to survive.
The neighborhood is known as Seattle’s poorest, its streets rife with poverty, drug addiction and prostitution. But it’s also where she got low-income housing and feels a sense of community, which influenced her decision to get out of the business.
“I just feel safer,” she said. “And if I was working, I could bring [clients] here and I’m safe here.”
She was accepted into a unit that she pays $375 for, enough to have a little extra after her welfare and disability checks come in. Gates said she suffers from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, connected to her history of family abuse.
“In this place that I’m in, there’s a ten-year waiting list,” she said. She was fast-tracked because she kept coming home to her stepfather, who lives in the building, having been “beaten up one too many times,” she said.
Indeed, these single-room-occupancy housing units are becoming less and less available as the Downtown gentrifies.
She’s unsure of where to go from here. The lack of resources to tide her over while she learns a trade makes it difficult to leave prostitution. Prostitutes who want to exit have had even less support since the only agency that helped them leave the life was shut down two years ago. But despite such obstacles, Gates has hope and ambition.
“I would like to either work with terminally ill people or as an advocate for prostitutes,” she said. “Or I would like to go to beauty school or something like that. But I’m not sure what I’m interested in and I’m not sure what I’ll do unless I have some sort of permanent income.”Since quitting drugs, Gates has felt an urge to reconnect with her family.
“Because I’m sober it freaks people out,” she said of her current crowd. “I mean, I still have a drink or two. But I mean it freaks people out when you’re not high with them. I am really lonely.”Her three children are being taken care of by family members or their father. She reconnected with two of them: an older daughter who lives in Quebec, and a younger one who just turned eight.
Gates feels lucky to have made it to 36, considering that she was turned out as a prostitute at 11 in the Downtown Eastside. Women often go missing and turn up—or not—murdered. The arrest and conviction of serial killer Robert Pickton got just one such person off the streets. Either way, prostitutes meet with frequent violence, she said. I don’t know how many people I’ve escaped,” Gates said.
“By the grace of god, I’ve escaped death many times. And I was out there full force when he was around.”For Gates, the solution to prostitution starts at home. She believes that child abuse laws should be tougher. And society’s attitudes toward prostitution must be more compassionate, she said.“They should decriminalize the selling of sex and criminalize the buying of sex,” she added. “I don’t want people to look at us like we’re nothing.”