Wealth and technology are invoked to suggest that sexual exploitation of women is perfectly fine for those with enough cash and online connections.
THE sordid profile of a tech-savvy prostitution network in Bellevue, busted by investigators, is at its core a modern tale of slavery.
Desperate women easily exploited because of their financial and social circumstances. Recruited into the system, it is difficult if not dangerous for them to leave. Or flee.
Seattle Times reporter Lynn Thompson’s expansive story describes the creative and aggressive enforcement work by the King County Sheriff’s Office, the Bellevue Police Department and the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
The outing of this sex startup in Bellevue, and others that lurk in the rapacious shadows, is about exploitation, desperation, money and lawbreaking. More exist to be found and rooted out.
Legions of women were exposed to physical and emotional hazards and dangers, as their exploiters collected vast sums of money. Then they shipped the women to other cities.
The world’s oldest profession, indeed. Young women with scant options had to satisfy the creepy, vulgar imaginations of their clients out of sheer economic necessity. Elemental survival.
The customers are particularly pathetic. These fantasy scavengers have money to burn. Instead of trolling the streets for illicit assignations, or scanning alternative classified ads, they take their perversions online.
The men — ranging from awkward loners to cheating family men — created a sad little club to lift their desperation to some imagined higher masculine social strata: “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be mortified.
They imagine that their facility with technology and social media make them special — so clever, so tidy, so remote — placing them into the ether and above the law and moral culpability. Buy sex on work phones and devices? No problem.
Their self-sustaining rationale is that they can do anything, say anything because they are paying the bills. A Seattle-based website called The Review Board even provided salacious consumer reviews. Thompson reports another 100 sites had existed in King County alone.
This arrogance fuels a kind of perverse, licentious libertarianism, where sex trafficking is really the free market at work. No one is being exploited, the clueless rationale goes, they are just doing business with entrepreneurs offering services available to the highest bidder.
Too bad for them that society’s view is shifting, finally. These women now are viewed as the victims they are, and their exploiters are charged with crimes.
Months of diligent work by police officers and prosecutors held more than two dozen sexual thugs accountable. Thank you. Keep up the good work.