Last night I attended an ecumenical meeting organized by Sister Elizabeth and Family Advancement Ministries. It was about slavery in Macon, sex slavery!
Most Maconites and those who pass through on Interstate 75/475 have seen the numerous billboards advertising massage parlors. Most people with even a small bit of common sense know that these places are brothels. They're scattered all over Macon, about 25 of them! What most people don't know is that the women that work in these establishments aren't just enterprising business women in the world's oldest profession, they are immigrants, most from Asian countries, who are deceived into coming to this country and then once here are forced into this lifestyle and are manipulated and controlled by pimps. They are slaves.
It's big business. What is more shocking is how Macon officials both in government and law enforcement seem to turn a blind eye to the plight of these women.These businesses operate right out in the open. One wonders if cash isn't being passed under the table somewhere that has made Macon's government impotent to do anything to shut down these businesses. Other communities in Georgia and in other states along the I-75 corridor have found ways to "evict" these establishments, but not Macon.
Worse yet, apart from the tourists who like the service they receive in these parlors, one wonders who the locals are that are frequenting them here. It makes one wonder if the play and movie, "The Best Little Whore House in Texas" is playing out right hereunder our noses. The movie and play glamorized the women who fit the bill as entrepreneurs who were in control of their lives and activities. They catered to the needs of the customers, men who were prominent citizens of the fictional community of the establishment's location. Not so with the women in the "whore houses" of Macon. Do the local and national johns know who they are frequenting? The prostitutes in our massage parlors are victims for the most part, of sex trafficking and sex slavery on an international level. Often they have been manipulated and threatened into this lifestyle at ages as young as 12 and 13.
What can Maconites do?
Recognize Human Trafficking Awareness Day: January 11, 2009
Call elected/city officials to do all they can to address the issue by:
--making phone calls
--writing letters to the editor
Co-sign a Declaration for a Slave Free Macon
Last night's meeting was meant to help our local churches, synagogue and temple to unite to find ways to encourage the citizens of Macon to be less indifferent to this scourge in our city, to sympathize with the victims who work in these sex slave parlors and to assist them in finding ways out of it.
Last night was yet another attempt at a call to action and for Macon to get its head out of the sand and out of the sex trafficking business.