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Cuba reduces prostitution.

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    ================= Begin forwarded message ================= Dear Kevin and Ibrahim, This article is a kind of contrast to the Afghani girl who won the beauty
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 18, 2003
      ================= Begin forwarded message =================

      Dear Kevin and Ibrahim,

      This article is a kind of contrast to the Afghani girl
      who won the beauty contest in a bikini.

      It comes from the Dallas paper that has its own
      correspondent in Cuba. Although she (the
      correspondent) usually does her best to make Cuba look
      bad, she can't always succeed. This article is
      interesting because it shows that despite all its
      troubles, Cuba is able to reduce prostitution, and
      also, interestingly, some of the elements of the
      superiority of the non-commercialized socialist
      society also show through in this article - even in
      the behaviour of the prostitutes.





      Cuban prostitutes go off the street to online
      Police crackdown takes country off top list of sex
      tourist destinations

      08:45 PM CST on Saturday, November 15, 2003

      By TRACEY EATON / The Dallas Morning News

      HAVANA � Cuba is no longer one of the world's top
      destinations for sex tourism after five years of
      relentless police crackdowns, travel experts say.

      But another trend has emerged: More travelers are
      using the Internet to find prostitutes in Cuba. And
      rights advocates say that computer-assisted sex
      tourism is troubling because it makes it easier for
      men to sexually exploit Cuban women and teenagers.

      The online sex trade is a multibillion-dollar industry
      that often targets the Third World and treats women
      and teenagers as "sexual commodities," said Donna
      Hughes, a University of Rhode Island professor and
      women's rights advocate, and author of a report titled
      "Pimps and Predators on the Internet � Globalizing
      Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children."

      Sex tourists frequently log on to adult travel
      Internet sites and rate the Cuban prostitutes they
      find, remarking on everything from hair and skin color
      to mood, sexual attributes and performance.

      Some also take nude or semi-nude photos of the women
      and post them on the Internet. Some of these photos
      are shot without permission or captured by hidden
      camera. Others are casual snapshots, but the women
      have no idea that these intimate pictures will be
      available on the Internet for years to come, Ms.
      Hughes and other rights advocates say.

      Sex tourists who travel to Cuba are unapologetic. They
      call themselves "hobbyists" and say they enjoy nothing
      more than traveling the world in pursuit of easy,
      preferably cheap sex.


      But these days, they're not happy with Cuba. Police
      enforcement has driven many prostitutes off the
      streets, they say, and in some towns, few can be found
      at all.

      The World Sex Archives, which touts itself as the
      Internet's largest "escort resource," follows these
      trends in detail. Not long ago, a member of the
      service posted an urgent question.

      "Is the crackdown ending?" he asked. "Are things
      starting to go back to normal?"

      A string of replies gave him the latest news: Heavy
      enforcement was continuing, "good girls" were hard to
      find, and some Cuban nightclubs were "horrible ...
      only half-full of chicas ... and not at all worth the

      Prostitution surged in Cuba in 1990 when the former
      Soviet Union cut off nearly $6 billion a year in aid,
      sending the economy into a free fall. Soon thousands
      of prostitutes regularly gathered in discos, hotels
      and along main thoroughfares in Havana and other

      Suddenly, Cuba became a hot destination for sex

      Through the mid-1990s, prostitutes operated with
      little interference, openly propositioning tourists as
      part of Cuba's bustling, often wild night scene.

      Travel writers helped spread the word.

      "Cuban girls are the Ferraris of prostitution,
      top-of-the-line Formula One hookers and, boy, are they
      enthusiastic," wrote A.A. Gill in 1998 in The Sunday
      Times of London.

      Today, the landscape has changed entirely.
      Prostitutes, increasingly fearful of going to jail,
      spend more time dodging police than cavorting with

      "It's terrible. The police are everywhere," said
      Misleidis, a 17-year-old who was looking for clients
      in Old Havana.

      The operator of the World Sex Archives said: "Really,
      the [prostitute] business is drying up. There are far
      more girls in other Latin American countries now. "
      WSA, which touts itself as the largest escort resource
      on the Internet, added, "Cuba is like an obituary."

      Many travel experts agree.

      "I don't think Cuba ranks any longer as a prime sex
      destination," said Christopher Baker, an award-winning
      writer and author of Moon's Cuba Handbook. "The
      Dominican Republic and Thailand continue to be the top
      destinations. Cuba is now in the second tier."

      Still, some sex tourists can't stay away from Cuba.
      And via the Internet, they share information on where
      to find women, how to approach them, what to say and
      what to pay.

      A traveler nicknamed Pelon, who said he lives in
      Brownsville, gave the latest prices for sex in Cuba in
      a Sept. 10 message on the WSA site:

      "The ongoing rate is about $30 for an afternoon and
      $50-$60 for the night. Avoid girls with cellphones.
      They tend to ask for $80 or more."

      Many Cubans are disgusted by the sex trade, even if it
      has diminished. And they are offended that some
      foreigners think their country is awash in
      prostitutes. In fact, they say, most Cubans have
      nothing to do with prostitution.

      Still, Cuba's anything-goes image persists.

      In July, when a WSA member asked if he should try to
      have sex with a married woman and her sister, another
      member replied, "Just go for it! You don't have to
      worry about things like this in Cuba."

      Many sex tourists say they feel safe, even late at
      night in Cuba.

      Another thing they say they like about the country is
      the noncommercial nature of prostitution. There are no
      gaudy strip joints, brothels or peep shows flashing
      Triple-X neon. There are no girlie magazines for sale,
      either. Not even a Playboy. That's all illegal.

      But sex is a staple of Cuban life, and many people
      have a casual attitude toward it, Mr. Baker said.

      "Judging by the ease with which couples neck openly,
      wink seductively at strangers and spontaneously slip
      into bed, the dictatorship of the proletariat that
      transformed Eastern Europe into a perpetual Sunday
      school has made little headway in Cuba," he writes in
      the upcoming edition of the Cuba Handbook.

      Sex tourists quickly notice the difference between
      Cuban prostitutes and those in their own countries.

      Charlie, a Canadian visitor quoted in a 1995 study on
      prostitution in Cuba, said European and American
      prostitutes are all business.

      "It's by the hour, like a taxi service, like they got
      the meter running. There's no feeling."

      But in Cuba, Charlie said, prostitutes are
      "responsive. They even kiss you."


      The literacy rate of Cuban prostitutes also sets them
      apart, some say. Even Fidel Castro once commented on
      that, telling a crowd in 2001 that Cuban prostitutes
      had a "university level" education.

      Some prostitutes go to school or work during the day
      and sell their bodies at night.

      Grechell, 20, said she studies accounting and dreams
      of attending the University of Havana. But for now,
      she said she goes out with foreigners "because I need
      the money."

      Many Cubans earn just $10 or $12 per month. But
      prostitutes take in $500 and up, according to a 2002
      University of Miami study.

      Not all charge big fees, and some travelers brag
      they've had sex with Cuban women for as little as a
      meal or a pair of shoes.

      Such experiences give some men a sense of economic
      power and control that they couldn't possibly achieve
      in their own countries, according to Julia O'Connell
      Davidson and Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor, sociologists
      at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

      They studied the sex trade in Cuba in 1995 and later
      published a paper called "Child Prostitution and Sex

      At one Cuban nightclub, they wrote, they encountered a
      Canadian in his 40s who repeatedly insulted and
      threatened teenage prostitutes, sometimes reducing
      them to tears.

      He was a "physically nondescript and puny individual,
      a divorcee ... and a less than completely successful
      real estate agent," the study said. "Back home in
      Canada, he feels himself to be a 'nobody' and a
      'nothing.' In Cuba, by contrast, he fantasizes himself
      to be somewhere between a Rockefeller and a Mafiosi
      boss. He believes that his economic power combined
      with his status as a tourist places him above the

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