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Mar 14, 2007

Night club after night club

In January, the court sentenced the owners of Red Heart Massage and Mayi Club—located along Beach Road in Garapan—to three years of imprisonment, for bringing in young women to Saipan and force them to become prostitutes. But just a month or two later, the same spot where Red Heart Massage and Mayi Club once stood is alive again! This time, it’s called RAINBOW club (or bar). true to its name, this supposedly new business is more colorful than its predecessor.

The judge who presided over the Red Heart Massage case, Associate Judge Kenneth Govendo, revoked permanently the business license of Red Heart Massage owner, Edward Cabrera. I assume he’s not the owner of Rainbow, or is he?

“Prostitution is all over the place. When you’re in Garapan, you will see pimps and prostitutes, yet we have very, very strong and serious laws about prostitution. The government has to send a message to the community — that they know what’s going on and they will do everything to stop it,” local newspapers quoted Judge Govendo as saying.

If one night club or massage parlor closes due to prostitution or any other violations, only to have another to take over its place, it appears there really is a market for such type of business here on the small island of Saipan. And otherwise, you won’t see girls in skimpy or sexy clothes waiting for customers on street corners in Garapan.

For whatever reason, despite the government’s so called effort to curb prostitution or the appearance of it, there is still prostitution, (now cheaper, some say because of the economy) although we read in the papers that from time to time there are women arrested for ‘soliciting’.

(speaking of bad economy, I was told other women sell themselves NOW but customers would pay LATER--after the customers receive their salaries. this applies to customers who are working on saipan, whether as resident or guest worker)

Remember the Starlite Club in Garapan, which recruited minors from the Philippines to strip dance? That club’s right across a police station for years and yet the abuses were supposedly discovered ONLY last year. And it was not discovered by chance by any police officer, but only after the minors and other women ran away from their employers.

(to be continued…)


James said...

I applaud your comments on this issue. One of the challenges we have here is to raise the level of public awareness about human trafficking and the sex trade. Red Heart and Starlite are only the tip of the iceberg. In my capacity as the Federal Ombudsman for the CNMI, I have convened a group of concerned citizens who are interested in these issues, which I have somewhat inelegantly dubbed the "Victims of Trafficking and Battered Immigrant Women's Coalition," and we have been meeting quarterly for a little over a year. Perhaps you would like to join us at our next meeting?

KAP said...

I heard a story about five years ago; a lot of women sitting around a club doing nothing. Suddenly, all of their cell phones go off at once and they rush out, evidently for some sort of lineup. Now, if I hear that story without looking for it, why doesn't law enforcement?

I see the same people lurking outside every time I go by certain places in Garapan, it's pretty obvious they're not selling flowers.

And I can't resist, a friend of mine drug me into a strip club. (Being serious for a change: that's not my normal behavior.) On the way out I spotted a Senator hunched over in a dark booth. Maybe it was that third beer, but I couldn't resist shouting his name across the room and marching over to make him stand up and shake hands.

As an added bonus, my friend stopped trying to get me into those places.

Bartimaeus said...

our island's problem with prostitution (among others) is centered on one factor only - our government - it is corrupt.

make that two factors - our people - we are blind!

Weird Elle said...

(The name of the 'new' establishment is Rainbow Night Club).

What does the inelegantly dubbed the 'victims of trafficking and battered women's immigrant coalition' do?

Somebody said when he was still on Saipan years ago, he told Immigration/Labor about the abuses in a particular Garapan night club. But an immigration officer told the owner of the club (they're friends? relatives?) about the same man who was just trying to help the women in that club. the club owner barred the man from entering their establishment.

James said...

The VOT/BIW Coalition gets together so we can see all the stakeholders who may come into contact with victims of trafficking, or may provide services to them; share information; identify what our respective roles are, and what resources we all bring to the table; identify unmet needs, and if necessary, seek funding to address those needs; and raise the level of public awareness about trafficking and its effects.

Weird Elle said...

Keep up the goodwork James!

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