First published in The Tribune on Friday, August 8, 2008 under the byline, Young Man's View.
OF LATE, prostitution and the sexual rendezvous of ladies—and men—of the night has been a hot dish for salacious gossip, particularly now with reports of a chubby, politician “john” (patron) purportedly being caught in a compromising position while seemingly patronising—or at least preparing to patronise—a streetwalker.
Although prostitution is illegal in the Bahamas, the world’s oldest profession is heavily practiced across the social spectrum.
In early June, The Tribune broke an exclusive story outlining the operations of a downtown brothel, ironically located directly above a coffee house known as the Daily Grind—occupying the second and third floors of the abandoned Mayfair Hotel.
On June 16, the brothel which specialised in foreign prostitutes and was practically next door to the Fort Charlotte police station, was raided by police who detained several Jamaican and Haitian prostitutes.
Shortly thereafter, a seaside prostitution ring along Long Wharf Beach was reportedly foiled.
Officers from the police station reportedly shut down a male prostitution ring that operated along the northern shoreline.
According to a senior policeman, the males were known to offer their services primarily to visitors, although locals are not excluded.
How long have the police known about the high jinks at this nearby hotel?
Surely, no-one can forget the enthralling account of an alleged Bahamian prostitute who appeared in court wearing a garbage bag and, upon being sentenced to a week behind bars, is alleged to have crudely shouted out that she would use her female genitalia (to paraphrase) for money even if no-one else does so with theirs.
Before this outburst, when police purportedly found her loitering on a corner in a transparent mini skirt and knee-high boots, she rendered another unforgettable quote by supposedly telling the officers that her “(private part) was made to sell.”
Even more recently, Acting President of the Arawak Cay Vendors Association Bruno Minnis promised to launch an official investigation to determine whether there was any truth to allegations that the popular cultural site had evolved into a local ‘red light district’.
He subsequently decided to scrap the internal investigation.
This week, news of a senior parliamentarian being cautioned by police last week after he was seen sitting in his car outside the now infamous Mayfair Hotel is another scandalous, dishonorable example of how our supposedly “honourable” parliamentarians lack a moral compass, break the law and fail to be exemplary role models.
What is the likelihood that that Parliamentarian could have been merely talking to a constituent or resident of his neighborhood, you know, performing his civic duties?
Was he counseling the strumpet and offering her free advice about the health and legal (or even religious) ramifications of her lifestyle?
Or, was he foolishly being a daredevil seeking a thrill, particularly since the news of prostitution rings at this venue have frequently been in the headlines of late?
In March, disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was embroiled in a prostitution scandal and forced to resign after being caught in a $5,500-an-hour international call-girl ring.
According to the New York Times, Spitzer—identified as Client 9—had patronised a Washington-based prostitution service and was caught on Federal wiretaps arranging for sexual trysts with a high-priced prostitute.
Like many local politicians, the former governor hypocritically gave lip service when he promised, in a victory speech, to make “ethics and integrity to be the hallmarks of (his) administration.”
Ironically, the Times Online describes Mr Spitzer as a “crusading former prosecutor who was once known as the Sheriff of Wall Street,” while other media outlets note that he had worked closely with women’s rights and anti-human trafficking groups while prosecuting numerous prostitution rings. What a quirk of fate!
With Spitzer’s notoriety and subsequent resignation in mind, I wonder if our local, parliamentarian ‘john’ will do the honourable thing?
Without even considering themselves prostitutes, I’ve been told of materialistic women, even educated and/or professional women, who have been taught—and in turn teach their daughters to—always “tax” a man who is courting or seeking to court them, rather than allow these guys to “beat up on (them) or put mileage on (their) body at no cost.”
Although it’s unlawful in the Bahamas, several European countries as well as Nevada State (US) have legalised this “profession.” In these jurisdictions, prostitutes are often seen as a needed service as some men require a sexual outlet and, as has been suggested in the past, the argument has been made that without prostitutes a lot of sexually fervor would be fulfilled illegally through rapes.
Having travelled to Amsterdam, Holland, I can attest to having seen the red light district where a wide variety of floozies are featured behind glass doors and, I was told, are subjected to routine health checks and a form of licensing/inspection.
In many instances, these women can cater to up to 20 ‘johns’ in one night.
In the Bahamas, the exchange of money for a bit of nookie in an alleyway or dark spot, back seat of a vehicle, hotel room or at a private residence is an almost unspoken, common occurrence.
Usually, as with prostitutes elsewhere, the ‘johns’, by and large, are men who aren’t sexually contented with their domestic arrangements and thereby tend to engage in “business transactions” without emotional attachments, or start bi-sexual/gay relationships or emotionally/financially invest in a sweetheart.
A well-placed source recently told me that some Bahamian women sleep with men for cash, ranging anywhere from $60 to 5000, for school tuition payments, phone cards, chicken in the bag, utility and bill payments, and so on.
Local prostitutes are said to fit into three classes. The posh, upscale hookers are said to be those who sell their physical wares to quickly amass big bucks, while recognizing that they possess a commodity that has a shelf life and declines with their youth as they are replaced.
These tramps usually operate at the major hotels. Apparently, these high-end harlots offer a menu of services ranging from oral sex to a night away to “deluxe relief packages”.
The middle stream prostitutes are those who basically occupy motel rooms or private residences.
The bottom dwellers is said to be the Dowdeswell Street knee trembler market, which my source refers to as women who “stand against a tree or building for $5 bucks a throw.”
Dowdeswell Street, which appears to be a central depot for hookers and rundown whore houses, is where, my source claims, “hookers can be gotten below market value as part of a special economy package.”
Here, pimps run a horde of prostitutes along Nassau’s streets and dark alleys.
I’m also told that the prostitutes skulking about Dowdeswell Street may be single or married people who prostitute themselves out of desperation and engage in it as a means to survive, likely reinforcing a dysfunctional situation at home.
I’m told that for the right amount, some prostitutes would readily have risky, unprotected sex.
This is particularly dangerous, because unlike the 1960s/1970s when a person could catch a treatable dose of the clap (or another STD), unprotected sex these days is a life or death situation (AIDs/HIV).
While prostitution may be an adventure for those patrons and scarlet women partaking in this timeless trade, the other side of the coin is that persons are virtually playing with dynamite in their pursuit of gratification, as there are major implications not only for one’s self but that also affect their families.