Thursday, August 20, 2015

War and Brothels

War and Brothels

As a wife and mother of military men, this subject is one that isn't so dear to my heart, but I do find it interesting and think it is important to look at.

During WWII and probably every other war, when thousands of men left home to fight and had to leave the calm of home and family, it is know fact that many found solace in the arms of other women, and more often than not those women were hookers.

In WWI many soldiers dealt with lice and bugs and trench fever among other things, but the multitudes of men caused an uptick in sexually transmitted diseases. So many men found escape from the horrors of war in brothels, the French set up the red light districts and hookers who worked in the brothels were checked for STD's before they could work there. 150,000 British soldier received care for venereal infection in France. It is said that 171,000 men visited the red light district in Le Havre 1915 alone.

In WWII the Japanese had Comfort Women. Some of these women were lured by the prospect of jobs in laundries and restaurants, most were kidnapped from their homes in the countries Japan occupied and forced into sexual slavery. Japan had well-organized and were open to prostitution at home and decided they should have it on the field as well. The Comfort Women were employed to keep the Japanese soldiers happy, which in turn was to keep them from raping other women and should stave hostilities.

While some Japanese hookers chose to continue servicing the Imperial Army their numbers were few. It is said some 20,000 (at the beginning) to 350,000 plus women forced into brothels for the Japanese throughout Asia and the Pacific Islands. So you could well imagine that kidnapping women and putting them into sexual slavery didn't promote goodwill.

When the bases opened on Oahu and the Hawaii islands, prostitution was legal. While the islanders and the vast number of Asian settlers to the islands found prostitution to be a necessary evil, views on open prostitution had been tempered by the 'social purity movement', and laws were put in place, (that were loosely enforced) to keep the women in line. It became unacceptable to work as a prostitute unless you worked from a brothel (or boogey house). Independent hooking was suppressed.

Local Police regulated the brothels and it was said that they meant the incoming ships and unescorted woman who were possible madams there to ply their trade, were handed a list of rules or "Ten Commandments" she was to obey;

She may not visit Waikiki Beach or any other beach except Kailua Beach [across the mountains from Honolulu].
She may not patronize any bars or better class cafes.
She may not own property or an automobile.
She may not have a steady “boyfriend” or be seen on the streets with any men.
She may not marry service personnel.
She may not attend dances or visit golf courses.
She may not ride in the front seat of a taxicab, or with a man in the back seat.
She may not wire money to the mainland without permission of the madam.
She may not telephone the mainland without permission of the madam.
She may not change from one house to another.
She may not be out of the brothel after 10:30 at night.

It is said these 'commandments' were enforced with a heavy hand. Hooking on the island was a lucrative business. Some women made $25,000 to $30,000. Madam triple that or more. After Pearl Harbor, many women went back to the mainland and others became nurses, leaving just when the island was flooded with men.

When the ships came in the lines were long. Locals knew what the lines were for, but said little about it. Many just walked through the lines as they went about their everyday lives. 

The women began to make so much money they began to go against the "Ten Commandments" and spend it in society. When the police tried to enforce the rules, the women ran to the Military. At that point, the military (though they wouldn't admit to it) somewhat took over the brothels that lines Hotel Street. They said that the women could be in society and the military even took over the weekly testing for STD's. The women stood up as well saying they were working for the war effort. Which angered the local police. You can read more about it here.

I remember walking around the streets of Ephesus as a teenager and finding a foot engraved into the stones of the old road that gave directions to the nearest brothel for the sailors arriving at the port there.

Giving credence to the old adage that "Next to motherhood. Prostitution is the oldest profession."

Justine Whitcomb, who, after the missionary compound where she lives is attacked, is left to get herself and several children off the island of New Guinea. Escaping might be easier done if she didn't have to get through Japanese lines and fight Lieutenant Tyler Merrick of the US Navy in the process.

Lt. Merrick is on a mission to find a rogue spy and Justine's independent nature and knowledge of the island has him believing she just might be the spy he's after. Were it not for the children she's protecting, he would've followed his instincts and taken her prisoner already.

Now she wants him to follow her through the jungle. He's not certain he's ready to trust her. But if they can't put their fears aside and learn to trust one another, they might not get off the island alive.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Cover Wars

To Carry Her Cross
is on
Cover Wars all this week.

I would love your vote (daily votes are allowed) for this beautiful cover by Carol Fiorillo at Desert Breeze.
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