Due to the energy released recently by the explosive Weinstein scandal, the news trumpets have been overwhelmed with sexual abuse material to work through, as has the kazoo section on social media, which perhaps explains how this story has been missed.
“Kuwait arrests gang who forced men to cross-dress and work as massage girls” reported Arab website Stepfeed.com last week, quoting reports from Kuwaiti daily Al Rai.
While details are sketchy, 26 Asian nationals were held in captivity by the gang, forced to “put on cosmetics, wear women’s clothing and…provide sexual services to customers” at “massage institutes” in two Kuwaiti cities.
In a scenario doubtless familiar to countless female prostitutes, they were also forced to “work without rest” and were “deprived of their financial entitlements.”
The “massage institutes” were “turned into dens of torture and incarceration” reports Al Rai.
While the case is being treated as one of human trafficking, the complete absence of detail as to who these men were leaves the reader none the wiser as to whether this is business as usual for the international sex pirate industry or an entire new front in the trade.
It may be that these men were on their way to the Gulf to engage in a little freelance sex business of their own, and fell into the clutches of this awful massage institute chain.
It may be that they were unemployed rural simpletons lured to Kuwait with the promise of a career in cement mixing, only to find their hopes and dreams reconfigured like so many who have gone before them.
Or they may have been a bus load of Samsung middle management, in Kuwait to kick back with a little golf and K-pop karaoke, and whose corporate retreat introduced the kind of challenge yet to be attempted on The Apprentice.
Absent these vital details, who knows what was going on?
Like the Weinstein scandal, these gaps in the story just lead to cross-currents of confusion and bewilderment, where people are barely more informed than when they knew nothing.
The Foreign Office, however, has not yet seen the need to update its travel advice to Kuwait.