Creepily, all ur floggers are made in Pakistan

Image by Zackary Canepari for The New York Times.

Okay, maybe not all your floggers, but this nicely unbiased New York Times article is really a mindfuck when you consider that the Taliban’s top weapon for beating people in the never-ever-sexy way is a whip. And when I searched Flickr for Karachi and flogger or whip, well… those results are not hot either. But making BDSM sex toys for the Western markets seems to be big business for one company in Pakistan — and as an aside, I’ll add that while not in the article, a thorough whois lookup on the company’s website is pretty interesting. The NYT piece has accompanying video, which of course, is not embeddable. Lame. Anyway, here’s a snip from Lacy Threads and Leather Straps Bind a Business:

In Pakistan, a flogger is known only as the Taliban’s choice whip for beating those who defy their strict codes of Islam.

But deep in the nation’s commercial capital, just next door to a mosque and the offices of a radical Islamic organization, in an unmarked house two Pakistani brothers have discovered a more liberal and lucrative use for the scourge: the $3 billion fetish and bondage industry in the West.

Their mom-and-pop-style garment business, AQTH, earns more than $1 million a year manufacturing 2,000 fetish and bondage products, including the Mistress Flogger, and exporting them to the United States and Europe. The Qadeer brothers, Adnan, 34, and Rizwan, 32, have made the business into an improbable success story in a country where bars are illegal and the poor are often bound to a lifetime in poverty.

If the bondage business seems an unlikely pursuit for two button-down, slightly awkward, decidedly deadpan lower-class Pakistanis, it is. But then, discretion has been their byword. The brothers have taken extreme measures to conceal a business that in this deeply conservative Muslim country is as risky as it is risqué.

It helps that the dozens of veiled and uneducated female laborers who assemble the handmade items — gag balls, lime-green corsets, thonged spanking skirts — have no idea what the items are used for. Even the owners’ wives, and their conservative Muslim mother, have not been informed.

“If our mom knew, she would disown us,” said Adnan, seated on a leopard-print fabric covering his desk chair. “Due to cultural barriers and religion, people don’t discuss these things openly,” Rizwan said. “We have to hide this information.”

Even customs officials were perplexed at how to tax the items, not quite sure what they were, they said. Recently, when a curious employee inquired about the purpose of the sleep sack, a sleeping bag-like product used in certain kinds of bondage, she was told it was a body bag for the American military in Iraq.

Adnan Ahmed, a former air traffic controller who is now AQTH’s chief operating officer, said the items were undergarments. When asked if he considered a red-hot puppy mask an undergarment, he had a straightforward, but honest reply: “No. It’s just for joking.”(…read more,, thanks D!)

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  1. I ordered a custom corset from a local shop and it was made by A.S. Sons/DesignMaster.

    I found out from the shop owner that reason the price was so very reasonable was that they are made in Pakistan. It seemed a bit incongruent to me too. I’ve also always wondered what Chinese workers think while manufacturing all the stuff we import.

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