We have all seen news stories from various locations about massage parlors and prostitution but very few people are aware of the serious problem of human trafficking that is occurring at such places.
This is a subject that I am very passionate about, not only because such places give the massage industry a bad name but also because of the often overlooked topic of human trafficking and sex trafficking.
We need more public awareness to the fact that women are being exploited, abused, kept as indentured servants, forced to work countless hours, and perform sexual services. Many of these women do not speak English, many fear going to the police, fear for their lives and the lives of their family members.
In this article from Ohio just last year one such human trafficking ring was exposed: http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/worthington/news/2015/01/20/massage-parlors-raid-third-human-trafficking-suspect-surrenders.html
Some quotes from that article:
The Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced Wednesday, Jan. 14, that authorities had arrested two people after an investigation into suspected human trafficking.
“We have strong evidence that, at the Powell location, they were sleeping on massage parlor (tables),” Vest said.
He said authorities were attempting to build a rapport with the seven women. He said their countries of origin have not been confirmed.
“Many of them don’t speak English or (speak) very limited English,” he said. “Through the help of our federal partners, we brought in language specialists from literally around the United States.”
The Salvation Army of Central Ohio has offered to help the seven women procure housing and other needs in the aftermath of the investigation.
Vest said the investigation was started after his department received a tip that workers at the Powell massage parlor were sleeping there and engaging in prostitution.
This only one of the many reasons why I caution people to get their massages from reputable, certified, and state regulated massage therapists.
The dark side of the massage industry is that many places just like that massage parlor in Ohio are engaged in the crime of human trafficking as well as other crimes.
Such places are often involved in other illegal activities such as money laundering and drug dealing.
I was pleased to see that the Ohio police treated these women not as prostitutes or sex workers but as victims of a crime themselves, because they are victims and in need of help.
All too often we simply see a headline that reads:
“Massage Parlor workers arrested for prostitution”
And never give much thought to the fact that the owner or owners of the establishment may be exploiting these women. This is a common problem I see too often in the news, the women are arrested but the massage parlor remains in operation to continue its illegal activities.
Please be aware that women all across this country are being victimized every single day while this ongoing problem is quietly ignored by the media.
Please be a part of the solution by helping to bring about awareness of this nationwide problem, and if you suspect a massage parlor in your area of human trafficking do not hesitate to report it.
1 (888) 373-7888
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
Yours in Health and Wellness,Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen KishCAMTC Certified Massage Therapist