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There are more Asian massage parlors in the U.S. than there are retail bank locations and Starbucks. The $3.6 Billion industry generates sales greater than the drive sharing company Lyft.
Given free labor (slaves), the only business are laundry, rent, utilities, and feeding the slaves (ramen noodles).
Most Asian massage parlors are
retail sex trafficking houses.
(A)The manager / owner is the pimp.
(B) The buyer (customer) is the john ("happy endings" and more)
(C) The Asian masseuse is the trafficked slave.
Any type of trafficking (labor or sex) always has
at at least one of three elements:
fraud, coercion, or force.
If uninformed, it is not disingenuous for one to ask - who is getting hurt here? It is consensual, right?
Actually, no it is not.
What people need to understand that approximately 90 % of the workers are there against their own will. The workers are enslaved. Many literally sleep and eat in these parlors.
It is unthinking to suggest that the workers can just walk away at anytime. One could make the same claim about black slaves in the South. Anyone is capable of walking.
But a sex slave cannot leave for many reasons:
(1) They have no money. The money remains in the house.
(2) They have no car, license, or a place to stay.
(3) They barely speak a word of English.
(4) Their families in China (or Taiwan, South Korea, or Vietnam) are under threat.
(5) They have been taught to fear the police and are afraid of being arrested for prostitution. The Asian culture is also relatively more steeped in shame.
The following are typical elements of the Asian sex slave trade.
Origins: Often a victim has been the victim of domestic abuse in their home country. FRAUD is introduced as the female victims aren't told up front exactly what they would be doing in the United States and elsewhere... and they are not told they would be trapped. They routinely are told that they have a good paying job waiting for them at a resort or golf club
Organized crime, conspiracy, and racketeering The victims may be routed (via false Visas) through JFK (NYC airport) and taken to Flushing (NY). Special Visas are applied for and crooked lawyers secure work authorization cards. These cards are significant because otherwise the slaves could be freed through an ICE RAID (counterintuitively, a raid would have the benefit of freeing slaves from their bondage).
The hook The victims are assigned the costs and expenses of bringing them to the U.S. They are told they must work off these fees. All of their documents are commandeered. The victims at this point have lost their freedom because no amount of work is ever enough. They are enslaved. The victims are moved from spa to spa to disorient them. They are taught to fear the police and to fear retribution to their families in Asia.
Conditions Sleeping mats, unusual attire, few if any official massage licenses (one company shut down for selling credentials), full refrigerator, hot plates, washer and dryer, money hidden in Baby powder cannisters (and elsewhere)
T Visa (Trafficking Visa) created in 2000
1) works w law enforcement (slaves and not prostitutes)
2) Would suffer hardship if sent home
3) Allows them to bring family members to U.S.
4) Green card and then citizenship
They are threatened w arrest and deportation by pimps.
- Downside remains power imbalance
- Legalization is essentially "pimp" protection as females would not have skills to market themselves.
- Females could be beat up because they represent competition to pimps.