Why You Should be Suspicious of Your Local Asian Massage Parlor and 3 Things You Can Do About It

February 21, 2016


Asian Massage

This post received more visits than any other on my personal blog. Most of the visits were seemingly from men searching for “asian massage parlors” because their comments were lewd and derogatory. It kind of proves my point, but anyways… Due to the unwanted attention, I’ve moved it over here in hopes of continuing to educate a public on the ins and outs of human trafficking in our backyard.

I live in a smallish town. It’s the kind of college town where graduates stick around and raise families, but is also full of transplants, like myself. We are drawn to the bike trails, proximity to the Rockies, and micro-brews. My town is an easy place to raise a family in that I’m rarely shielding eyes or explaining street behavior sooner than I’d like.

But my town has brothels.

This morning as I left the gym, I decided to linger for a while in front of the Oriental Health Spa next door. I’ve had my suspicions because, let’s face it, I’m suspicious of all Asian massage parlors after I witnessed the take down of two last year in similar strip malls. Besides, I already knew this one was fishy. Here’s why:

1. The blinds have always been closed.
2. The hours are from 10am-10pm.
3. They are listed on Backpage.com and rubmaps.com, both known by customers as the place to get the scoop on the “happy ending” offered and leave their own review. This place had a 4 star review.

Those are the obvious signs. After a little more recon, at various hours, I would probably notice only men entering the business.

To be fair, not all Asian massage businesses are trafficking women. Some are operating a place of prostitution with women of age who have given their consent. As I have learned, this is somewhat a culturally accepted norm in their country of origin. That being said, there are also plenty of women who enter the U.S. under false promises only to be stuck in a crime ring and coerced through fear to provide customers with their happy ending.

Trafficking is when women are forced to provide sexual services against their will, under fraudulent circumstances, or under threat (force, fraud, or coercion) OR if the person is under the age of 18. It does exist in Asian massage parlors, which is why a little suspicion doesn’t hurt. Here are three steps you can take with your local Asian massage business:

1. Park yourself in the area at a few different times of day. What do you see? Only male customers? Blinds closed? How about out back? Are there signs of someone living inside, like a crockpot or clothesline? Take notes.

2. Look up their website online. Click a few links. Are you redirected to a site like backpage, rubmaps, or other exotic listservs? Take notes.

3. Call in a tip to your local police department. Ask which officer is interested in human trafficking tips. If there isn’t anyone, ask for a neighborhood enforcement or community enforcement officer. They are the ones who will investigate citizen complaints. Tell them your concerns and ask for someone to look into it. Follow up a week later.

People who know of my work often tell me what else I should look into: “Hey, what about that adult bookstore?” or “How about that sex toy and lingerie place?” Let me clarify, we should not be on a crusade to end sexual deviancy. Our concern should be for women who are being exploited. We should want freedom and options for those who have been robbed of basic rights. Ultimately, we should be about restoring dignity and value to women who have a marred sense of worth. Exposing false businesses who profit off of the direct exploitation of women is worth a little bit of recon.

Let me clarify, we should not be on a crusade to end sexual deviancy. Our concern should be for… Click To Tweet

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