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This article is part one of a five-part series titled "The Business of Illicit Massage. HADLEY — Prosecutors painted a squalid picture of what went on inside the little house Massage chinatown boston busy Russell Street: The Asian women were kept there night and day, providing sexual services for a fee, sleeping where they worked, and rarely venturing outside except to take out the trash. The customers themselves led law enforcement to the address inby writing detailed reviews of the services they received at Hadley Massage Therapy — services that went far beyond massage.
On a controversial website called Rubmaps. The now-closed Hadley Massage Therapy is one of hundreds of erotic massage centers described on Rubmaps. But, Massage chinatown boston though law enforcement officials can easily find other suspected sex trafficking operations on Rubmaps. Shutting them down is not as simple as rounding up the men and women in the massage parlor.
Healey said her office will continue to go after the massage businesses described on the review boards. But even when law enforcement moves against erotic massage parlors, conviction of alleged traffickers is no slam dunk. The women, many of them fearful of deportation and Massage chinatown boston to speak English, often make reluctant and poor witnesses. After being questioned, they often leave the state. Donna Gavin, head of the human trafficking unit for the Boston Police Department, said police scrutinize review boards during investigations when they get tips about problematic addresses.
But they have to be selective because investigations can be labor intensive, she said. Indeed, the internet has been a boon for human trafficking generally, allowing sellers to easily and discreetly reach buyers without attracting attention. For example, cases of forced sex and forced labor reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline increased by He would have done it anyway, he said, but the Internet made it much easier. Launched inRubmaps. The site, registered to a Georgios Veniaminidis based in Cyprus, is careful to distance itself Massage chinatown boston illegal activities.
An analysis of the site provided by an anti-trafficking group, Praesidium Partners LLC, identified active illicit massage parlors in Massachusetts. In addition, Rubmaps lists many parlors that are now closed. Some, such as Los Angeles-based sex researcher and psychotherapist Christine Milrod, say the industry is comprised of buyers and many sex workers who choose their occupations without force or coercion, making the encounters a proverbial victimless crime. But others such as Valiant Richey, a prosecutor in King County, Washington, believe many massage parlor women are exploited, forced into service through debt bondage, poverty and fear.
He said review boards are fueling commercial sex by increasing demand. Richey may be the first state prosecutor to go after reviewers for promoting prostitution, targeting the now shuttered Seattle-based site, The Review Board. Thirty-five defendants, including brothel operators and reviewers of prostitution-related services provided mainly by Korean women, were charged last year. Most pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges and a trial is pending in March for two remaining men. The debate about whether such sites are legal echoes a more public fight over Back.
Last year, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from three sex-trafficking victims in Massachusetts who accused the website of helping to facilitate the abuse and exploitation of children. Other efforts to go after Back have been thwarted by the federal Communications Decency Act, which shields online platforms from liability.
Still, Sen. Last August, the lawmakers filed legislation meant to hold Back and other websites able by eliminating federal liability protection for websites proven to facilitate sex trafficking laws. Prosecutors from Massachusetts to Minnesota detail cases where mostly foreign-born women work seven days a week, 12 to 24 hours a day, sleeping in parlors or nearby flop houses, and are managed by a network of interstate traffickers and business people.
Semen and sperm were found on doors, towels, walls, blankets and massage tables, court records show. All three have pleaded not guilty. So far only one has reached a conviction and in that case prosecutors withdrew the sex trafficking charge to settle with a lesser prostitution-related plea. Many argue that, without reducing demand, the problem will never go away. With that much money on the line, sex traffickers often find new locations as soon as one is shut down. Some anti-trafficking advocates are using Rubmaps as a tool to fight the industry. In Houston, a nonprofit advocacy group called Children at Risk is using review data to identify apparent illicit parlors and Massage chinatown boston volunteer attorneys to seek to shut them down for lack of Massage chinatown boston records.
For Shandra Woworuntu, a year-old human rights activist and sex trafficking survivor based in London, viewing Rubmaps was a shock. Woworuntu, founder and director of the New York-based Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program, said she still is recovering from her brutal enslavement in in brothels, massage parlors and hotels along the East Coast. This story was co-published with the Boston Globe. Jenifer B. She focuses on social justice issues, including criminal justice, child welfare, sex trafficking and personal debt for print, digital and broadcast.
Listen phillip-me. By Phillip Martin. Share Facebook Tweet. A former sex buyer, Massage chinatown boston in recovery, revisits Boston's Chinatown where he sometimes frequented erotic massage parlors. He says such establishments are all over the state.
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Donate now. Related Stories. March 2, AM. Not all women in the commercial sex industry have been victims of sex trafficking. But that's where many victims of trafficking end up. One woman who got out has begun a program to help Massage chinatown boston.
February 24, PM. WGBH News investigative reporter Phillip Martin spoke about his reporting into human trafficking and its connection to recent allegations against Robert Kraft.
April 30, AM. March 7, PM. This article is part four of a five-part series titled "The Business of Illicit Massage.Massage chinatown boston
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