Curb Human Trafficking: Regulate Massage Therapy and Require Therapist Licensure
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Human trafficking is a form of slavery. One extremely prevalent form of human trafficking is sex trafficking where a vulnerable demographic (i.e. foreigners, runaway teens) are forced to perform sexual acts to patrons (colloquially known as "johns").
It is a not-well-kept secret that massage parlors, taking advantage of lax regulations, operate as brothels. These places are simple to find since they advertise on sites that promote prostitution such as Rubmaps.com and/or Backpages.com. It is not uncommon for the victims to be beaten by their oppressors and forced to live on-site. They are taxied to and fro locations to decrease their chances of assimilation with the local population, and thus, escape. Many times, the victims do not speak English and their isolation is heightened.
Meanwhile, the victims have no voice to be heard, crime increases in local towns, men (unaware of the location's reputation) will be sexually assaulted on-site and then be forced to pay for services, and legitimate massage therapists face an increased risk of encountering violent johns.
The reason that such an industry is targeted is simple: there are no regulations, no requirements for certification. Police officers and district attorneys hesitate to bring these cases to court or even be investigated. Anybody can rent a location, call themselves a massage therapist, and be open for business. By increasing regulations on massage therapists, we not only increase the legitimacy of therapists, we close one of the avenues that traffickers use to make forced prostitution legal in their towns.
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