Will Closing Massage Parlors and Spas Throughout the State Curb Sex Trafficking and Prostitution? Some Experts Say No
Two Orange County massage parlors have been shut down in connection with the statewide sex trafficking and prostitution sting that netted New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Some advocates warn closing massage parlors could make it more dangerous for sex workers.
The investigation led by the Vero Beach Police Department shuttered East Spa in Winter Park and Rainbow Spa in Orlando. Police arrested five workers and put out warrants for two others.
But Sex Workers Outreach Project organizer Alex Andrews says closing these massage parlors will only drive prostitution underground.
“And make it more dangerous for sex workers to verify and vet clients to make sure they’re not meeting up with someone who is violent.”
Andrews says it also makes it harder to find and identify victims of sex trafficking.
That’s why her organization advocates for the decriminalization of sex work.
“It does not protect pimps or traffickers. What it does is decriminalizes and de-stigmatizes the profession so that when someone does have crimes committed against them they are free to report.”
Two Orlando women-49-year-old Lanyun Ma and 27-year-old Yaping Ren-were arrested on charges related to prostitution. Ma was also charged with human trafficking.
If you or someone you know is a victim of trafficking you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline 24-7 days at week at 1 (888) 373-7888.
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