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With promises of happy endings, many of the local Asian massage parlors are offering such special services. So says Keith Coates, a d massage therapist, who went undercover without police help four years ago to begin investigating. Ina total ofonline advertisements selling sex were discovered by authorities in North Dakota, according to Melissa Williams, the prevention education supervisor for Rape and Abuse Crisis Center.
Before working with the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center she was the human trafficking navigator for eastern North Dakota. Who is willingly going to choose that? In China, happy ending massage parlors can be found in most larger cities, sometimes sectioned off into dimly lit red light districts with a helix of colorful stripes, or fronting as hair salons with back doors leading through winding alleys to secret rooms.
Most Chinese sex workers are from the countryside, speak hard-to-understand Mandarin dialects, and are focused on only one goal: money. Such establishments in China thrive until a government crackdown, and then disappear, only to resurface months later. The first middle-aged woman who offered sexual services in raised the first human trafficking red flags for Coates, he said. He gave his information to police, and waited, but two years later the parlors were still operating, he said. When he discussed his findings with YouthWorks management, they directed him to federal agents, he said.
Only after federal agents told him they had no case that he decided to deepen his own investigation. Asked her out on a date, went to the zoo, went to a couple other places, and after the third date she started opening up. The woman, who will remain unnamed at this time, turned out to be the owner, he said. Most women are tightly watched, bussed back and forth from work to sleeping quarters.
Sometimes they work, eat, and sleep in the same building. At night, all monies are pooled together, and from what he learned, workers are not paid wages. One time the woman he dated thought she was getting a young recruit, but grew angry when the woman appeared much older and gave terrible massages, he said. She decided to send her back immediately. Probably one of the worst evils that you and I can do to each other. They talked of failed marriages, but also of filial duty.
None of them talked about China in a good way. It was then when a police detective threatened him, Coates said. He was told that if he went public he could be implicated for soliciting prostitutes, he said. Regulation Steve Olson, a certified massage therapist for more than 33 years and former president of the American Massage Therapy Association, said regulating the massage industry straddles the fence between ethics and professionalism. Then there are laws governing the massage profession, which are managed by the massage therapy board. Then there is a whole other layer, a layer of professionalism, mostly to get liability coverage for their work.
Those organizations have certain standards that fall into the ethics. In North Dakota, a massage therapist must have hours of training, a figure higher than the national average, Olson said. Regulating the massage industry is complicated as such therapy is not technically medicinal, Olson said.
Today, many therapists have added alternative massage-like practices such as energy healing or acupuncture, but call themselves massage therapists. Other barriers exist with regulatory agencies, Melissa Williams said. Legalizing In some areas of the United States and across the world sexual services in massage parlors are legal, but well regulated. Massage parlors in North Dakota could be accredited in accordance with robust inspections, and those offering sexual services could become legal, tax paying entities, but such establishments would have to be differentiated from parlors offering legitimate healing, Keith Coates said.
Coates pointed to Manitoba, Canada where massage therapists are required to have 2, hours of training before certification.
We would have to get it approved through legislation to get it to work, but I have not heard of anything going that way yet. Steve Olson said the state should look to places like Nevada and California for regulating different levels of massage parlors instead of treating them all the same. The problem is about the people who want to work in a professional manner.
They eventually got a certification process for people who wanted to set themselves aside from the sex therapy side. In my opinion the state licensing board overstepped their position for a long time when they became firmly aligned with professional associations that were pushing higher standards beyond what people learn in school.
States regulate massage with certain standards of behavior. They can do nothing with establishments registered elsewhere. We do have these illegal places that are doing sex trafficking and human trafficking in our state, and it is a problem.
Ethnic groups are vulnerable to trafficking due to lack of relationships, little understanding of the culture, of language, or local customs, Emily Schwartz, director of the North Dakota Human Trafficking Taskforce, said. Such women should not be demonized or punished; they should be helped, Strain said. If a massage therapist is not d appropriately, then the board reports findings to police, Strain said. They have no power to enforce rules. The big power is the legislators, and we are trying to make it more difficult for these people to get a in our state. Most women are trafficked through hotels and online advertisements.
Market-driven criminal industry More than 40 million people are trafficked around the world every year, and 10 million of that are children, according to research from Unseen, an organization that fights against human trafficking in Fargo reported.
Most women working in illicit massage parlors are mothers in their 30s to late 50s, are from China or South Korea, are under extreme financial pressure, speak little English, and are recruited through fraudulent that misrepresent pay and hide the sexual nature of the job, the Polaris Project reported. Once trapped, they work excessive hours and are paid less than the minimum wage or nothing, and told such practices are normal. Billions of dollars are generated every year by forcing women, children, and men into forced labor or forced marriages, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
However, human trafficking does not exist solely because many people are vulnerable to exploitation. Instead, human trafficking is fueled by a demand for cheap labor, services, and for commercial sex. One detective threatened him not to go public with the information, Coates said. It would be a disservice to the Fargo Police Department and would not help to publish names or anything about this.
Getting involved in undercover investigations is dangerous, Melissa Williams said. The state needs more eyes on its massage parlors, and better staffing to understand the languages, cultures, and fears trafficked women posses, she said. Although Coates was warned by police, he understands the dangers he may be putting himself in by going public with his information, he said. This is slavery. By Kris Gruberperriex1 gmail. With help from a willing community, the founders of Lunch Aid North Dakota are continuing their….
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