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Feb. 19: First details released
Houston hosts hundreds of massage parlors described in sleazy online sex forums like RubMaps. Erotic pseudo spas both here and in other U. State Department reports, federal court cases and other studies. Houston has long been considered a hub for human trafficking - a form of human slavery - and Bouche's study, which employs a unique method to gauge the economic power of the growing network of rogue businesses, underscores how lucrative fake massage parlors can be. Bouche mined internet sex forum reviews to identify Houston-area massage parlors that appeared to be both illicit and blatantly open for erotic business. She then picked 32 massage parlors to study in-depth, placing hidden cameras on public streets near entrances and collecting hour surveillance videos in December Most of the so-called illicit massage parlors - IMPs - are in suburban strip malls and were busiest between noon and 4 p. Reach the National Human Trafficking Hotline at The study underscores that these businesses are common, lucrative and incredibly easy to detect, and yet spa operators have been very difficult to stop even in Houston, where state and federal authorities have active anti-human trafficking task forces and use civil lawsuits to sue landlords and criminal front companies. For more than a decade, Houston-based state and federal agents have busted large multinational rings that kidnapped and sold Mexican and Central American women and teens out of cantinas near the Port of Houston.
Illicit massage parlors prolific and lucrative, study finds
By Robert Wilonsky. For almost a decade, for-lease signs hung in giant windows displaying blank interiors. Then, in , came two new tenants, Number 1 and Lucky Haven, followed a year later by a place called New York, New York sandwiched between the two. Brightly lit signs were installed over doorways. The windows were covered up, the storefronts decorated with strips of LED lights colored blue, green and red. Inside, construction workers filled the empty shells with rooms, showers, kitchens.
Ivy glows like a s starlet. She agreed to tell me her story on the condition that I not reveal her true identity. For her customers, Ivy puts on a breathy Marilyn Monroe voice and wears retro baby doll nighties and stilettos. The space is cozy in a utilitarian way, with a shower stall in the corner and a padded massage table in the centre.