Case Study

Lafayette, LA – IMI Case Study

On February 12, 2019, after a 17-month investigation, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office raided five massage parlors, arresting eight owner/operators on charges of human trafficking and prostitution. In addition to the five IMBs, police searched three residences, confiscating $50,000 in cash, five vehicles, jewelry, phones, computers, and...

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Illicit Massage Industry

Assessing the Potential Impact of COVID-19 on the IMI

We assess the COVID-19 crisis will severely impact illicit massage business (IMB) operations in the short-to-medium term, particularly in states which ordered the closure of non-essential businesses. The potential long-term effects on the illicit massage industry (IMI) remain unclear given uncertainty surrounding the longevity and intensity...

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Case Study

Seattle, WA – IMI Case Study

On February 28, 2019, after a three-year investigation, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) raided eleven massage parlors, arresting five owners/operators, and freeing 26 victim workers. The takedown focused on the Chinatown-International district, Beacon Hill and Sodo. Six people were charged with varying counts of promoting prostitution and...

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Economics

What is the Illicit Massage Industry?

The Illicit Massage Industry (IMI) is one of the largest - and most networked - sex trafficking markets in the United States. We assess the IMI is made up of over 10,000 illicit massage businesses (IMBs) across all 50 states.

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Data

The IMI Chinese Supply Chain: An Analytic Baseline

We assess over 84% of IMBs in the U.S. are “Chinese”- in that their management and/or workers originate from mainland China. Structurally, the CSC IMB networks appear diffused, with small, unrelated networks often competing or coexisting in the same locality, whereas CSC apartment brothel networks typically report to a single leader.

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Data

Chinese Employment Agencies and the IMI

U.S.-based Chinese employment agencies identify domestic jobs for Chinese nationals seeking employment in the US. A number of Chinese victim workers first reported learning about the IMI from these agencies. We assess that sustained engagement and improved monitoring of these agencies could potentially impede IMI sourcing tactics.

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Disruption

Piloting New Initiatives to Disrupt the IMI

Despite an increase in LE action nationwide, IMI facilitators continue working to ensure network survival in the wake of police raids, arrests, and leadership vacuums. Nevertheless, several recent successes suggest these networks are vulnerable. Further piloting of counter-IMI tactics will be key to ensuring long-term, sustained success against...

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