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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COVID-19

Pandemic Threatens IMI Revenue and Long-Term Viability

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying closure of non-essential businesses have severely compromised the financial standing of illicit massage businesses (IMBs) across the country. Once considered a low-risk, highly profitable criminal enterprise, we assess nearly all IMBs will likely be approaching complete insolvency...

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Illicit Massage Industry

Prosecuting IMI Networks More Effectively

Prosecutors often face unappealing options when trying to bring illicit massage business owners to justice for their involvement in sex trafficking. Heyrick Research and Street Grace interviewed prosecutors around the country to identify underutilized means of building successful multi-charge cases against illicit massage industry networks...

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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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Illicit Massage Industry

Assessing Anti-IMB Ordinances

Cities that have successfully used ordinances to create an inoperable environment for illicit massage businesses (IMBs) as part of their anti-human trafficking efforts have a balance of effective prevention and strong enforcement measures...

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Economics

The IMI - A Financial Baseline

Within the United States, the illicit massage industry operates as a largely unregulated, multi-billion-dollar transnational criminal enterprise. Conservative estimates of its total illegal revenue hover around $3.5 billion dollars, based on academic research and suspected revenue estimates for the approximately 10,000 IMI storefronts in the U.S.

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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 as of June 2021 was made up of over 11,000 illicit massage businesses (IMBs) across all 50 states...

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Illicit Massage Industry

FAQs for Journalists - Putting Illicit Massage Businesses in Context

Many communities—including local journalists—are surprised when they find out that illicit massage businesses are operating in their area. At Heyrick Research, we frequently speak with reporters to give background about trafficking in the illicit massage industry. Here is a brief FAQ.

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Illicit Massage Industry

Racism in the Illicit Massage Industry: The Sexual Stereotyping of Asian Women by U.S. Sex Buyers

When a shooter killed eight people at three illicit massage businesses in Atlanta in March 2021, the crimes were immediately linked to race. The shooter himself, however, claimed the crimes were not racially motivated, but were caused by his “sex addiction.” But the sexual stereotyping of Asian women in the United States is not new.

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Illicit Massage Industry

Lack of Impact Data Hinders Efforts to Deter Sex Buyers

Decreasing the demand for commercial sex is often considered the most difficult effort to combat sex trafficking. However, no one really knows what can deter sex buyers, as the impact of deterrence tactics are almost never measured...

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