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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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

IMI Remains Largely Intact After Weathering COVID-19

Barring the reinstatement of country-wide non-essential business closures, we assess the illicit massage industry (IMI) remains well-positioned for a return to normal operations by mid-to-late 2020. We judge that the relatively short duration of recent business closures was likely insufficient to significantly undermine IMI finances writ-large...

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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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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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