The Life of a Massage Parlor Woman

Forsyth County – It has been said that if the public could see what went on in the massage parlors next to their neighborhoods, there wouldn’t be a single one left open.

Yet, the plague of brothels posing as massage parlors continues to spread like a creeping infection across the United States, rotting our families and communities from the inside out.

Do you wonder what life is like for these women who are forced to provide sex for every man who walks in these parlors?

We thought to write an article illuminating the horrors of such a life, but since others have done that very well already, we felt it easier to simply point you to one of those accounts:

The Lost Girls is the story of “Kiki,” a real life victim of forced sexual exploitation who was trafficked first in Texas, then all over the country, including Atlanta. Girls just like her are exploited every day in the massage parlors that remain open in Forsyth County.

Here are some highlights from that article:

Living quarters - Copy“There are things that Kamchana (Kiki) doesn’t remember. This would include…when she arrived from Thailand and was moved from city to city so often she could not keep the names straight, much less spell or pronounce them. In “Boustons,” “Atanda,” “Mayarmei,” and other cities, the places she worked all looked the same inside and out, with the words “spa” or “massage” in the name and the neon Open signs always on. The front windows were usually blacked out, and there was often an ATM in the tiny lobby, which was furnished with cheap, overstuffed sofas where the women sat, their arms and legs crossed, dressed in lingerie or bikinis, waiting for customers.”

“The customers rarely seemed to grasp that the women were captives. They didn’t see the other rooms…”

“Every two weeks she was loaded up and moved to another city, another spa…”

“…she was being held until she paid off the debt of tens of thousands of dollars…”

Storefront - Copy“They had told her she would be working it off in a restaurant, but the job description had changed once she arrived…She mostly worked 12-hour shifts, sold by the hour to men of different colors and creeds, rich and poor, grandfathers, husbands, fathers, sons. Sometimes her shifts lasted 24 hours.”

“Someone picks you up and drives you away, and leaving the airport, you catch a glimpse of your future: teeming freeways, skyscrapers so tall they block out the sun, shopping malls that would dwarf your entire village. Your new “boss” buys you lunch, and you cannot believe the size of the portions put in front of you. All around you are people who want for nothing. While you are in this state—dizzy, disoriented—your boss takes you to a place that isn’t a restaurant or a factory and tells you to unpack your few belongings in a dingy back room. He tells you that this is where you will work to pay off your debt. You will be a prostitute…”

Interior of Yan Massage

“The manager would hold her identification under lock and key…”

“She had become an integral part of an organized Asian crime ring that was run more efficiently than many global corporations.”

“When you protest, he beats you, starves you, or keeps you awake for days on end. Then, just to make himself clear, he holds up a picture of your son or your parents or your sister and tears it in half. Or maybe he just says, ‘We hear your father has a bad heart.'”

“It took Kiki six or seven months to pay off her debt, along with the extra fees she had been charged for food, shelter, and travel. By then she had made almost $200,000 for her trafficker. But she was free. The moment should have marked the end of a horrible ordeal and the beginning of a fresh start in a new country. Instead, she was locked out of a massage parlor in the middle of the night in Philadelphia. She still had no money and no identification. She knew no one, except, of course, the people inside…She banged on the door, and they let her back in.”

Kamchana - Copy“[Now that she has been arrested] she has “no status,” a legal term when applied to immigration law but one that also describes her life in general. If she is deported, she will be sent back to Thailand, where she will most likely face shame from her family and possibly death at the hands of the people who dispatched her to America. “

“She may already have suffered too much physical and psychological damage to ever recover fully.”

This is the tragic story of tens of thousands of Massage Parlor Women in the United States today.

You can do something about it. You can call your public officials and demand that they shut these massage parlors down now.