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When massage parlors take what they do to another level

Published: Fri, April 15, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

What’s a city to do when there is ample anonymous evidence on various websites that at least some of its inordinately large number of massage parlors are gaining a reputation for providing not massage, but sexual services?

That’s the dilemma facing the city of Warren where there are 10 massage parlors, many of which can be quickly referenced on Internet sites where customers rate the sexual services they have received.

City officials, however, say they are virtually powerless to build legal cases against the businesses, and those operators of the parlors who will talk to reporters deny that they are trafficking in sex. It is not a new problem, but one that is gaining increasing attention in a city that is losing population and is struggling to stabilize its neighborhoods.

The Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative is taking an active role, defining the issue as one of human trafficking and modern-day slavery of women in the sex trade. Members of MVOC have met with state and federal lawmakers to express their concern and seek support.

To the extent that women working in these massage parlors are providing sexual services, the massage parlor business in Warren may be — quite literally — a federal case. Even if the women aren’t being moved across state lines in the course of their employment, their are federal issues involved.

The Justice Department has in any number of cases charged massage parlor owners and employees with conspiring to use interstate facilities — that is telephone lines that transmit credit card information — in a racketeering enterprise, namely prostitution.

While the value of community activism and tougher local laws should not be minimized, federal law enforcement agents may have the bigger club and greater means of cracking down on illegitimate massage parlors.

Some defend the parlors as tax-paying businesses that should be left alone. And that is true, if the parlors are not breaking the law.

Unless or until the law is changed, however, prostitution is illegal.

Little wiggle room

While the evidence on the Internet is anonymous and insufficient to support criminal charges, it is explicit enough to leave little doubt that prostitution is taking place.

Warren is one of several dozens cities with its own thread on one website devoted to rating the sexual performance of various massage parlors and the women who work there. And those who post on such sites take their conversations seriously. Consider this posting by a site moderator when he thought that the conversation was getting off track: “Gentlemen: The purpose of this Forum is to provide for the exchange of information between Men on the subject of finding Women for Sex. Let’s get back to the subject.”

Warren police say they are following up on citizen complaints about massage parlors as houses of prostitution, but that making a case is a long, tedious process. Given demands of trying to make a case that could have a low probability of conviction, such an investigation may not be the best use of local manpower.

If the city is serious about cracking down, local police should be taking what they have to the feds. Maybe they already have.

Those conspiracy charges we mentioned earlier may sound innocuous, but they’re not. The charges carry maximum potential sentences of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

That’s enough time to make some people think twice about trying to make Warren the destination of choice for men seeking what’s known in the trade as a “happy ending.”


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

"City officials, however, say they are virtually powerless to build legal cases against the businesses"

Psssttttttt . . . .. STING OPERATION ! I'm sure that someone can be found to be wired and go inside . The only thing stopping this action would be that perhaps city officials may be embarassed when the masseuse rats them out .

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

"And so far NOTHING has been done to stop the abuse???!!"

The city officials may still be checking . . ..

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3rasims(9 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

These are difficult economic times. Leave them alone, even if they are providing "value-added" services. It is a great way to relax and better than taking drugs or drinking booze.

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4jeep56(7 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

"City officials, however, say they are virtually powerless to build legal cases against the businesses"

This is nonsense. Cleveland, Ashtabula, Elyria, Pittsburgh, Nashville and even our neighbors to the west, Springfield Ohio were able to shut down their massage parlor problems and yet "City Officials" say they are powerless?

It looks to me that there may be payoffs being made to allow the massage parlors to continue operations. IT is the only reason I can think that "City Officials" would say they are powerless. They are far from powerless and should seek council from the above mentioned cities. Any city official that comes out saying they are powerless should be removed from office.

And as far as the people who write in supporting the massage parlors, they are probably the ones who we see traveling to our city who come here to have a "Happy Ending." They are the ones who bring their coupons from the Plain Dealer or the Akron Beacon Journal for their 20% off. Oh and don't forget their buy 5 and get one free cards some of these houses of prostitution have.

Warren does not need your money or your comments. Stay in Cleveland or Akron and find a real date instead of coming here and paying for a date with a woman who can almost speak English and only wants you for your money. .

Lets call it for what it is. These massage parlors are houses of prostitution. These places are using foreign Korean women in bad situations for profit. We all know it. The Johns even talk about it openly on WWW.USASEXGUIDE.INFO.

If city officials cannot do what is needed, then it is time for a change.Don't wait for the next election when it seems the only time things get done. Warren need someone now to take charge and get rid of these blights on the city. .

The city of Warren is now known around the country and the world, as a destination for prostitution, IF the rest of the world knows it, why do the "City Officials" not know it?

$$Cha Ching.$$

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