As it does with everything, time has sown changes in the sex industry. While many sex workers still walk the streets, many now conduct their business out of massage parlors. Something the city of Houston is no stranger to. There are more of these sexually oriented businesses, these massage parlors, than there are Starbucks in our city.
To conduct her study on massage parlors and human trafficking, Bouche read numerous online reviews of sex forums to find illicit massage parlors. Then, in December , Bouche chose 32 of these parlors to look at more closely. Based on this footage, Bouche discovered a number of details: Every day, an estimated 2, men visit illegal massage parlors in Houston.
A majority of these massage parlors are located in strip malls out in the suburbs. The busiest time for these massage parlors is between noon and 4 p. Owners of erotic massage parlors mostly participate in sex trafficking with Asian immigrants. The Difficulties Inherent in Policing Illicit Massage Parlors Although these businesses are common and easy to detect, authorities have a difficult time shutting them down — even with the knowledge that they engage in human trafficking.
In December , the Houston city council passed an ordinance intended to crack down on massage parlors by giving police officers better access to inspect the facilities. The problem with this law, however, is that many parlors operate beyond the reach of that ordinance in unincorporated areas of Harris County.
When a massage parlor does get busted, the workers — essentially the victims — are often the ones arrested because it can be difficult to identify the true owner. In its session, the Texas Legislature passed two new laws that will have an impact on sexually oriented businesses. You can be charged with trafficking of persons if you knowingly Traffic another person and, through force, fraud, or coercion, cause the trafficked person to engage in conduct prohibited by prostitution, promotion of prostitution, aggravated promotion of prostitution, or compelling prostitution.
Receive a benefit from participating in a venture that involves prostitution or engage in sexual conduct with a person trafficked through force, fraud, or coercion. Traffic a child and by any means cause the trafficked child to engage in, or become the victim of, conduct prohibited by prostitution, sexual assault, or similar crimes.
Receive a benefit from participating in a venture that involves an activity described above or engages in sexual conduct with a trafficked child. Sex trafficking is felony of the second degree, punishable by two to 20 years in prison, unless the offense involves a child.
Then, regardless of whether you know the age of the child at the time of the offense, you will be charged with a felony of the first degree, which is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison. Sex trafficking is also a federal crime. If you engage in federal sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion, you could end up in prison for 10 years to life.
Sex offenses are taken seriously and if you want the best chance of beating the charges and fighting for your rights, you will need an aggressive defensive by a knowledgeable and skilled attorney.