It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a chief financial executive to know that in order for a business to thrive it needs to provide goods or services that are in high demand. Despite its seedy reputation, Asian massage parlors have more than enough customers to go around or they wouldn’t be popping up like mushrooms in a cow pasture after a rainstorm. Florida certainly seems to be the cow pasture of the AMP (Asian Massage Parlor) biz, as it’s so fondly referred to by Asian “massage” addicts, er, I mean, aficionados.
As I reported in Happy Ending, North Miami Beach and its surrounding communities are rife with AMPs. There are eight of them alone within our borders and countless in northeast Miami-Dade and Broward cities. The good news is that the FBI is on the case and it has recently been stepping up raids on these businesses under the suspicion that this industry is a “large-scale breeding ground for sexual slavery and human trafficking.” The Hollywood City Council is on to this problem and have been proactively doing something to rid its city of the problem. According to a Sun-Sentinel article, Mayor Peter Bober said, “At my urging, we are actually looking at how to regulate them … I think there’s too many of them, I think they do absolutely nothing to enhance the city.”
Good for him!
The article goes on to state:
“There is nothing illegal about a licensed massage therapist providing a massage to a customer in a licensed establishment. Massage establishment licenses and individual massage therapist licenses are required for the lawful practice of massage, and both are issued by the Florida Department of Health. What is illegal is a masseuse accepting cash tips for sexual services, or a customer trying to solicit them.”
And solicit they apparently do!
Just google “Asian Massage Parlor Forums” and you’ll find any number of websites for men who like to frequent AMPs, or “Rub & Tugs,” as they are affectionately referred to. As one poster on the Michigan State University’s sports forum no less (Sports, dudes? Really?), wrote, “Any time you see “Asian” or “Hawaiian” spa you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s a rub and tug. Or if the sign says ‘truckers welcome’.”
Another reader wrote, “A buddy and I stopped at one of the Asian massage parlors advertised along I-94 on the way back from Chicago recently. I got the massage, and ended up wussing out when discussion of “other services” came at the end. My buddy received a massage and also decided to get a BJ for an extra $100. He’s lived in New York and New Orleans, and has extensive experience with these massage parlors. I was a bit creeped out by the whole experience, but it probably won’t be the final time visiting one. My question is, has anyone else on this board ever actually been to one of these places in Michigan or elsewhere? Any funny/interesting stories?”
To which, a really smart man responded, “Most of those ladies are probably diseased and trafficked, so no I probably won’t be. Was she good looking though?”
An even smarter man posted, “…I would never have the balls, with my luck it would be the day it was raided and I would have to explain that to the wife. Plus yeah the disease would be hard to explain to the wife as well.”
It’s high time the authorities start shutting down these “massage” parlors since prostitution and human trafficking are still illegal in Florida, as well as most of the rest of the country.
An article in the Washington Post dated October 29, 2012 reported that a local Asian “massage” parlor, Peach Therapy, “was also a full-blown brothel in a busy office park.” The former owner, “Susan Lee Gross, 46, admitted in court that her business, Peach Therapy, was a full service brothel that regularly employed a cab company and a marketing agent, and that she had laundered nearly $250,000 in proceeds over 15 months. Investigators found that patrons of Peach Therapy included a pastor, an OB-GYN, employees of defense contractors, commissioned officers of the U.S. military and individuals who held security clearances, according to federal court records.”
Boy, wouldn’t the media love to get its hands on her Little Black Book!
In addition to illegal prostitution, Ms. Gross also committed immigration fraud. The article states, “Gross, of South Korea, admitted that she became a U.S. citizen through a fraudulent marriage to a man whose initials are “MSG.”
Sweet gig, huh?
The articles further reports, “Peach Therapy also had a star “therapist,” a woman named “Sunny,” who would jet into our area from around the country to provide sexual services, the court documents show.”
Yep, AMPs are big business!
The State of Virginia is not backing down. The Post reported, “Peach Therapy was nothing but a front for a prostitution ring,” U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride said in a statement. “This conviction is the result of an ongoing investigation into the sale of sexual services at Northern Virginia massage parlors as part of my office’s crackdown on sex trafficking in the region,”and was investigated by the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.”
Hopefully, the State of Florida starts getting on the ball as well.
Closer to home, as reported in the Sun-Sentinel, just last week in Indian River County, Florida, the “Sheriff’s Office shut down a Vero Beach massage parlor after detectives charged an employee, Yu Chun Jiang, 42, of Flushing, N.Y. with prostitution, reports TCPalm.com in Stuart.”
Last September, Tampa Bay Online reported, “The state today suspended the licenses of 81 massage therapists with fraudulent Florida licenses in what officials from Gov. Rick Scott on down are billing as a fight against human trafficking.” Apparently, “more than 200 therapists who appeared to have obtained their licenses by submitting fraudulent transcripts from a legitimate Florida massage school,” according to State Surgeon General John H. Armstrong, who also “said holding a license can lend an air of legitimacy to an operation “as a cover for illicit activity.” Furthermore, “Clearwater Police Chief Anthony Holloway said that with a seemingly legitimate license, “You open up an avenue for trafficking.”
Just last month, on January 24, 2013, the Sun-Sentinel also reported on suspensions of hundreds of “massage therapy” licenses that were fraudulently obtained from the Florida College of Natural Health. The article also goes on to state, “But the case raises questions not just about fraud, but about something more sinister. When the 161 license suspensions were announced by Gov. Rick Scott and State Surgeon General John Armstrong in September, the news release also said they were ordered by the health department as a result of ongoing law enforcement investigations into human trafficking.”
Last April in New Port Richey, one Asian “massage” parlor was busted for prostitution. According to the New Port Richey Patch, “An undercover officer walked into the spa and offered a “sex act” by an woman working there, New Port Richey Police Chief James Steffens said. During a raid Friday, she was arrested. It appears people lived in some rooms in the spa, Steffens said. Steffens said complaints about Miyako specifically alleged human trafficking and prostitution. They came from from nearby businesses, he said.”
Even closer to home, Broward County regularly busts women who work in Asian “massage” parlors for charges of “Offer Agree To Secure For Lewd Act” and “Misrepresent Self As Licensed Masseur.” The website, whosarrested.com posts mug shots on a daily basis from all over the country, and provides a wealth of information. Witness just these three “ladies” of the night, er, I mean, masseuses:
Here in Miami-Dade County, I couldn’t seem to find any such busts. Then again, with our fair share of first, second and third degree murders, drug trafficking, grand theft and identity theft, assault, battery and possession of undersized lobsters, it’s understandable that local law enforcement agents have enough on their plates. Busting Asian “massage” parlors for prostitution and human trafficking takes time and planning to set up a sting. Still, this crack-down is do-able. For example, they could take their cue from one Fort Myers undercover vice detective, who busted a “masseuse” after he got his “30-minute massage and then negotiated for additional massage time.” According to the local news station WZVN, “Finally, the detective grabbed his penis and asked, “What about this?”
How hard could that detail be? Um, no pun intended.
In all seriousness, though, there is nothing laughable about the Asian “massage” parlor problem. Anyone with an IQ over 70 knows what really goes on in those places. Considering that the FBI and various state agencies are finally getting serious about human trafficking and forced prostitution and busting AMPs on a regular basis, it would appear that these businesses are nothing but fronts for illegal activity, not to mention sources of virulent communicable disease. The fact that we have eight of them licensed to do business in North Miami Beach alone is very disconcerting. The fact that our neighboring cities, including North Miami, Sunny Isles Beach, Aventura (Yes! Aventura!), and surrounding areas of Miami-Dade County are rife with AMPs, only proves that something needs to be done, and done quickly.
As such, I am making it my personal mission to rid our community of this “industry,” which contributes absolutely nothing of value to our community and is a detriment to society at large.
Unless, of course, you’re in the market for a “Happy Ending.”
“Spreading the Wealth”