Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The law and reality

As the Miami Herald reported at the time of the mass arrests in south Florida for prostitution, and as we acknowledged here, proving human trafficking in the case of these Chinese massage parlors is very difficult.

For law enforcement, cracking the rings that are behind the massage parlors is challenging — and bringing trafficking charges even more difficult — because of workers’ reluctance to testify, cultural barriers and an international business structure that makes identifying the masterminds next to impossible.
And so most continue to operate with minimal risk of being shut down despite the occasional splashy police raids, such as the ones last month that netted scores of charges against suspected customers, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. . . .
 Many of the women who wind up working in massage parlors and spas are recruited from rural parts of China with nebulous promises of legal employment in the United States, according to Polaris. Some are fleeing domestic abuse, or their families are heavily in debt. Typically they have little education. Agencies in China arrange for them to travel to the United States on tourist visas, and charge them thousands of dollars that many women agree to work off rather than paying up front. They arrive in New York City disoriented and confused and are made to become dependent on their employers who often push them into sex work, said New York City lawyer Amy Hsieh, with Sanctuary for Families, a social-services provider that works with parlor employees arrested for prostitution or practicing massages without a license.
“It’s a slow game of indentured servitude,” she said.
So the police are concentrating on prostitution and money laundering charges. The women are afraid to cooperate and  the question of involuntary servitude is murky. Robert Kraft's lawyers are claiming that the DA's decision not to bring human trafficking charges invalidates the warrant that allowed for video surveillance. We'll see how the judge rules on that but obviously it's a technicality that doesn't exonerate Mr. Kraft. He's rich however and can pay expensive lawyers. That makes all the difference.

Update: For the record, I'm not acting as a juror in this instance. I wouldn't be anyway because the entire point of the post is that the prosecutors don't feel they can pursue the trafficking case. What constitutes proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, using legally admissible evidence, is not the same as what we may come by common sense to believe. In any event, Kraft is not charged with trafficking but with paying for sex. I don't know if that should be illegal in general but given the exploitive nature of this particular business, that is the approach the authorities are taking to shut it down.

I allowed a comment here by "unknown" because this appears to be a new visitor who doesn't know the rules. In the future, please adopt a unique identifier.

Regarding Bill Clinton, of course the specific conduct for which he was impeached was consensual, though highly inappropriate. Back in those days, powerful men got away with that kind of stuff, and much worse, all the time. Nowadays, a CEO who had a sexual relationship with an intern might well be fired, but the standard for presidential impeachment is a different question, as we can readily see under the current circumstances. Clinton may have had some even worse conduct in his past, though its unproven. Therefore, according to some people, I'm not allowed to speculate about it.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Even though human/sex trafficking is something that has been going on for years, it is shocking to learn how close to home it happens. I could have passed by a dozen of these parlors in Miami this month alone and not realized. Human traffickers profit roughly $150 billion a year, commercial sex exploitation earning the most. It's of no surprise as to why it is so challenging to capture these traffickers. These workers/victims are brainwashed and manipulated. I believe most of them do not run away or seek help because they are blackmailed before being sent to work, otherwise why wouldn't they run away or get help? Think about it and put yourself in their shoes? You go and tell a cop that you are being exploited and used as a sex worker, cops raid your work place, owner finds out it was you, and then your family back home gets killed. What good did that serve you?
As a healthcare professional, there are not so obvious signs of sex/human trafficking to look out for when assessing patients. For example, is the person submissive, tense, avoids eye contact, is unable to speak by themselves, has no healthcare, has no control of their financials or identification card, and has numerous inconsistent stories when they speak out. Individuals who are being trafficked as slave workers are at highest risk for STD's, unwanted pregnancies, and mental illnesses. As a community, it is crucial to create awareness on the issue not just for the world to know but also to help the victims who are just too afraid to speak up.