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.
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.“It’s a slow game of indentured servitude,” she said.
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.