This past Wednesday in the Telegraph, I believe David Corr, a local Libertarian, referenced me in a letter to the editor, in which he wrote, “Despite the claim of a City Council candidate that employees of the spas are sex slaves, no evidence or charges of slavery were made in the raids.” He’s right that there, to date, is no direct evidence that the women working at the spas in questions were slaves; nor have I ever made such an accusation. And it may very well be that there was nothing going on at these spas other than garden-variety prostitution, but Mr. Corr’s defense of free-market principles displays willfull naiveté to the overwhelming evidence that many of the women “participating” in the marketplace are not doing so voluntarily. Incidentally, when I wrote here that “people who make the libertarian argument” should “rethink their position,” it was precisely Mr. Corr’s name that first popped in my head.
Here again are facts worth considering. The U. S. Department of State reports that 17,500 human trafficking victims are brought into the United States each year, typically as part of the sex trade. The U.S. Department of Justice’s 2001 report entitled “Sex Trafficking of Women in the United States” states that the “U.S. military bases, especially in the South, replicate the sexual rest and recreation areas that proliferate near military bases abroad. This infrastructure of . . . massage parlors has been recreated here, with inordinate numbers of Asian women especially trafficked and exploited in the sex industries.” [Emphasis added]
The report, which identifies domestic human sex trafficking as a growing problem, goes on to show that one of the standard patterns and practices in the human trafficking industry is to smuggle women from Asia to the United States and force them to work in self styled spas and massage parlors. Likewise, the women, who are generally abused, are told horror stories that should they confess, they’ll be thrown into an American jail with conditions far worse than their present conditions.
Clayton County, Georgia, Atlanta, New York, Topeka, San Francisco, New Orleans, Orlando, and dozens of other cities and counties have broken up human trafficking rings that have a shared profile of Asian themed massage parlors and spas consistent with the Department of Justice’s profile.
We must consider the pattern and practice revealed by the Department of Justice and the Department of State, and the repeated breakups of human sex trafficking rings throughout this country, including here in Georgia. Recognizing that these criminal acts share many common factors — factors we see here in Macon — the least we should do in Macon, Georgia, 142 years after the legal abolition of slavery, is make sure this vile practice has not returned to our city. And I hope Mr. Corr will agree with me that if this is the case, we are morally obligated to pursue and prosecute with extreme prejudice those who traffic in the despair and pain of others for monetary gain.