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Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission. The alleged illicit massage business in the upscale neighborhood is one of at least others currently operating across the five boroughs — a network of illegal enterprises so vast, they out Starbucks 2 to 1 citywide, according to data from Heyrick Research. In Queens, which has at least open brothels, the illicit businesses out Starbucks 5 to 1, the data from the intelligence-driven counter-trafficking organization that focuses exclusively on the illicit massage industry shows.
I said no, just the massage. Kodsi, whose family has lived in the neighborhood for over 50 years, quickly started to notice other red flags. When reached by phone, the spa declined comment. Hundreds of such businesses across the five boroughs, from the Upper East Side to Staten Island, are reviewed on the website and many of them allegedly sell full-service sex, not just post-massage masturbation, the reviews indicate. Experts told The Post the prevalence of these establishments, and their ability to operate in plain sight with impunity, reflects an unofficial, citywide shift toward the decriminalization of the sex trade.
It coincided with a push from City Hall and three district attorneys to no longer prosecute people in prostitution because many of them are forced into the trade either as children or out of economic desperation as adults. There is no indication that the women at Ming Happy were trafficked. In , there were 1, arrests for patronizing a prostitute and promoting prostitution, and in , there were By , that dropped by about 50 percent to , and as of July 16, there were just 30 such arrests citywide, the s show.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has been vague about whether he supports full decriminalization, which would legalize the illicit spas and remove penalties for sex buyers, or partial decriminalization, which removes penalties for sex workers but still outlaws sex-buying, pimping and brothel-owning.
We have not received similar complaints in recent years. Yvonne Chen, the director of private sector engagement with the anti-child sex trafficking group ECPAT-USA, spent years working with Chinese women trafficked in IMBs and agreed the industry is incredibly complex and differs from traditional sex trafficking. She said the people who are trafficked in IMBs are often vulnerable immigrants who came to the US so they could make more money for their families or help sick relatives and are often tricked into working at massage businesses under the premise that they are traditional spas.
In many instances, they threaten to report them to immigration or their families and tell them the police will deport them if they try to call them. Contact The Author Name required. required. Comment required. September 26, pm Updated September 27, am. William C. Matthew Kodsi right went to Ming Happy Spa not realizing it was a brothel and was asked if he was looking for anything else besides a massage. Rachel Foster left is a co-founder of the anti-trafficking group World Without Exploitation. The Ming Happy Spa operates a second-floor business where a steady stream of well-dressed male clientele arrive late at night.
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