News & Events

Stop Sex Trafficking by Ending Shell Companies

This article was originally published in the Dallas Morning News.

In February, Dallas police busted a ring of illicit massage parlors. Four people were arrested on charges of aggravated promotion of prostitution at three locations in Dallas, Lewisville and Commerce. While the case is ongoing, detectives reported that many of the women working at the parlors may have been victims of human trafficking.

Research on illicit massage businesses suggests that the enterprises can be fronts for human trafficking. Women are recruited in their home countries under false pretenses. They borrow up to $40,000 to obtain travel documents, which they are then required to work off over time. They work 12 hours per day seven days per week, and they often live in the same locations as they work. The women, most from China, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, are rotated every couple weeks to other illicit massage businesses in the network.

These illicit massage businesses trap tens of thousands of women in sex slavery. The estimated 9,000 illicit massage businesses in the U.S. take in $2.5 billion annually.

Continue Reading: the full op-ed can be found here.

Vanessa Bouché is an associate professor of political science at Texas Christian University. She is author of numerous articles on human trafficking.

Michael Findley is a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a co-author of Global Shell Games: Experiments in Transnational Relations, Crime and Terrorism.

This article was originally published in the Dallas Morning News.