Thank you for Street Crimes supervisor Kent Perlich for sharing this link with me. This is a very good description of why I am so concerned about about what is going on in Dennis Weestrand’s building
Street prostitutes have a very high rate of drug addiction, which serves as a motivator and makes them vulnerable to pimps and traffickers. Women in massage parlors aren’t usually involved with street drugs, she said, but they’re vulnerable for other reasons. They are transient, often coming here from California or New York. Most don’t speak English well. They live isolated lives, she said, sometimes in the back of the massage parlor, sharing a kitchen.
In massage parlors, coercion from traffickers happens subtly, Lacey said, but it traps women just the same.
Maybe a trafficker brings a woman from Korea, and tells her she has to work to pay off her debt, her rent and cost of food. Maybe they tell her they know her family back in China, and if she doesn’t do what they say, they’ll tell them she’s a prostitute. They may threaten to harm her family back home.
Prostitution is a crime, but it’s complicated: The “perpetrators” may also be the biggest victims.
It’s not hard for police to find a prostitute, who can be charged with a misdemeanor. But the police really want to find pimps and traffickers, who can be charged with felonies. Those are the arrests that have the most effect. But to convict a trafficker, prostitutes must tell police how they got here and about their living conditions. That’s never easy in a prostitution case, but cultural issues in the massage parlors make it doubly difficult, Lacey said.