The Atlanta shooting put a spotlight on the vulnerability of spa workers. Many are still routinely arrested across Georgia.


The board that oversees massage therapists in Georgia voted last month to educate its members about human trafficking, publicizing a national report that exposed links between corporate secrecy and sex spas. 

“Historically, victims of massage parlor trafficking have been the main target of law enforcement activity, while the owners of the businesses – the traffickers – fly under the radar,” reads the 2018 report from Polaris, the nonprofit behind the National Trafficking Hotline. 

“Raids focusing on employees are antithetical to efforts to shut down human trafficking.” 

Yet in many cities and counties in Georgia, massage parlor employees are the ones targeted by law enforcement based on a USA TODAY review more than two dozen raids over the last 15 years. Collectively, those raids resulted in 35 charges of prostitution and masturbation for hire – a charged aimed specifically at massage therapists.  



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