***an extension from my 1500 word piece on Toledo’s Asian massage parlor culture.
I spoke to a Toledo police sergeant about human trafficking at area Asian Massage Parlors. He said, “human trafficking at massage parlors does not happen often in Toledo.” I don’t believe him. I trust the gurus who rank Toledo 4th in human trafficking, over a biased, unrealistic police officer.
But I keep coming back to my thesis: If Asian massage parlors are illegal, why are they still opening?
Because of the exploited loopholes allowing for AMP’s to even open, such businesses are in effect lost in a bureaucratic fray.
The sergeant pointed out that there’s a prostitution task force that works with the FBI and full-time detectives dedicated solely on prostitution and human trafficking. According to state law, promoting is a low degree felony. What gets long jail sentences are suspects federally charged with trafficking. All is well, if the community first complains.
You see, cops are naturally re-active, and guess what, the Toledo community is also re-active. We have police waiting for complaints from the community, while the community waits for cops to pro-actively seek out human trafficking. In the interim, since Toledo’s epic 2004 change in zoning laws, just to name a couple, Top Relax Massage which opened in 2010 and Phoenix Massage in 2013.
Toledo also has a relatively new strip club, Hush Showgirls, which opened in the last 3 years (not to mention the new Pole Katz in downtown). The laws are tough, says one city councilwoman. That’s why less than a half block away from Hush is a trailer home community and, more disturbingly, a daycare.
This city councilwoman reiterates that municipalities can make laws tougher than what the state has on the books. Alas, city government, pro-active and engaged.