More Than 9,000 Massage Parlors Are Sex Trafficking Hubs [infographic]

Over 9,000 massage parlors that are operating across America rake in over $2.5 billion each year from human sex trafficking and prostitution. According to the Polaris Organization, a global leader in the fight against modern slavery calls about illegal massage parlor businesses represent the second-highest volume of calls received by the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

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Infographic about more than 9000 massage parlors are sex trafficking hubs

Table of Contents

Illegal Massage Parlors in America

Commonly hidden in rundown strip malls with nondescript facades, these massage parlors often appear unoccupied to people passing by. However, they are filled with young women lured into prostitution by promises of a better life. Many women are Chinese or South Korean immigrants who have no jobs and speak no English. Some women who have children respond to Mandarin-language ads and Social Media sites that promote high-paying jobs and a way out of debt. Once victims are lured into the sex trafficking operation, they are usually forced to live and work in massage parlors providing sex acts until they pay off their debts. Women who are trapped by debt often stay in these illegal sex trafficking massage parlors for years.

According to Polaris, California has the highest number of networked illegal operations across the country. Massage parlors are frequently linked to similar organizations in other states and various types of businesses including nail salons, dry cleaners, grocery stores, and restaurants. Almost half of their ads have known red flags for human sex trafficking including making arrangements for housing and transportation, taking care of necessary visas, and the possibility of high incomes of over $4,000 per month.

Over the last few years, criminal law attorneys in Minnesota and other states have seen a significant increase in illegal massage parlor businesses. As soon as one is closed down, another one pops up. Sex traffickers skirt around the law and take advantage of unenforced regulations to get away with their criminal activities.

According to Polaris, men locate sex trafficking massage parlors through Social Media sites like Yelp, Craigslist, and The most popular site,, allows customers to post reviews of the women’s ratings and services. Buyers often share experiences including women’s physical attributes, which women provide certain sex acts, and how much to tip. gets approximately 325,000 visitors each month looking for illegal massage parlors around the country.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.