Watertown Police, FBI Sweep Massage Parlors Looking for Victims of Human Trafficking

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Watertown Police Patch

On November 2, 2016, the Watertown Police Department, in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI), as well as members of the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure Investigations, and the Town of Watertown Inspectional Services Department, conducted unannounced inspections of licensed massage parlors throughout Watertown, the Police Department announced. 

The goal of the operation was to identify establishments that do not comply with local and state regulations, as well as to identify potential minor and adult victims of human trafficking.

At the conclusion of the operation, two businesses were closed due to identified violations and approximately $1,500 in fines were issued.

According to the National Human Traffic Resource Center, “fake massage businesses operate as commercial front brothels claiming to offer legitimate services such as massage, acupuncture, and other therapeutic, health, and spa services, but in fact offer commercial sex to customers.”

The Center also said: “Women in brothels disguised as massage businesses typically live on-site where they are coerced into providing commercial sex to 6 to 10 men a day, 7 days a week. Fake massage businesses frequently operate in strip malls, office buildings, and sometimes, residential homes, in urban, suburban, and rural areas in across the United States.”

The agencies involved in this operation did identify potentially non-legitimate “massages parlors” in Watertown that are believed to be locations that offer commercial sex to customers.

We are continuously working with our local, state and federal partners to keep our community safe.

“We will continue to work with the appropriate agencies and conduct enforcement and inspections to make sure that these massage parlors are operating and complying with local and state regulations” said Watertown Police Chief Michael Lawn.

One thought on “Watertown Police, FBI Sweep Massage Parlors Looking for Victims of Human Trafficking

  1. Are fines enough to dyer this behavior? $1500 in fines is nothing compared to the income from 6-10 clients serviced by one or more masseursever night. Have these businesses been closed for good? Seems to me fines are not enough to discourage this behavior.

    Has anyone gone to jail, and if so is it the just the “masseurs”? What about the owner of the establishment? The johns?

    We never heard what happened after the bust on Mt. Auburn Street at the corner if Franklin, other than brief mention that a middle-aged woman from New York was arrested. What was the outcome? Did she do time? Pay a fine? Did anyone else? Is any of this information public, and if so, can we get a follow-up? I thank you in anticipation that you can and will fill us in.

    It’s interesting to note that the Mt. Auburn at Franklin raid was also carried out on Election Day…. Is there a reason for that?


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