COYOTE RI, in coalition with the Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island, The Womxn project, and several other organizations, condemns searches of six Cranston massage parlors on the evening of June 17, and supports the 11 alleged victims of sex trafficking who were charged in Cranston and now face up to 30 days in prison and a fine of up to $ 1,000.
These spa raids aren’t the first of their kind, nor the first local prostitution bites to involve Internal security. Like many before them, they were executed in the name of rescuing alleged victims who have been charged with crimes.
The continued targeting of Asian spas reiterates that our police force has learned nothing from the Atlanta spa killings in March. The stigma against massage parlor workers is literally killing people. Under the paternalistic guise of protecting cops is the harassment, intimidation and arrest of consenting adult workers and victims of sex trafficking. These arrests encourage anti-Asian terrorists to commit acts of violence against those they perceive to be sex workers and put those arrested “rescued” to face further discrimination in housing, custody and care. job that can keep them trapped in underground economies.
the WPRI article on this sting quoted JoAnne Waite like saying “If you see something, say something”. Waite is the director of a sexual assault and survivor trauma resource center, and stressed the importance of reporting “because you never know who you could help”. Arrest is not help. Prostitution bites are abusive and traumatic, and prostitution charges make it difficult, if not impossible, for the arrested “rescued” person to find work outside the adult industry. Affected citizens must consider that they never know who they might be arrested – a sad fact is that it is easier to start over after escaping a pimp than after being accused of prostitution and forever discriminated against in matters of housing, employment and care associated with this charge.
Rhode Island Police Force claimed to be targeting companies that advertised “young Asian girls” online as an anti-trafficking measure. However, most Asian spas are women in their 50s and 60s. The women charged in these raids were 35, 36, 41, 44, 44, 45, 54, 56, 58, 62 and 64, according to GoLocalProv, who released the names, ages and addresses of the alleged victims.
While these accusations are supposed to target massage bosses and owners, they end up hitting workers the hardest. Professor Elena shih of Brunette collegethe research cluster on human trafficking recently declared New market today that “the marginalization of low-paid Asian healthcare workers by subjecting them to these excessive forms of control and bureaucracy will only make them even more vulnerable.” As long as sex work is still criminalized, it is impossible for spa workers to be properly “fired” and racist police violence can be justified by red tape and false victim accounts.
COYOTE RI and our coalitions call on GoLocalProv to unpublish the names and addresses of alleged victims / suspected sex workers. It is unethical to publish the names of victims of sex crimes, and it is unreasonable to print the addresses of Asian women alleged to be sex workers so soon after the Atlanta murders. We call on the media not to perpetuate the lies about the rescued girls and to report the true story of eleven workers who lost their livelihoods and were charged with crimes.
- COYOTE RI (Recall your tired old ethics)
- Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island
- The Womxn project
- SWOP behind bars
- Running for Racial Justice RI
- Robyn linde, associate professor of political science at RIC
- Decrim PA
- Surviving siblings