October 15, 2018

Another Woman Dies In the Context of Massage Parlor Brothels

The New York Times has published a deeply moving in-depth article dealing with the death of Song Yang, a prostituted woman in Flushing, NY (an area known for decades for its association with sex trafficking of Asian women). Sometimes women in prostitution are killed by sex buyers, pimps, or disease, but in this circumstance, the woman died by suicide.

It’s a long read but gives great insight into the underworld of prostitution via “massage parlor” fronts. This form of prostitution is notable for its predatory dependence on mostly older Asian women (mid-30s–60s)—women that most people fail to see as among the sexually exploited. This article will hopefully help many to understand that these women’s sexual exploitation is deep and real.

While this article exposes many of the dark aspects of the sex trade and touches on the issue, it fails to sufficiently address the buyers of sex. Additionally, the article points to the shady figures (and major business leaders) who profit from the sexploitation of women like Song Yang, (who was referred to as “Jane Doe Ponytail” as part of an undercover police investigation). They, of course, remain at large and unscathed. The article also points to the epic failure of the current law enforcement strategy in Flushing—which focuses on arresting women while seemingly doing nothing to address the system that preys on them (sex buyers, elusive pimps, and rich landlords).

It’s an utterly heartbreaking piece. What’s even more heartbreaking is the realization that there are countless more Jane Doe Ponytails living this kind of bleak and dismal life the world over. Theirs is not a life of glamour, flourishing, or pleasure. It’s clearly a life of hopelessness and despair, of broken dreams and loss. No one deserves this kind of life—a life where male sexual entitlement turns desperate women into public sexual commodities.

Countless women in prostitution are currently suffering in America. While police focus on arresting women, very little is done to the pimps and sex buyers preying upon them. No one deserves this.… Click To Tweet

Click here to read the full article from The New York Times.

Lisa Thompson

Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Research and Education, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Vice President and Director of the NCOSE Research Institute

As Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Lisa conducts policy analysis and advocacy, advances understanding of pornography’s public health harms, and liaises with public officials, advocates, and academics to advance strategies combating the web of sexual exploitation, including pornography, stripping, prostitution, sexual trafficking, sexual assault, and more.

Lisa joined NCOSE following two years with World Hope International where as Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa oversaw sex trafficking recovery programs in Cambodia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global. Lisa also routinely speaks and trains on sexual exploitation topics for a diverse range of audiences. Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters.

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