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 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 $1,500.00 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.”
“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 Chief Michael Lawn.