Student Activist fights to end trafficking in massage parlors

May 5, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA - Jessica Goodman, a student at Carnegie Mellon University, is doing a research project on anti-trafficking issues. As part of her research project, she is helping rally support for the proposal that would strengthen regulations on massage parlors in Pittsburgh. Goodman says there are 5,000+ brothels in the United States that are posing as massage parlors.

Goodman is very familiar with the topic of human trafficking in the United States and  has worked for human right, anti-trafficking organizations: Human Rights USA and the Polaris Project. As part of a school research project, Goodman and a friend decided to find out how many brothels in Pittsburgh were disguising themselves as massage parlors.

"We both knew this issue mattered and had the time and skills to do something about it. We used popular johns boards and other websites for men who buy sex, and made a Google Map with pins for every massage parlor we found, linking to our evidence. Our conclusion was that there were a minimum of 15 brothels posing as massage parlors within the Pittsburgh city limits, and 7 more outside the limits, which were frequented by Pittsburgh-area men. But how could we end sex trafficking in Pittsburgh?"

Goodman and her project partner, took advice from a group of law students who were working on a model law to put an end to human trafficking. They spoke with their councilman about the issue and rallied to get their community involved and in support of the ordinance. They have now gotten over 500 letters sent to city council supporting the ordinance and more than a dozen student organizations involved.

Goodman is a great example of how a small group of people can make progress with this big issue. Human trafficking is happening in every city, and it's something we can help put an end to.

Read part 2 of the article from How to end sex trafficking in massage parlors in your community

Read more about the use of massage parlors as brothels in the United States, check out this article from the Polaris Project

Read the Full Article Here