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Behind Illicit Massage Parlors Lie a Vast Crime Network and Modern Indentured Servitude

来源:纽约时报    2019-03-08 04:54

        She was 49, a recent immigrant and deeply in debt to a loan shark back home in China when she answered an employment ad three years ago that promised thousands of dollars a month, but offered no job description. She realized too late that she had been tricked into working at a massage parlor in Flushing, Queens, where besides kneading backs, she was expected to sexually service up to a dozen men a day.        她49岁,是个初来乍到的移民,三年前她在自己的家乡中国看到一则招聘广告,当时她深陷高利贷债务,广告承诺每月收入数千美元,但没有提供工作描述。当她意识到自己被诱骗到皇后区法拉盛的按摩院工作时,已经太晚了,在那里,除了给客人揉捏背部以外,她还被要求每天为十几个男人提供性服务。
        Some of the clients were violent, and the boss charged $10 a day for her to sleep on a sofa in a room at the parlor where rats nibbled on her food. “The customers were very terrible,” said the woman, who, ashamed of the stigma of her former profession, asked that her name not be used. “After you perform a service, they would find an excuse to take the money away.” They would, she said, “do even worse things.”        一些客人有暴力行为,老板每天向她收费10美元,让她睡在按摩院一间房的沙发上,老鼠会啃咬她的食物。“顾客非常可怕,”她说,出于对这份名声不佳的旧职业的耻辱,她要求不使用自己的名字。“在你提供服务之后,他们会找借口把钱拿走。”她说,他们还会“做更糟糕的事情”。
        In strip malls across the country, neon signs and brightly colored placards promise hot stones, acupuncture and shiatsu with photos of women or couples receiving relaxing shoulder rubs. But a traditionally Asian form of therapeutic relaxation with deep roots in big-city Chinatowns has spun off a different kind of massage parlor that has little to do with traditional remedies. It has exploded into a $3 billion-a-year sex industry that relies on pervasive secrecy, close-knit ownership rings and tens of thousands of mostly foreign women ensnared in a form of modern indentured servitude.        在全美各地的商业街,霓虹灯标志和色彩鲜艳的标语牌向客人们承诺提供热石、针灸和指压服务,搭配的照片是在做肩部放松按摩的女性或是夫妇。但深深扎根于大城市唐人街的传统亚洲形式的保健放松,已经分离出一种与传统疗法无关的、不同种类的按摩院。这类按摩院已经蓬勃发展,成为一个每年30亿美元的性产业,它依赖于无所不在的保密机制、联系紧密的所有人团伙,以及绝大部分来自国外的成千上万女性,她们被诱拐成为了一种现代契约式的奴隶。
        [Read more about a thriving sex trafficking trade in Florida.]        [点击阅读更多佛罗里达州发达的性交易贸易的相关报道。]
        The frequently middle-aged women who work in parlors with names like Orchids of Asia and Rainbow Spa are often struggling to pay off high debts to family members, loan sharks, labor traffickers and lawyers who help them file phony asylum claims. In some cases, their passports are taken and their illegal immigration status keeps them further in the shadows, with some of them rotated every 10 days to two weeks between spas operated by the same owners. Forced to pay for their own supplies and even their own condoms, many women must sleep on the same massage tables where they service customers and cook on hot plates in cramped kitchens or on back steps.        在起着亚洲兰花、彩虹水疗这样名字的按摩店工作的中年女性,往往难以偿还向亲戚、高利贷商、劳工贩子和帮她们申请虚假庇护的律师欠下的高额债务。在某些情况下,她们的护照还会被收走,非法移民的身份令她们更是只能躲在暗处,其中一些人每10天到两周的时间,就要在由同一老板经营的水疗中心之间轮换。许多女性被迫为自己的日常用品付费,甚至包括保险套的费用;许多人只能睡在为顾客服务的按摩床上,在狭窄的厨房或者后门的台阶上,用电热炉做饭。
        “We stopped thinking about just cages, bars and chains as the means of coercion,” said John Richmond, the State Department’s top anti-trafficking official. “They are using nonviolent forms of coercion.”        “我们不再认为,只有笼子、栅栏和铁链才算胁迫手段,”国务院负责打击人口贩运事务的高级官员约翰·里奇蒙(John Richmond)说。“他们使用非暴力的强制手段。”
        The recent arrest warrant filed against Robert K. Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots — and the solicitation charges filed against nearly 300 men in multiple jurisdictions as part of the same case — riveted national attention to a stretch of Highway 1 along Florida’s Treasure Coast dotted with strip malls, gas stations and sapphire ocean views. Across the region, parlors were empty and many frequent clients were phoning their lawyers, wondering if more warrants were going to drop.        最近对新英格兰爱国者队老板罗伯特·卡夫(Robert K. Kraft)发出的逮捕令,以及同一案件对多个司法管辖区近300名男子提出的嫖娼指控,吸引了全美对1号公路沿佛罗里达宝藏海岸(Treasure Coast)一段的关注,这里沿路点缀着购物中心、加油站和碧蓝的海景。那一带的按摩店空空荡荡,许多常客纷纷给自己的律师打电话,想知道是否还会有更多的逮捕令从天而降。
        Law enforcement officials said there were an estimated 9,000 illicit massage parlors across the country, from Orlando to Los Angeles. The epicenter of this national underground is the bustling Chinatown in Flushing, in the New York City borough of Queens. Women — typically Chinese, but also Korean, Thai and East European — arrive at Kennedy International Airport, learn the trade and are sent out to places like Virginia, Iowa, Texas and Florida. Women are recruited locally through ads in Chinese-language newspapers or over the social network WeChat.        执法官员表示,从奥兰多到洛杉矶,全美大约有9000家非法按摩院。纽约皇后区法拉盛熙熙攘攘的唐人街,是这个全国地下网络的中心。这些女性——通常是中国人,但也有韩国、泰国和东欧人——抵达肯尼迪国际机场,接受培训,然后被送到弗吉尼亚、艾奥瓦、德克萨斯和佛罗里达等地。也有女性是通过中文报纸或社交网络微信在当地招聘的。
        “Flushing is the center of this network,” said Lori Cohen, the director of Sanctuary for Families’ Anti-Trafficking Initiative, which has interviewed around 1,000 massage workers over the past five years and helped the 49-year-old immigrant who was sexually assaulted leave the business after she was arrested. “They are showing up in different parts of the country, but all of them have addresses in Flushing, Queens,” she said.        “法拉盛是这个网络的中心,”家庭庇护所(Sanctuary for Families)打击人口贩运倡议项目(Anti-Trafficking Initiative)总监洛莉·科恩(Lori Cohen)说。在过去5年里,该机构访问了大约1000名按摩师,并帮助这名遭到性侵犯的49岁移民在被捕后离开了这个行业。“她们出现在美国各地,但她们的地址都是皇后区法拉盛,”她说。
        [Read: An epic tragedy in the underground sex industry in Flushing.] The women are paid just a sliver of the $60 or more the client pays for an hourlong massage. Their real money — and chance at a better life — comes in the form of tips, which they are encouraged or forced to amplify through illegal means.        (阅读:一名华人按摩女的死亡)这些女性按摩一个小时的收费是60美元或者更高一点,但她们能拿到手的只是其中一小部分。她们真正的收入,以及过上好日子的机会,来自于小费,她们被怂恿或强迫通过非法手段多挣小费。
        A 60-year-old former massage worker from Taiwan, who agreed to be identified only by the nickname she commonly uses, Tina, said she was lured into working at a massage parlor in New York a decade ago by the travel agency broker who helped secure her visa to travel to the United States. “People come here and don’t have a place to live,” she said. “These places offer a place to live, and it seems like a nice idea. They say, ‘It’s not safe to keep your passport on hand,’ and they will ask to hold the passport.”        来自台湾、现年60岁前按摩女蒂娜——她同意在本文中只使用自己常用的一个昵称——10年前被帮她拿到美国签证的旅行社中介引诱到一家按摩院工作。“人们来到这里,没有地方住,”她说。“这些人给你地方住,似乎不错。他们说,‘护照放手上不安全’,然后要求由他们来保管。”
        She was arrested several times before getting out of the business, and feels comparatively lucky. One close friend was spirited to Texas by traffickers, she said, had her passport taken and was forced to see eight to 12 customers a day. One day the tearful calls she often received from her friend came to an abrupt halt.        她在被逮捕多次后离开了这个行业,并且觉得自己运气是相对较好的。一位密友被人贩子拐到了德克萨斯,她说他们把她的护照拿走,强迫她每天接8到12个客人。有一天,她常接到的朋友哭着打来的电话突然间就断了。
        “A lot of the businesses that look like either nail salons or massage places, especially the places that offer massage, there are bad things happening there,” she said. “It’s 100 percent organized crime.”        “很多看上去像是美甲店或按摩店的生意,特别是提供按摩服务的地方,里面都有见不得人的事情在发生,”她说。“百分之百是有组织犯罪。”
        Even at illicit parlors, owners and managers can claim ignorance of the additional services offered by employees behind closed doors. The evidence gathered during raids and searches often tells a far different tale. The police say it is common to find ledgers tracking the number of “dates” women have had, as was found in a bust in Dallas in 2016. In one case in Kansas, a search of the premises yielded a notebook with handwritten Chinese-English translations that “included sexually explicit phrases such as ‘did you bring condom’ and ‘happy ending.’”        即便是在非法的按摩店,业主和经理人也可以声称对员工在关着的门后提供的额外服务不知情。而在突查行动中收集的证据则揭示了截然不同的情况。警方称,经常能发现跟踪记录女性已接“客人”数目的分类账簿,2016年达拉斯的一次突查中就发现了。在堪萨斯的一个案件中,搜查经营场所时发现了一个笔记本,里面有手写的中英翻译,内容“包括了诸如‘你带避孕套了吗’和‘欢乐结尾’(happy ending)这类露骨的用语。”
        A federal law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because this person is involved in active cases, said that the most common method for smuggling women from Asian countries was either a fraudulent tourist visa or a fraudulent work visa, such as for nursing work. Many came as students, then overstayed to work in the sex industry.        一名因参与现行案件而要求匿名的联邦执法官员表示,从亚洲国家贩运妇女最常见的方式是用欺诈性的旅游签证或工作签证,比如以护士工作为名。很多人以学生身份前来,然后逾期滞留,去性产业工作。
        Many women arrive in the United States from China bearing heavy debt burdens and try to find work in restaurants or nail salons. But the money isn’t good enough for the five-figure debts weighing them down. The massage jobs are presented as opportunities for fast, easy money.        许多从中国到达美国的女性背着沉重的债务负担,然后试图在餐馆或美甲店找工作。但那些地方的待遇不足以支付几乎要压垮她们的五位数债务。按摩工作便作为快速、简便的赚钱机会呈现在了面前。
        “They will talk about how they used to work in a restaurant and it was really hard physically and they couldn’t make that much money, and then they heard from somebody or saw an ad saying they could make a lot more money in a massage parlor,” said Leigh Latimer, a supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s exploitation intervention project in New York.        “她们会谈论以前如何在餐馆打工,真的太累撑不住,也挣不了那么多钱,然后她们从某人那里听说或是看到了一条广告,说她们在按摩院可以挣多很多的钱,”法律援助协会(Legal Aid Society)负责纽约剥削干预项目的督导律师利·拉蒂默(Leigh Latimer)说。
        One reason the Asian massage parlors remain so poorly understood is the extreme reluctance of the women to speak with the police and even with their own lawyers.        外界对亚洲按摩院一直知之甚少的一个原因在于,这些女性极其不愿意与警方甚至她们自己的律师交谈。
        “Even though I’ve represented many, many women arrested in unlicensed massage parlors, because of the level of distrust of people working, almost all immigrants, almost all undocumented, they don’t trust even their attorneys enough to let them know what’s happened to them,” Ms. Latimer said.        “尽管我已经代理过很多、很多在无照经营的按摩院被抓的女性当事人,但由于对工作者的严重不信任,几乎全都是移民,几乎全都无证,她们甚至连自己的律师都不够信任,不让他们知道她们遭遇了什么,”拉蒂默说。
        Some fear retaliation by traffickers to their families in China, and some feel morally indebted to those who helped find them a job, said Chris Muller, the director of training and external affairs at Restore NYC, an anti-sex-trafficking organization.        有的担心人贩子会报复在中国的家人,有的觉得对那些帮她们找到工作的人在心里面有亏欠,反击性贩卖的组织纽约市恢复中心(Restore NYC)培训与对外事务主任克里斯·穆勒(Chris Muller)表示。
        “This is a powerful exploitation tactic,” he said. “Any favor is implied there is going to be a payment back. ‘Look at what I have done for you. I found you a job. I found you a place to live and this is how you repay me?’”        “这是一种很厉害的剥削策略,”他说。“任何恩惠都暗含着要回报。‘看看我给你做了什么。我给你找了份工作。我给你找了个能生活的地方,你就是这么报答我的吗?’”
        Small networks of spas are also common, and their ownership structures are complex and opaque. “It’s rare that you have a mom-and-pop business where they’re just running one,” said Lt. Christopher Sharpe of the New York Police Department’s vice section. “Usually if they’re running one, they have a second or a third business.”        小型水疗中心网络也很普遍,它们的所有权结构也是复杂又不透明。“很少见到你有个夫妻店然后只经营一家的,”纽约警察局(New York Police Department)风化组的克里斯托弗·夏普(Christopher Sharpe)警督说。“通常如果他们经营着一家,就有第二或第三家。”
        Bradley Myles, chief executive of Polaris Project, a nonprofit that works to combat human trafficking, said that the madams arrested on big raids like the recent ones in Florida — known as “mamasans” — are often women in their 60s and 70s who have spent decades in the sex trade but are usually pretty far down in the organization.        致力于打击人口贩卖的非营利组织北极星项目(Polaris Project)总干事布拉德利·迈尔斯(Bradley Myles)称,在像近期佛罗里达这样的大规模突查行动中被逮捕的老鸨——人称“妈妈桑”——一般是60、70岁的女性,她们从事性交易已有几十年,但通常在组织中基本排不上号。
        Above these site managers is usually a person who appears on paperwork as the massage parlor owner, but is often just a frontman running a shell company. The payouts from the shell company go to what is legally known as the “beneficial owner.”        在这些场所经理上面,通常有一个人是出现在文件上的按摩院老板,但往往不过是经营空壳公司的挂名负责人。这家空壳公司的钱款归法律上所称的“实益所有人”。
        One woman in the Florida sting has been charged with human trafficking, after police officers conducting surveillance saw her shuttling two other women carrying suitcases in and out of a spa in Vero Beach.        在佛罗里达的诱捕行动中,一名女性已被控人口贩卖,此前警察在监视时看到,她载着另两名带着手提箱的女性来回往返于维罗比奇的一家水疗中心。
        Bob Houston, a former F.B.I. agent who now works as a consultant to combat trafficking, said that Thai traffickers often employ elaborate schemes to help women intended for the massage industry apply for tourist visas. The traffickers create false back stories, giving women the appearance of an established life at home, including a spouse and bank account, all to help them qualify for a tourist visa. They even produce fake diplomas from massage schools. The tab is usually $40,000 to $60,000, he said.        现担任反人口贩卖顾问的前联邦调查局(FBI)特工鲍勃·休斯顿(Bob Houston)称,泰国的人口贩卖分子常会制定周密计划,帮想要进入按摩行业的女性申请旅游签证。这些人口贩子会编造虚假的背景故事,让这些女性看上去是在国内已取得成功,有配偶有银行账户,一切都是为帮她们拿到旅游签证。他们甚至会伪造从按摩学校毕业的假文凭。总价通常是4万美元到6万美元,他说。
        “They owe a bunch of money to the people who recruited them,” he said.        “她们欠那些招募她们的人一大笔钱,”他说。

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