Following up on the Florida-New York human trafficking (HT) operation uncovered last week leads back to the expansive report by Polaris released in 2018. Polaris detailed the several typologies of HT (below), but a larger question remains:
Who has responsibility, liability or other interests in implementing controls to prevent the facilitation of HT?
Besides the criminals directly involved in running HT operations, many industries and organizations may serve as unknowing enablers to HT, as highlighted in the recent case in Tampa:
- Who leased the building to the massage parlor? Do the building owners conduct due diligence on their tenants?
- Who did the owners of the cash-intensive business bank with, and were the millions of dollars in revenue able to be identified as unusual or suspicious?
- What steps could U.S. Customs and Border Protection have taken to identify the at-risk victims upon entry into the country?
- Escort Services
- Illicit Massage Businesses
- Outdoor Solicitation
- Residential Sex Trafficking
- Domestic Work
- Bars, Strip Clubs, & Cantinas
- Traveling Sales Crews
- Restaurants & Food Service
- Peddling & Begging
- Agriculture & Animal Husbandry
- Personal Sexual Servitude
- Health & Beauty Services
- Illicit Activities
- Arts, Sports & Entertainment
- Commercial Cleaning Services
- Factories & Manufacturing
- Remote Interactive Sexual Acts
- Forestry & Logging
- Health Care
- Recreational Facilities
First, a health inspector spotted several suitcases. Then she noticed an unusual stash of clothing, food and bedding. A young woman who was supposed to be a massage therapist spoke little English and seemed unusually nervous. The inspector reported her findings to the police. They would eventually learn that her suspicions were right: The women were not just employees: They were living in the day spa, sleeping on massage tables and cooking meals on hot plates in the back. Some of them had had their passports confiscated. The inspector’s suspicions prompted a sprawling investigation across four Florida counties and two states — Florida and New York — over nearly eight months, resulting in the disruption of what authorities say was a multimillion-dollar human-trafficking and prostitution operation.