Recently, Macon, GA has prided itself in passing legislation that criminalizes massage parlors that do not carry legitimate licenses. Â This means that several of the slimy “spas” in town will be shut down (though I have no idea what they plan to do to help the VICTIMS!?!?)– I have personally seen a few on the list still with OPEN neon signs. Â I could go on and on about how this only drives the issues to the next town, leaving the women no more safe than they were– but oh yea, we just wanted to clean up Macon, right? Because it looks bad on this Bible belt town to have “prostitutes” and it corrupts our men. Â I guess we weren’t really in it to help the women.. My mistake.
My concern today is with the issue of domestic trafficking that has been happening for years, right in our backyards. Â There are a few reasons that make this type of trafficking (or suspected trafficking) difficult to tackle– and they are semi-legitimate concerns. Â Domestic trafficking that takes place in Macon (or what I would certainly describe as such, which I will discuss below) seems to have strong connections with the gangs in town. Â While organized crime in any form can be dangerous, I imagine that most people here have little difficulty feeling a sense of power over the owners of massage parlors (usually Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese)– there is some sense of entitlement over the control of “the other”, the outsider, and most people probably think that they can just drive them out.
Domestic trafficking, I imagine, is more daunting and downright scarier than “dealing with the other”. Â White men in their suits and Mercedes may have economic advantage over most of South Macon, but they would be scared shitless (excuse my French!) walking down Houston Avenue or the south end of Second Street– to be sure. Â Gangs, “kingpins”, guns, drugs and street prostitutionÂ are rampant.
So let me tell you what I know about this breed of domestic human trafficking. Â The gang members call it “low-key prostitution”. Â From what I understand, itâ€™s the â€œpimping outâ€ of young girls â€“ sisters of someone who knows someone â€“ and the head of the gang (wonâ€™t put his name here, but I bet those of you from Macon might know of this monster) rewards men who do a good job (stealing something, beating someone up, killing someone, managing drug trafficking operations) by offering up member Xâ€™s 14-yr-old sister.Â Member X is scared of the â€œking pinâ€ and cannot refuse.Â Likewise, his sister (who might protest at first) does not want her brother or family to be in trouble with said king pin, and essentially agrees to the arrangement.Â If you want to be a member of this gang, you better understand that your female relatives are now sex slaves, up-for-grabs whenever the boss-man deems fit.Â Apparently, you can also â€œget a girlâ€ by knowing someone who knows someone who knows this guy.Â This is not the only form of trafficking this gang uses. Â Young boys (and perhaps girls to some extent) are used as runners (and sometimes for sex also) for the groups drug operations.Â Some of these young people come from as far as Boston and they are generally thought to be in the custody of some distant family member for the summer.Â Unsuspecting parents (and, sadly, some parents who do suspect but do little to intervene) find out that their teens are in fact involved in drug trafficking and being exploited for their bodies.
But this Sunday-only, Bible-clutching community doesnâ€™t really want much to do with this type of human trafficking.Â Honestly, I do not really know where to begin with something like this, and I admit that I also would not be brave enough to infiltrate this type of organization. Â I just wish the people who have the ability to do so would get on it already.