[Thank you to Jen in the comments for correcting me–Massage Professionals are Massage Therapists, not Masseuses.]
We have received overwhelmingly positive coverage and support from a wide variety of people in Pittsburgh. City councilmembers, priests, human rights activists, students, many have critically read and analyzed the Massage Parlor Ordinance (pdf). I’m my grandfather’s grandaughter, and I love spiteless and fiery debates.
There has been some well-informed push-back. I’ve heard from a few folks with long experience in the field that they are concerned about no provisions for aftercare of survivors of sex trafficking. They are usually assured when I connect them with the anti-trafficking coalition who provide care for survivors found in Pittsburgh.
There is also one gentleman who has been vocal in the press, calling me names and threatening me with lawsuits. *sigh* The next post will be dedicated to a lesson in the legal definitions of libel and slander, and why I have engaged in neither.
In that vein, here are three big reasons why legitimate Massage Therapists should support the massage parlor model ordinance (using quotes from the news):
The new licensing is welcomed by legitimate massage therapists.
The lack of regulations has caused problems in the past, said Jean Robinson, government relations director for the trade group Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.
“I don’t know any massage therapist who hasn’t been propositioned. I think they teach in school how to deal with that,” Robinson said.
Trade group members report customers exposing themselves, requesting all-nude massages and phone calls from potential customers who try to figure out if intimate services are offered.
“It’s gross. It’s not what you signed up for. You’re touching people, they expect more,” Robinson said. “It makes people run their businesses differently. They don’t take new clients without referrals. It’s just not safe to do it.”
2. From yours truly, quoted in an AP article:
“If this bill is passed and enforced properly, perhaps johns will learn that they cannot go into a legitimate massage parlor and sexually harass their masseuses into providing a ‘happy ending,'” Goodman said, using a euphemism for sexual services.
3. A local massage therapist in Pittsburgh, PA, quoted in the same AP article:
“I have signs in there and I won’t put up with such things,” Barreca said.
Some customers ask for sexual services, apparently because they assume they’re offered, she said. “And I’ve thrown them out,” Barreca said. “You do have degenerates sometimes.”
It appears to be time-consuming, expensive, and plain irritating to have to fend off johns looking to buy sex in legitimate massage establishments. Even if Massage Therapists ignore the human cost of human trafficking, the monetary costs they are forced to bear because of this issue seem to me to be significantly more burdensome than what is being asked of them in the ordinance.
Keeping in mind the rules for commenting, any legitimate from Pittsburgh or elsewhere want to weigh in on the pros and cons of this ordinance as written?
“A just cause is not ruined by a few mistakes.”–Fyodor Dostoevsky