Florida Authorities Cracking Down On Sex Crimes Since Robert Kraft Incident
Florida is cracking down on sex crimes in massage parlors after the Robert Kraft scandal. In the month of February, Florida authorities shut down at least 10 spas, and charged a number of men with purchasing sex. While authorities once only provided minor charges and punishments for the owners of these facilities, those days appear to be over for now.
Previous Charges for Parlors Engaged in Illegal Sexual Activity
In the past, police officers and sheriff’s deputies have investigated hundreds of parlors for illegal sexual activity, but typically only arrested massage therapists and not the owners of these facilities, or simply charge them with misdemeanors. To date, they have never charged johns; that is; until the Kraft scandal.
New Charges: Human Trafficking, Felony Racketeering, Money Laundering, Prostitution
However, the investigation linked to the Robert Kraft incident focused on the issue of widespread human trafficking, and involve charging a number of small owners with felony racketeering and money laundering; resulting in significant prison sentences. Police have also started charging the patrons, who allegedly engage in and pay for sex acts.
In addition to facing human trafficking charges, the owners of these spas are also being charged with deriving support from prostitution proceeds. These charges can carry a minimum of four years and a maximum of 35 years in prison.
Still, if the women involved do not testify against their abusers, it is difficult for law enforcement to bring any charges whatsoever. A number of women reportedly choose not to cooperate with police and investigators because they fear deportation and harm to their families back home. Men charged as johns have thus far only been charged with misdemeanors, and many of them have had prosecutors offer to drop all charges if they agree to participate in diversion programs.
According to anti-trafficking advocates, there are likely more than 9,000 massage parlors with massage therapists who are trafficked from out of the country and forced to provide sex acts in Florida. The Florida Department of Health has also revoked approximately 150 parlor licenses due to illegal sexual activities found. Of those that lost their licenses, a reported 40 percent were found to be have been involved in illegal sexual activity. Orlando in particular was found to have the highest number of parlors with illegal sexual activity.
Contact Our Florida Sex Offense Defense Attorney With Any Questions
If you or your business has been associated with sex crimes here in Florida, the consequences can be beyond devastating, and involve not only prison time, but also the inability to work if you lose your license. Contact our West Palm Beach sex offenses lawyer at the office of William Wallshein, P.A. immediately for a free consultation to better understand your options.