Police Raid Macon Massage Parlors
A series of summer raids targeted 11 Macon-area massage parlors and spas that police suspected of being houses of prostitution.
Conducted in three phases between late June and mid-August by Macon police officers and Bibb County sheriff’s deputies, the raids resulted in the arrests of more than 20 men and women on various sex charges.
The incidents aroused the city’s conscience and divided it.
Business owners keeping shop near the parlors voiced an image-driven complaint: The stigma of the local industry would cause a decline in area commerce.
Licensed massage therapists feared the unraveling of their professional standard.
There were people who called the businesses harmless and the raids unnecessary.
Most of the employees arrested were young Asian women, who appeared to be living at parlors that an older woman managed.
Macon City Councilman Erick Erickson led a front of human rights advocates who condemned the businesses as midstate posts for sex slavery and human trafficking. Macon police received training from an Atlanta-based nonprofit social service agency on recognizing the signs.
To date, there haven’t been any legal charges that trafficking has happened in Macon.
Months later, most of the parlor doors are closed some boarded up with wood planks showcasing nothing more than bare storefronts and blank neon lights.