Making Sex Crime not Pay: A Proposed Revision of Ohio's Human Trafficking Forfeiture Law

Author:Jennifer Epic
Position:Capital University Law School, J.D., 2015. I would like to thank Professor Scott Anderson for his guidance, expertise, and insight. I also thank Christine Duraney for her artful editing suggestions as I delved into one of the most grievous human rights atrocities in Ohio. Thanks also to my family and friends for their unwavering encouragement...
Pages:159-187
SUMMARY

The already-existing markets for human trafficking, the demand for commercial sex in Ohio and in neighboring states, such as strip clubs and massage parlors, Ohio's extensive highway system that includes an abundance of truck stops, Ohio's pockets of unemployment and poverty, and its increasing immigrant population–amplify the human trafficking industry in Ohio; these characteristics create a... (see full summary)

 
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MAKING SEX CRIME NOT PAY: A PROPOSED REVISION
OF OHIO’S HUMAN TRAFFICKING FORFEITURE LAW
JENNIFER EPPICK*
“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit
loses.”1
I. INTRODUCTION
A. Ohio Is a Major Human Trafficking Hub in the United States
In 2012, police officers raided eight massage parlors in Warren, Ohio,
after a yearlong investigation involving prostitution and human trafficking
allegations.2 Search warrants revealed that many of the employees were
Korean women who spoke little English, and one massage parlor patron
admitted that he suspected some of the women did not want to work there.3
One of the women revealed that during her twelve-hour shifts, “her job
was to bring men into the spa . . . [and] provide massages and then perform
sex acts.”4 Subpoenaed customers later testified to having paid an entrance
fee of about $40, and then paid $50 to $300 for various sex acts.5 Asian
massage parlors operating as fronts for prostitution and sex trafficking can
earn exorbitant amounts of money for traffickers.6 Investigators found that
Copyright © 2016, Jennifer Eppick.
* Capital University Law School, J.D., 2015. I would like to thank Professor Scott
Anderson for his guidance, expertise, and insight. I also thank Christine Duraney for her
artful editing suggestions as I delved into one of the most grievous human rights atrocities
in Ohio. Thanks also to my family and friends for their unwavering encouragement and
support that always seemed to come when I needed it most. A special thanks to my son,
Justin Hayes, who always boosted my spirits during the writing process even as he was in
the Army stationed overseas.
1 SHIRLEY CHISHOLM, UNBOUG HT AND UNBOSSED 108 (1970).
2 See John Caniglia, Warren Fights Image of Massage Parlors After Raids Find
Suspected Prostitution, PLAIN DEALER (June 23, 2012, 10:00 PM), www.cleveland.com
/metro/index.ssf/2012/06/warren_fights_image_of_massage.html.
3 See Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Hundreds Visit Warren Massage Parlors, Warrants
Show, AKRON BEACON J., (May 31, 2012, 4:25 PM), http://www.ohio.com/news/break-
news/hundreds-visit-warren-massage-parlors-warrants-show-1.310900.
4 Id.
5 See Caniglia, supra note 2.
6 “One study demonstrated that in the United States, the typical mid-sized Korean-run
‘massage parlor’ made $1,168,000 annually by keeping just four women in its
(continued)
160 CAPITAL UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW [44:159
all eight of the massage parlors in Warren were selling sex, and they were
all interconnected, with the women being transported to work in several of
the locations.7 Affidavits showed that one of those spas earned more than
a half million dollars per year.8 Authorities in Warren found
approximately $100,000 in cash at the parlors, including $22,850 hidden
under a fake floor.9 All eight massage parlors were shut down and the cash
seized by forfeiture was divided among the Warren police department and
the prosecuting offices of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and of
Trumbull County.10 This case exemplifies successful asset forfeiture
application in a human trafficking case, but only because Warren’s police
chief asked for the Attorney General’s help in the investigation.11 Federal
law permits forfeiture proceeds to be shared with state and local law
enforcement agencies.12 One former Warren police officer believes these
investigations are rare because police departments are understaffed and
often cannot afford to assign detectives to these large-scale, long-term
investigations.13
Human trafficking is “the illegal trade of human beings for commercial
sexual exploitation and forced labor.”14 It is arguably one of the greatest,
most sweeping, and most disastrous eradicators of human rights of this
century.15 However, “[d]espite its social, spiritual, political, and criminal
‘employment.’” Kristian Bryant Rose, Comment, Looking for Love in All the Wrong
Places: A Call to Reform State Law on Sex Trafficking, 65 OKLA. L. REV. 303, 325 (2013)
(citing DONNA M. HUGHES, THE DEMAND FOR VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING 14 (June 2005),
http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/demand_for_victims.pdf).
7 See Caniglia, supra note 2.
8 See id.
9 See id.
10 See John Caniglia, A Year Later, Warren Massage Parlor Investigation Yields No
Charges, PLAIN DEALER (Aug. 3, 2013, 2:00 PM), http://www.cleveland.com/
metro/index.ssf/2013/08/a_year_later_warren_massage_pa.html.
11 See Caniglia, supra note 2.
12 See 21 U.S.C. § 881(e)(1)(A) (2012).
13 See Caniglia, supra note 2.
14 OHIO HUMAN TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE, RECOMMENDATION S TO GOVERNOR JOHN R.
KASICH 4 (2012), http://www.governor.ohio.gov/Portals/0/pdf/news/OhioHumanTraffi
ckingTaskForceReport.pdf [hereinafter RECOMMEND ATIONS]. Human trafficking includes
both labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Sara Elizabeth Dill, Comment, Human
Trafficking: A Decade’s Track Record, Plus Techniques for Prosecutors and Police Moving
Forward, 26 CRIM. JUST. 18, 19 (2011).
15 See RECOMMENDATIONS, supra note 14, at 4.

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