Atlanta Spa Shooting: Asian hate, racism or human trafficking? Inside the dark truth of Robert Aaron Long's crime

The Atlanta shootings left 8 people dead and the suspect, Robert Aaron Long, has been taken into custody. However, the shootings have made people believe that there is much darker story behind those killings


                            Atlanta Spa Shooting: Asian hate, racism or human trafficking? Inside the dark truth of Robert Aaron Long's crime
The shooting incidents in Atlanta are being connected to human trafficking as Robert Aaron Long killed several Asian women who were working in massage parlors (Unsplash/Cherokee County Police)
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Robert Aaron Long has been charged with multiple charges of murder as well as aggravated assault after killing 8 people at massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the eight victims were Asian women, per the law enforcement authorities.

During the initial interrogation, Robert admitted to the shooting spree and said that the attack was “not motivated” by race. The law enforcement officials also confirmed that Robert has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of aggravated assault.

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“He apparently has an issue, what he considers a sex addiction, and sees these locations as a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” Cherokee County Sheriff's Department said.

Many believe that the shooting incident is related to race and is a part of the hate-crimes that have been happening against the Asian community across the country. However, there were many who believed that there is a much darker story behind these kinds of attacks.  

People also believe that the Atlanta Shootings unveil a different layer of anti-Asian hate and show that a number of spas and massage parlors are hubs for the human trafficking of Asian women.

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Activists participate in a vigil in response to the Atlanta spa shootings March 17, 2021 in the Chinatown area of Washington, DC. A gunman opened fire in three spas in the Atlanta, Georgia area, the day before killing eight people, including six women of Asian descent. (Getty Images)

 

How did ‘human trafficking’ turn out to be an issue after the Atlanta shootings?

Human Trafficking is not new and it has been happening for many years now. So, what is human trafficking? It is a modern form of slavery. Women, men, and children are recruited or obtained and then forced to labor against their will through fraud, force, or coercion.

The US Department of State estimates that 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year. The number of US citizens trafficked within the country each year is even higher, with an estimated 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into the sex industry

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After the shootings in Atlanta, many social media users claimed that the area, where the incident took place, is surrounded by drug dealers and people who run prostitution rings. After doing some research, it was found that most of the spas and massage parlors situated in Atlanta were listed on a website called Rubmaps, an erotic review site that allows users to search for and review illicit massage parlors.

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According to a report by Polaris, such businesses are called “Illicit Massage Businesses” (IMBs). The report also claims that more than 9,000 IMBs are operating within the US today. Commonly called “massage parlors,” these businesses have been running within the US borders for decades now and take place behind darkened windows in some of the biggest cities in America. The Polaris report also suggests that most of the women earning money by engaging in commercial sex are victims of “human trafficking.”

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But people should not believe that these shabby-looking stores must be finding it difficult to generate revenue. As per the report, these IMBs generate a whopping $2.5 billion in revenue every year and take their so-called “massage parlors” to different cities. 

Trafficking related to illicit massage parlors accounted for 2,949 cases in 2017 and most of the victims are women in their mid-thirties to late fifties from South Korea or China. People give these women false hopes of giving a good job in the US and are brought here to do their dirty. Polaris found that these women have no more than a high school education and know very little or no English when they enter the United States of America. 

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Meanwhile, Trafficking Matters reveal that there are more than 10,000 IMBs operating in the US. The website also noted that the most number of Illicit Massage Businesses are (IMBs) situated in big states like California, Texas, Florida, and New York.
 
The website claims that California is home to more than 2,400 IMBs while Texas came in second with 1,036 illicit massage parlors. On the other hand, Florida and New York reportedly have 852 and 827 IMBs respectively. As far as Georgia is concerned, there is a total of 183 IMBs operating in the state.

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Meanwhile, a different report by 11Alive, claims that the IMBs are the second-largest form of trafficking in the United States and it has a really vast network in places such as Atlanta.

All the aforementioned facts make people believe that the shooting that took place in America actually talks about how Asian women are always the victims of such hate crimes because of what they do or what they are forced to do in their professional lives.

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Internet says people should talk about Asian women who are being exploited nationwide 

Social media users came out in support of the Asian community after the shooting incident and categorically said that the issue of human trafficking should not be ignored. One user said, “After what happened in Atlanta, the focus may be on #StopAsianHate, gun control, and mental health but also think about human trafficking that is often ignored.” Another user said, “The Atlanta shootings today were absolutely heartbreaking. In addition to the murders, though, they also unveil a different layer of anti-Asian hate: the fact that a number of “spas” and “massage parlors” are fronts for human trafficking targeting Asians.”

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Another user noted, “It’s interesting how no one is talking about how these massage parlors are hubs for human trafficking of Asian women. Any possibility that these women were trafficked means we failed them as a society, to begin with.” Another one shared, “Atlanta has one of the busiest airports in the world & is one of the biggest hubs for human trafficking. Georgia has been out of lockdown for the most part since last summer. We cannot address an issue if we continue to ignore it.”

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“Horrible situation - and the most significant tragedy is that no one is speaking on the fact the deceased was also most certainly victims of #HumanTrafficking The vast majority of Asian massage parlors are nothing but a front for #sextrafficking,” another user said. Meanwhile, another person wrote, "Massage parlors are a known location for a vast network in the human trafficking of Asian women. The shooter wasn't attempting to "take away" his temptations because human beings aren't things or products unless you make them that. These were racist murders."

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