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Lessons From a Chinese Massage Parlor – Zara Zhang
According to the nonprofit anti-trafficking organization Polaris Project, there were more than 9, illicit massage parlors in the United States in , mostly staffed by Chinese women, aged , with at least one child in China. Their struggle is often one for family and dignity. The building that houses Queens Criminal Court, like the city of New York itself, is usually filled with a mixture of men and women of all ages and races. The Chinese women looked plain.
If you want to understand Chinese culture, I suggest visiting a massage parlor in China. The Chinese massage parlor is a place that, more than anywhere else, reminds me of the cultural difference between China and the U. Each trip is a telling ethnographic exercise.
She was 49, a recent immigrant and deeply in debt to a loan shark back home in China when she answered an employment ad three years ago that promised thousands of dollars a month, but offered no job description. She realized too late that she had been tricked into working at a massage parlor in Flushing, Queens, where besides kneading backs, she was expected to sexually service up to a dozen men a day. In strip malls across the country, neon signs and brightly colored placards promise hot stones, acupuncture and shiatsu with photos of women or couples receiving relaxing shoulder rubs.