But ever since the New York Times published an article last April on the death of Yang Song, a Chinese prostitute who fell or jumped to the concrete from a balcony during a police raid, 40 th Road area has became widely known as the red light district of Flushing. But now all eight identified parlors have been closed. Sex workers, mostly Chinese immigrant women in their 40s and 50s, would stand in front of storefronts to brazenly complete for mostly non-Asian customers. A playground is right beside the parlors. Some customers would camp out there, drunk and on drugs, making a scene next to the slides and swings where small children play. Locals and police say women would go in the playground to solicit the men and bring them upstairs to their workspaces.
Erotic massage near Flushing
Inside Queens' illicit brothel district
By Sara Dorn and Brad Hamilton. February 2, pm Updated February 2, pm. A tiny Queens block has become a booming hotbed of hookers operating out of at least eight Chinese massage parlors, The Post found. Post reporters were solicited three times in the span of two hours on Friday and Saturday on the street. The woman, wearing heavy dark eye make-up and red lipstick, led him up a narrow stairway to a dimly-lit pink waiting room where a gaggle of listless Asian women lounged in lingerie. She walked the reporter into one of eight rooms, ordered him to undress, and watched while he did so — not standard practice in therapeutic massage.
Inside Queens’ hidden sex district
Members of the burgeoning movement to decriminalize sex work in New York went head to head Friday with City Councilman Peter Koo, who vowed earlier this month to work with the th Precinct and the Flushing BID to root out the massage parlors that are illegally doubling as brothels on 40th Road in Flushing, Queens. Koo and the NYPD hosted a packed event in the auditorium at Flushing Public Library Friday evening where they sought to educate audience members about how to recognize sex trafficking in various forms and report it to the police, emphasizing that people could report trafficking without revealing their immigration status. Protesters repeatedly invoked Yang Song, the Flushing massage parlor worker who, after cycling through the criminal justice system, died falling from a balcony during a police sting in November Before the fatal encounter, Song reportedly said she was being pressured by police officers to become an informant and reported being assaulted by a man who said he was a law enforcement officer.
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. But a traditionally Asian form of therapeutic relaxation with deep roots in big-city Chinatowns has spun off a different kind of massage parlor that has little to do with traditional remedies. The frequently middle-aged women who work in parlors with names like Orchids of Asia and Rainbow Spa are often struggling to pay off high debts to family members, loan sharks, labor traffickers and lawyers who help them file phony asylum claims.