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LANSING — A man walked into a spa on Lansing's south side on an early February morning last year and paid for a 30-minute massage.
It’s a natural fit because survivors of prostitution and trafficking often are physically or sexually abused, and even those who aren’t suffer similar pains and have similar needs, advocates said.
They often need therapy to address trauma and reclaim a sense of self. They often need help with housing and employment, because pimps or traffickers controlled their income.
Many of the men, who ranged in age from 20 to 63, came from places such as Detroit, Haslett, Leslie and Grand Rapids before being arrested in Lansing police stings. After three days, she reached out to a friend in Michigan, who helped her get home. Over the next several years, she danced at strip clubs and continued selling sex until about three years ago, when she found religion and left prostitution for good.
It wasn’t clear why those men were in town, because the police reports were heavily redacted. who have been forced into a life of exploitation." ‘He picked me up and never let me go’ In 2006, Kennedy traveled alone to Las Vegas as part of a Jobs Corps program. Jeannie Kennedy, a former prostitute, is pictured Friday, May 6, 2016, in St. Kennedy now works to help victims escape with the Human Trafficking Task Force in Shiawassee County and others.
It was the second prostitution arrest at Lansing Accupressure Spa in as many months, according to 350 pages of police reports obtained by the Lansing State Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request.
In most cases, defendants pleaded to misdemeanor charges.
Prostitution is so prevalent here, police were able to arrest 11 men over the course of about six hours in one July 2014 sting, according to Lansing police reports.
On any given day, there are dozens of women advertising their "companionship" on the Lansing section of
When you're in it, you think that's all you're valuable for. It's not." "I had such a deception about who I was and what I would allow to happen to me after" the experience in Las Vegas, said Kennedy, today a 31-year-old mother of four who works with a domestic violence task force in Shiawassee County.
"When you’re trying to get a victim out of that lifestyle," she said, "you have to redo the whole self-awareness." That’s a job organizations typically serving victims of domestic and sexual violence are trying to tackle.