On July 24, 2018, Shagna Battle, 29, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to up to five years in prison followed by five years of probation for running a prostitution business.
Court records reveal that Battle was found guilty by trial of one count of conspiracy of promoting prostitution by owning a house of prostitution or a prostitution business (a third degree felony); two counts of promoting prostitution by owning a house of prostitution or a prostitution business (a third degree felony); and two counts of promoting prostitution by encouraging another to become or remain a prostitute (a third degree felony).
News outlets reported that, from May 2015 to October 2016, Battle ran an illicit massage business out of his Harrisburg apartment. The massage parlor was a front for his prostitution business. Over the course of the year, he prostituted several young women.
The CSE Institute applauds the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office in securing this conviction. However, we wish to remind all prosecutors throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s human trafficking laws and encourage this law to be utilized when appropriate. The illicit massage industry offers notorious venues for human trafficking. According to Polaris, a national anti-trafficking organization, trafficking related to massage parlors was second in prevalence only to trafficking in escort services. Therefore, in order to properly combat human trafficking, steps need to be taken to end illicit massage parlors and those who run them must be held accountable.
All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.