UWCHR Unveils First-Year Findings: Empowering Massage Parlor Workers and Students

Submitted by Whitney Miller on

The University of Washington's Center for Human Rights (UWCHR) has unveiled its 2022-23 annual report, featuring a project update from GWSS Associate Professor Chandan Reddy, one of the two faculty leads, titled "Researching for Massage Parlor Workers' Rights." The report highlights the first year of the two-year research initiative, "Strategies for Massage Parlor Workers' Rights," conducted in collaboration with the Massage Parlor Outreach Project (MPOP) and funded by UWCHR. 

The research project delves into the challenging conditions faced by unlicensed massage workers in Seattle, exposing legal intricacies, policing challenges, and heightened health risks aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic due to inadequate safety measures. 

The predominantly immigrant, female, non-English-speaking workforce within the massage parlor sector highlighted significant vulnerabilities, emphasizing the urgency of addressing their rights and safety. Through intensive oral histories conducted by dedicated students and community organizers, the project not only gathered valuable data but also empowered marginalized workers and profoundly transformed the perspectives of the students involved.

This research underscores the critical importance of language justice, advocating for improved access to fundamental rights, and fostering connections within and across communities. For a comprehensive overview of the project's findings, please visit the full report on the UWCHR website.