The “happy ending” massage is an aspect of spa-mythos that will draw chuckles and sly fraternal winks anywhere you hear it mentioned.

It’s something that our society has unenthusiastically accepted. Everyone knows happy endings happen, but most people just roll their eyes when they hear about them. Most people don’t really care. Maybe because the act seems so harmless and innocuous. Maybe because people don’t actually believe they happen in real life… 

More likely, though, people don’t care because they don’t realize that the women handing out these handies, aren’t just generous masseuses. They’re legit sex workers; prostitutes trapped in the sex trade, living in cramped conditions and making close to nothing, rubbing away their youth in a brothel disguised as a massage parlor.

These places are everywhere in America. They’re here in Colorado: all over the Front Range in Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder. There’s an underground group of men and women (mostly men) who refer to themselves as “mongers,” who frequent these establishments, who share information, locations and the names of their favorite girls to request.  

They even have their own website: — a forum for mongers to mingle, where they talk prices, exchange tips and generally circle jerk. They even have ratings for the women who work in these establishments, grading their sexual performance, breast size, weight and physical hygiene.

A quick perusal of and you realize just how many of these illegal erotic massage parlors there are in the US. In Denver alone, there are 44 in operation — that’s over twice the number of licensed brothels that exist in all of Nevada. And in Boulder, there are at least three of them, with reviews on Yelp, like these:

I was relaxing for the first part of the massage ended with an awesome experience I would recommend to anybody that has a knot in their pants they need to get rid of not expensive tip is up to you but be generous the girls are young and beautiful.” – Bill L. from Fort Collins

I needed one after a workout and it ended up being fantastic. Would definitely recommend for anyone who needs a quick cheap massage. Nice ambiance and friendly girls.” – John M. from Boulder

“The price was reasonable ($60 for an hour), and the massage therapist was VERY friendly (made me give this place a 3 stars instead of a 2).” – T J. from Boulder

These satisfied patrons all gave their massage parlors pretty high ratings (predictably).

In fact, the only one-star review I could find for Boulder’s alleged erotic massage parlors, came from a woman who paid for a full hour massage and was unpleasantly surprised by her lackluster experience.

"30 minutes in [the masseuse] said 'sorry can only do 30 min' because she got another customer. A man came in. WTF?" Kat W. writes. “It was unbelievable. When the man came in she rushed me out of there and said I only needed to pay $35 for 30 min. I was so disgusted and pissed but I couldn't effectively argue or complain because she spoke almost no English.”

Sorry Kat. But apparently you just weren’t the kind of clientele that place was aiming to please.

Well, so what? What’s the big deal, here? One might ask. What does it matter if a cute young Asian masseuse wants to tickle a dude’s junk for an extra $20? That’s her choice. Her body. Her dignity. Her money. No one’s getting hurt. Why make such a fuss over happy endings?

Those are fair questions to ask. Because, it would be one thing if this was just a matter of independent women offering extra services for money they got to keep. It would be one thing if this was wholly voluntary. 

However, that is very rarely the case when it comes to these Asian erotic massage parlors. More often than not, the women working in these massage parlors have been trapped in the sex industry for years. And usually they don’t see much (or any) of the money they’re earning — most of that cash goes to the establishment’s “Mama San,” the matriarch who’s pimping these girls out and managing the operation. The girls are often forced to live inside of the massage parlors where they work, they are discouraged from interacting with anyone outside of their business and are often kept against their will, according to KRDO, a Colorado Springs news station that investigated

"Our experience is that these women are usually from [North or South] Korea and China," Lt. Mike Compte, the supervisor of Colorado Springs PD's Vice and Human Trafficking Unit, told KRDO. "These women will start out their younger years in the bigger markets … then as they age the younger girls come in and take their place … that's when we start to see them in Colorado Springs."

And they aren’t just selling handie-happy-endings at these places, either. Sure, that’s probably where they get most of their business, but some of the places listed on explicitly advertise more. A lot more. Everything from blow jobs, to prostate massages, ball fondling, edging, face sitting and full on intercourse.

That’s exactly why the Colorado Springs PD busted at least one of these brothels, just last month. Police observed upwards of 26 different male customers coming and going from this single massage parlor. Using covert surveillance video footage they were able to observe these men inside, as they received a variety of different sex acts from young Asian girls and payed for them in cash. 

Here’s a taste of the police report:

“At 1203 hours an Asian female, previously identified as L** W*** entered the room and hugged Male 19, who then lay face down on the table. At 1233 hours Male 19 got up on his hands and knees and W*** started to manually manipulate his penis and testicles. This went on for several minutes.”

“Male 13 laid face up on the table. W*** hugged him. At approximately 1102hrs, W*** began touching and rubbing Male 13’s penis and testicles and then appeared to perform oral sex on him.”

“She dimmed the lights. The Asian female removed her shirt, pulled down her pants and lay down on the table next to Male 17. They kissed and touched each other’s genitals. Male 17 touched the Asian female’s breasts.”

Arousing stuff. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

One might think that these illegal massage parlors would try and keep their activity on the down low. But if you're one of those mongers serious enough to buy premium access, then you also see the ads that these massage parlors post. And they are anything but "low profile."

"They're selling sex," said Lt. Compte, simply, of the ads on "They're showing young girls wearing barely anything … this business, when posting these ads, is demonstrating it's a house of prostitution."

This situation has everything but a “happy ending.” Particularly for those women trapped in the death-grip of the sex trade. As innocuous and innocent as paying for a happy ending after a massage sounds on the surface, at its core, it’s a pretty twisted thing to pay for.

Not because hand jobs or happy endings are inherently bad (they definitely aren't). But because the Asian women providing those happy endings are prisoners of an illegal industry that’s squeezing them for their youth, their bodies and their soft hands, like they’re squeezing wood for $20 bills.