Sunday, June 08, 2008

Officials Raid Alleged ‘Happy Ending’ Massage Parlors

From Newslink Indiana:

Some Richmond business-owners were relieved Wednesday, one day after police raided two massage parlors accused of prostitution and human trafficking.

Sunshine Spa and Apple Studios were among 19 parlors hit Tuesday in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Police detained four women in Richmond – two legal U.S. residents and two illegal immigrants. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials took both illegal immigrants to Lawrenceburg for further investigation.

“I’ve always known something shady was going on over there,” said Tim Cole, who owns a business across the street from Sunshine Spa. “I am absolutely glad it is gone.”

Other owners wondered why the investigation took so long. Police learned of the parlors’ alleged criminal activity and began questioning customers when the businesses opened in 2006. They had enough evidence to make prostitution arrests long ago, Lt. Brad Berner said.

But they were looking beyond prostitution.

“Prostitution charges, while serious, did not address the larger issue, which was human trafficking,” Berner said. “That was our concern through all of this.”

Berner said the federal government had long suspected the parlors were bringing women from Korea illegally and forcing them to perform sex acts to earn their way into the country. “‘Sex slaves’ was one of the terms used,” he said.

Police coordinated a task force with other local and federal agencies to shut down the ring of massage parlors in Richmond, Lawrenceburg, New Albany, northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. Other agencies involved included the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, State Excise Police, U.S. Customs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indianapolis.

Police gathered much of their information through surveillance and by questioning customers as they left the parlors, Berner said. Most customers agreed to talk with police.

Read the full article


  1. Anonymous9:33 AM

    Check out a film on this subject.
    Rhode Island. The only state where indoor prostitution is legal. It had been over 25 years since five prostitutes sued the state of Rhode Island for selective prosecution, and prostitution laws were removed from the books when documentarians T.L. Hurley and Nick Marcoux turned thier cameras on the under belly of "The Renaissance City" Providence, RI. Watch the drama unfold in asian massage parlors as Mayor David Cicilline of the City of Providence pushes to close the prostitution "loophole". Follow "Heather", a Korean immigrant, over two years as she manages a massage parlor. Learn about the women who work in the spas. Hear from the police who arrest them. Watch the fight for and against legislation.
    The film includes subtitled interviews with Korean women who work in the spas, clients who frequent the spas, Police, Politicians from 1980 and today, local news footage, local radio call in shows, and “voiced” reviews from internet escort review boards. This film experiments with both the narrative and documentary style of film creating a new style of cinema verite.

  2. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Good article!

    You know, I actually applaud the police decision to wait it out & go after human traffickers instead of local working girls. I'd like to see more of this, and hopefully see some of these victimizers be put away for a LONG time. :-)

  3. Anonymous3:03 PM

    The oldest profession. It's going to be around no matter how strict the laws are. I will admit I have been to AMP's and at age 62 I find it a wonderful experience consensual between two adults. These wonderful ladies are not sex slaves and are all over 21. I have gotten to know a few and they all have cars, pay taxes and live in apartments usually two or three together. They do not want to quit because they can make up to $100,000.00 a year, and they don't leach off the government like most immigrants. True, they have to pay back expenses incurred to get here but generally they are able to pay off the debt in a couple of years then there income is there's to keep.
    Yes there is trafficking all over the world, especially youngsters which is horrible, but don't pick on these girls, they are happy to be here, so it is a "happy ending" for everybody.