Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Massage Parlor Prostitution Arrest Seattle

Six Arrested 26 Women Removed In Massage Parlor Prostitution Busts In The Cid

Arrests made in massage parlor prostitution bust

Seattle police busted 11 massage parlors in the Chinatown International District and Beacon Hill at the end of February, arrested five people for promoting prostitution and money laundering, and charged a sixth suspect who remains at large. They removed 26 women from the massage parlors, all of them Chinese or Chinese American, and connected them with social services.

The arrests were the result of a three and a half year investigation, with the help of the King County Prosecutors Office, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The investigation started with a tip from a citizen about a massage parlor in Beacon Hill that apparently offered sexual services, and comes after pressure from community members in the CID who are unhappy with the large amount of massage parlors in the district.

Law enforcement found that the massage parlors in Seattle were linked to others in Los Angeles and New York through some of their owners, who are Chinese nationals. The two cities are hubs for women brought to the U.S. to do this work, according to the Seattle Times.

Its our belief that this is very well connected not only across our country but internationally, said Capt. Mike Edwards, who led the investigation, at a press conference at SPD Headquarters on March 8. It is too early to say whether the massage parlors are linked to organized crime, he said.

Police have probable cause to bust 18 other massage parlors, the Seattle Times reported, and expect to make more arrests.

What Are The Statistics Regarding Seattles Sex Economy

According to a U.S. Department of Justice report in 2015, Seattles sex economy more than doubled in the years from 2005 through 2012, if the estimated amount of cash changing hands is the measurement. Nearly every other large U.S. city saw its sex economy stagnate during those years, according to the report. The study also identified the prime drivers in Seattles commercial sex boom to be massage parlors, spas, and the residential brothels operated predominantly by Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants.

A 2008 report released by Seattles Human Services Department estimated as many as 500 underage girls were exploited in the citys sex trade every night, and thats a figure that is probably much higher today in 2016. In 2008, police officers could find could the underage girls in high-traffic corridors such as Seattles North Aurora Avenue, but today they are harder to find, hidden among what Seattle Police Captain Eric Sano calls a flood of online posts. Theres a new site that pops up every day, to prostitute underage girls in Seattle, according to Sgt. Jaycin Diaz of the SPDs High Risk Victims Unit.

Sex Workers Taken To Safety Translators Help

As teams were fanning out to arrest the five suspects in Seattle, Lynnwood and Kent on Feb. 28, nearly 100 police officers, federal agents and interpreters were gathering for an operational briefing at the Seattle Police Departments West Precinct.

When the briefing was over, Lt. Jim Fitzgerald, the operation commander, headed to a church in West Seattle.

Hed heard there had been problems setting up an intake facility, where women removed from the massage parlors were to be brought for interviews with detectives, then offered services by three local agencies that work with women looking to escape prostitution. But it was up to the women to decide whether to accept help for instance, finding a place to stay, getting a ride somewhere or engaging in more intensive case management or simply to go on their way.

He arrived expecting chaos. Instead, he found Sgt. Lauren Truscott had things well in hand. She had set up interview rooms and organized the 10 female detectives on loan from the homicide and sexual-assault units, force investigations, missing persons and the anti-crime team who were to be paired with interpreters to conduct victim interviews.

Olivia Herring, a victims advocate embedded in the Vice & High Risk Victims Section, said it was her job to make sure the church felt like a safe space for the women being brought in. There were no police cars parked outside, and all police officers wore plain clothes instead of uniforms.

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Years Of Complaints From Three Neighborhoods

For more than four years, police received a steady stream of complaints about massage parlors offering more than body rubs with most of the complaints coming from business owners and residents in the Chinatown-International District, Beacon Hill and Sodo according to Umporowicz.

While there are now an estimated 75 illicit massage parlors citywide, those three neighborhoods formed the epicenter of what became known as Operation Emerald Triangle. As part of the larger investigation, Umporowicz and his squad have established probable cause to bust 18 other massage parlors and are planning more arrests in coming weeks.

Its Whac-A-Mole, Umporowicz said of the illicit parlors that regularly pop up and change locations. I also have to answer to the community. I have people just incensed in the International District and the Chinese community that dont want these operating.

As a sergeant in the Vice & High Risk Victims Section, Umporowicz has helped lead numerous operations aimed at disrupting the citys commercial sex trade.

But investigating the owners and operators of the Chinese-run massage parlors required different tactics, due to language and cultural barriers. Umporowicz couldnt, for example, send undercover detectives to infiltrate the businesses as hes done in other operations.

Those two locations put Umporowiczs squad on the trail of Xinzhong Wang and his partner, Liuzhen Mou, who is believed to have since returned to China, according to charging papers.

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Seattle Police Set Up Massage Parlor In Sex

  • Sara Jean Green

Seattle Police Officers lead out a man arrested for sexual exploitation in the University District July 11. In May, the SPDs Vice & High Risk Victims Unit shut down the Bamboo Spa in the University District due to prostitution activity and reopened as a Euro Spa massage parlor, advertising for prostitution services on Backpage.com.

Seattle Police Departments Vice & High Risk Victims Unit works out of the former Bamboo Spa in the University District July 11. The unit created a sign advertising the fake massage parlors grand opening. Since running the operation on July 5, SPD has arrested 155 men.

Seattle Police Departments Vice & High Risk Victims Unit works out of the former Bamboo Spa in the University District July 11. The unit created a sign advertising the fake massage parlors grand opening. Since running the operation on July 5, SPD has arrested 155 men.

Seattle Police Departments Vice & High Risk Victims Unit works out of the former Bamboo Spa in the University District July 11. The unit created a sign advertising the fake massage parlors grand opening. Since running the operation on July 5, SPD has arrested 155 men.

One man reached up her skirt the moment he crossed the threshold of the tiny storefront on Roosevelt Way Northeast in Seattles University District.

Later, as he sat in handcuffs in the vacant apartment above the ground-floor massage parlor, he prayed aloud, begging to be let go and asking someone to call his pastor.

Dunn Proposes More Rigorous Oversight Of Massage Parlors

On Thursday, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn introduced legislation that would create a workgroup to make recommendations on how King County regulations could be updated to help prevent instances of human trafficking at massage parlors.

This latest move comes after last weeks raid of a Renton massage parlor, where a woman was held against her will and forced to perform sexual services for clients. After the victim managed to escape and call 911, Renton SWAT was called in, and a 39-year-old woman was arrested on charges of attempting to promote prostitution and unlawful imprisonment.

This case highlights the fact that human trafficking often occurs in plain sight and goes undetected without intervention, Dunn said. So much about our understanding of the nature of human trafficking has evolved in recent years, so it could be very fruitful to take a look at King Countys decades-old regulations and look for ways that they can be used more effectively to prevent instances of trafficking.

The areas of King County code that regulate massage parlors havent been substantially reviewed or updated since they were originally adopted in 1987. A 2013 Report and Recommendations on Human Trafficking Response performed by the King County Sheriffs Office estimated that there were 84 massage parlors acting as hubs for human trafficking at that time. It is unknown how many are operating today.

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Yet another man who was arrested for sexual exploitation on Sunday returned Monday. He stood across the street and used his cellphone to video record the goings-on at the sting location of the undercover police operation and earned himself a second charge for obstruction.

All told, members of the Seattle Police Departments Vice & High Risk Victims Unit arrested 204 men during the 10-day operation that began July 5, netting more than $22,000 in cash money the men handed over expecting to be sexually serviced by a handful of undercover female officers, or UCs.

We never anticipated this volume, Sgt. Tom Umporowicz said of the brisk business at the police-operated Euro Spa, the first sting operation of its kind in the city. He estimated court fines from the operation $2,733 for a first-time offender, with repeat offenders paying more will total at least $550,000.

Formerly known as Bamboo Spa, the business was shut down in May by Umporowicz and his squad, along with a second location, Cherry Spa, a few blocks north on Roosevelt. He said the businesses had been the subject of an anonymous vice complaint a couple of months earlier, which prompted an undercover investigation into prostitution at both massage parlors.

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Neighbors ‘knew something was off’ with massage parlor among dozen raided in prostitution bust

The Seattle vice unit has never ever done this many massage parlor takedowns at one time. It was a first, Umporowicz said of the operation on Feb. 28.

King County prosecutors have since charged two men and three women with money laundering and three to six counts each of second-degree promoting prostitution. A fourth woman, believed to have returned to China in 2017, was also charged but remains at large. Two of the suspects posted bail and were required to turn over their passports, according to prosecutors.

Like the women recovered from the parlors, all of the suspects are Chinese or Chinese-American, Umporowicz said.

Police seized more than $120,000 in cash during the one-day operation, including $17,000 hidden in one suspects nightstand, charging papers say.

In interviews with detectives, some of the women removed from the massage parlors said they were each charged $360 to $600 a month in rent. The women, in their late 20s to early 60s, worked six or seven days a week, often for 14 or more hours a day, according to police and charging papers.

At least one woman disclosed being sexually assaulted by customers and another said she had been robbed others reported being slapped and verbally abused, the charges say.

When youre undocumented and youre vulnerable and you dont know the culture, youre easier to exploit. This is not news, Umporowicz said.

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Find Out What’s Happening In Seattlewith Free Real

Police said the women were forced to perform sex work for up to 20 hours per day.

According to the Seattle Times, nine of the brothels were located in the International District, including three were west of I-5, and two were on Beacon Hill. The investigation began after neighbors complained to police about suspicious activity at the Tulip Spa, a business located in the bottom floor of an apartment building in North Beacon Hill’s bustling business district.

Who Was Arrested In The Seattle Police Sting

The 204 men who were busted included attorneys, architects, doctors, and construction workers. A registered sex offender and a man carrying a large stash of drugs were also among those arrested. Most of these guys going to massage parlors think theyre fairly safe. And the sure thing is always part of the dynamic, Sgt. Umporowicz said. Detectives retrieved wedding rings, firearms, and cellphones from the suspects cars, and they even watched one mans dog until he was able to make bail. Several of the suspects were already graduates of the citys john school, an educational diversion program offered to men after their first soliciting conviction.

In the past, solicitation suspects in Seattle were usually arrested, released, and received a summons in the mail. Now, however, the Seattle Police Department is requiring mandatory jail bookings for anyone being charged with sexual exploitation, the new phrase being used by the City Attorneys Office for what used to be known as soliciting a prostitute, a misdemeanor. The idea is that orange jail garb, fingerprinting, and a mug shot will act as a deterrent in the future, Umporowicz said.

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Seattle’s Latest Prostitution Sting: Progressive Or Misguided

As authorities process 84 arrests from the Barbies Dollhouse operation, the city defends its approach to addressing prostitution.

The 11700 block of Aurora Avenue North in Seattle, near where the city conducted its latest sting.

It started with an ad on the website Backpage: Barbies Doll House Massage & Spa Grand Opening. Posted in June 2017, the notice made no mention of sex, but there were clues that indicated something more than massage was being offered: women in tight shirts lined up underneath a pink-hued banner featuring the silhouette of a model, like those seen on a truckers mud flaps. This grand opening was to happen somewhere in North Seattle call for the address.

But the ad, posted on a site that knowingly allowed users to advertise prostitution, was not really for a newly opened brothel either. It was, rather, the bait in a police sting, the second in as many years from the Seattle Police Department. The first, known as the Euro Spa operation, ended in the arrests of over 200 men in 2016. Barbies Dollhouse would be round two.

These stings fit into the citys broader strategy for targeting prostitution, one focused not on those selling sex, but on the people buying it. This end demand approach has been embraced by the city as a progressive alternative to the old law-and-order days, a way to stamp out prostitution without penalizing the sex workers in the trade.

Buyers, on the other hand, are quickly arrested.

Seattle Massage Parlor Sting Focuses On Owners Not Johns

Major prostitution bust: Seattle police raid 11 massage parlors ...

On February 28, 2019 in Seattles Chinatown, police raided 11 different massage parlors. Hordes of customers were not arrested, but five owners of the various businesses were.

The lead detective, Seattle Sgt. Tom Umporowicz, stated at the conclusion of the raids, from the beginning, the focus of the investigation was on targeting the people responsible for exploiting and profiting from the Chinese women being brought into the country to staff the parlors, and not the men who patronize them. According to the Seattle PD, these massage parlors were part of a network bringing Chinese women into the United States. The women were transported through hubs in California and New York under the promise of employment.

During the raid, 26 women were removed from the parlors. Some of the women were charged up to $600 a month rent to work six or seven days a week. They were also forced to repay all the costs of bringing them to the U.S. The slavery aspect is particularly appalling, as the workers made on average $10,000 a month. Det. Umporowicz stated theres just so much money involved. Theres a crazy amount of money. So much so that the cash flowing in caused a public safety issue: robbers hit multiple spas before being busted.

If you have a criminal matter and would like to consult with a lawyer, contact Jan Olson at Ellis, Li & McKinstry, PLLC. You can reach Jan by calling 682-0565 or by e-mail at .

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Police Rescue 26 Women During Human Trafficking Prostitution Bust At Seattle Massage Parlors

SEATTLE – Seattle police say a human trafficking and prostitution ring that was being run out of 11 different “massage parlors” in the city has been busted.

KING5 reports charges were brought against five different spa owners, and a warrant was issued for a sixth person, after raids that were carried out on February 28.

The people who were arrested are alleged to have conspired to lure women to the county with the promise of making large sums of money through legitimate work. But once the victims arrived in the U.S., they were forced into sexual acts at the spas, sometimes working up to 20 hours a day.

The investigation took more than three years of investigation and monitoring activity at the spas before warrants were served.

During the operation, 26 women between the ages of 20 and 60 years old were rescued. Cash and firearms were also recovered by investigators.

The women are now at an undisclosed location receiving help. Police say they’re receiving counseling and services to reintroduce themselves into society. But there is a language barrier making efforts more challenging.

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