Spring massage parlor potentially linked to trafficking, officials say
Officials say a sting operation was launched in Spring after receiving a number of complaints about sex for sale at a massage parlor.
SPRING, Texas – A sting operation at a Spring massage parlor was launched after a number of complaints.
Harris County Precinct 4 investigators say they received reports that customers were going to Foot Relax Spa for more than a massage.
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It’s located in a shopping plaza at Cypresswood Drive and the North Freeway, where families come and go. So when authorities received reports of sex for sale at the massage parlor, undercover deputies went in posing as customers.
“They were offered sexual acts for money and an adult female was arrested for prostitution,” says Precinct 4 Constables Office Asst. Chief Kenneth Key.
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Detectives also worked to determine if the arrested employee, Hong Yu, is actually a human trafficking victim.
“We look for indicators as far as human trafficking goes, but ultimately it is going to be the victim that speaks up and says they are a victim of human trafficking,” Asst. Chief Key explained. “Unless these victims speak up it’s very hard to make a case.”
Asst. Chief Key also says fear often forces trafficking victims into silence.
“They’re afraid of law enforcement sometimes,” he said. “They’re afraid of retaliation and harm to themselves or their family by the human traffickers.”
January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Ninety percent of trafficking victims come in contact with a healthcare professional. The Human Trafficking Initiative at St. Luke’s Health has trained over 20,000 healthcare professionals to help identify victims in a hospital setting, but their tips can be applied to anyone who suspects they have come in contact with a human trafficking victim.
Precinct 4 does have a human trafficking unit.
“We have trained professional investigators that have attended multiple hours of human trafficking training and continue to do so,” Asst. Chief Key said. “They work with federal agencies, other state, and local law enforcement agencies constantly to improve their skills, share information.”
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The unit has the tough task of identifying criminals who use seemingly legitimate companies to cover dark, violent crimes.
“A lot of times we think what are the worst criminals in the world? Rapists, murderers, pedophiles, kidnappers, thieves, extortioners,” says Asst. Chief Key. “Well, a human trafficker is every one of those things. What do traffickers look like? They’re not necessarily a male. They’re not necessarily a …….