Human Trafficking Bust Worries Legitimate Asian Massage Businesses
It's more a story you saw first on Erie News Now, with exclusive video of that big raid at a Millcreek Township massage parlor.
Less than 24 hours later, we've learned it was part of an investigation into a multi-state human trafficking ring.
This was a multi-agency case involving local, state, and federal authorities. A large-scale investigation that spanned three states, and involved the sex trafficking of illegal immigrants.
As Erie News Now reported, Pennsylvania State Police raided 1407 Massage, at 1407 Peninsula Drive in Millcreek, Thursday afternoon.
We're learning more about the illicit activity allegedly happening inside 1407 Massage.
According to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, Florida businessman, David Williams, 41, of Pensacola, was operating a human trafficking ring under the guise of several massage parlors he owned, including 1407 Massage.
Investigators say he exploited undocumented women, having them offer sexual acts for money during massages at his parlors.
“The defendant allegedly used his businesses to exploit women in several different states and force them into prostitution purely to line his own pockets,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Thanks to strong collaboration with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we have put an end to this criminal enterprise and are seeking justice for the defendant’s victims.”
Millcreek Township Supervisor John Groh says when he learned of the large-scale raid, he was taken aback, “Prostitution, human trafficking, these are serious matters, very serious matters, I was shocked to hear about it.”
Groh says when the business initially applied for a zoning permit, it seemed to be legit, “It was a bonafide business as massage therapy, the owner of the business produced records and a license issued by the state, so what was going on there seems to be contrary to that,” said Groh.
And many legitimate Asian massage businesses in the area, are concerned this arrest shines a negative light on their business.
Lucy Sun is the owner of Magic Health Spa, located in a plaza off of Peach street, near the Millcreek Mall. She says they offer traditional Chinese full body and acupuncture foot massages, at great prices, and says it’s a shame this happened.
She tells Erie News now her business is especially popular with women, who appreciate a deep-tissue massage experience, “You come here, it’s not too much money, only $40 for full body massage, all the way down, a good massage,” said Sun.
But apparently 1407 Massage was not one of these reputable businesses, and is shut down as multiple agencies continues this nationwide investigation.