Five massage parlors in central and western Massachusetts were actually fronts for two prostitution rings that engaged in “extensive” human trafficking, State Police said Tuesday.
According to police, one was a family business.
Authorities raided the shops, arresting four people and discovering 10 women who they said had been forced into prostitution, brought from New York to Massachusetts.
The operations were dismantled in raids that followed a months-long investigation by federal, state, and local authorities, Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.
“Human trafficking is happening right here in our own communities across the state,” Healey said. “It is an egregious crime that victimizes vulnerable people, while traffickers profit.”
Feng Ling Liu, 50, and her husband Jian Song, 48, both of Sunderland, were arrested on charges they trafficked women from New York to businesses in Massachusetts. Also charged was their daughter, Ting Ting Yin, 26, of New Hyde Park, N.Y.
The family owns Hadley Massage Therapy in Hadley; Feng Health Center in East Longmeadow; and Massage Body Work in Framingham. All three businesses acted as massage parlors but actually advertised and arranged sexual services for a fee, the attorney general said. Most of the women remained in the same buildings where they were forced to work.
Also arrested was Shuzi Li, 52, who operated a “separate but similar” business, authorities said.
Li operated Pine Spa NoHo in Northampton and Agawam Massage Therapy in Agawam. She is also accused of bringing women across state lines for her businesses, operating between Flushing, Queens, and Massachusetts.
Authorities say all four arrested individuals arranged the sexual encounters and kept most of the profits for themselves. They were charged with trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy.
“The sexual exploitation and servitude of the victims in these operations is deplorable,” Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan said.
Ten victims were identified and the Attorney General’s victim services division said it is working with victim service organizations to help them.