Human trafficking suspected after massage busts
PORT ALLEN - State and local authorities arrested six women Monday after raids on two West Baton Rouge massage parlors, and said they discovered evidence of human trafficking in the process.
Investigators arrested the Angel Weeks, Kyung Hee Kim, Han Ae Ja, Eun Hwa Lee, and In Ja Kang on charges of pinciple to prostitution by massage. They also arrested Barbara Kim on suspicion of prostitution by massage.
Authorities said the massage parlors, Young's Therapy and Rainbow Therapeutic, were in two different Port Allen strip malls. West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes said he first got a tip from the public about the activity.
"We will not tolerate this type of business in our parish," said Sheriff Cazes. "I got my guys to look into it and saw that it'd be a lot more than my department can handle."
Cazes called in State Police to help, and together they conducted a two-month long undercover investigation. Investigators said during that time they were offered sexual favors for money, and saw the same activities advertised on websites known for posting prostitution ads.
After searching the businesses Monday, State Police said they found workers who appeared to be living inside the parlors, where office space had been turned into small bedrooms. They said they even found lunch still on a burner in one room.
State Police said the find raises suspicions of possible human trafficking.
"Women held captive in a situation like this, their only alternative is to work," said State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson. "I think the indication here is they were living here."
The two parlors were successfully shut down Monday, but the investigation continues in a number of different directions.
"We want to find out, is this for slavery? Is this beyond prostitution? Is there any drug nexus to this?" Edmonson said.
State Police said they're working with authorities in California and Texas to follow up on this case. They do suspect more arrests to be made soon, including the owners of the two parlors busted Monday.