Police in Seattle have busted what they say was a massive human trafficking ring, with women brought from China and forced into prostitution in massage parlors, where they were forced to work 20 hour days under constant supervision.
As CBS News reported, the bust came at the end of a three-and-a-half year investigation into 11 businesses in the city. Police said the victims were all originally from China and between the ages of 20 and 60, forced to live in unsafe conditions and constantly monitored by video surveillance. The bust included six arrests for promoting prostitution and money laundering.
Police said the investigation started after they received dozens of complaints about the operation, and found that the victims were lured from China to live in Seattle with promises that they could make large sums of money to support themselves and their families. The advertisements promised they would have legal work in the United States, but instead, the women were forced into prostitution, police said in a statement about the bust.
“The victims were increasingly forced to work extreme hours in unhealthy conditions engaging in sexual acts regardless of the medical, physical and emotional risks,” Seattle police said. “The victims were frequently put in situations where they were vulnerable to physical attacks with no means of escape or defense.”
The bust comes just weeks after police in Southern Florida arrested dozens of people in a similar human trafficking and prostitution ring that operated out of a string of spas and massage parlors. Both operations worked in a similar way, with young women brought from China and forced to work as prostitutes with little access to the outside world. In Florida, the women were also forced to work long hours and many of them spoke little to no English.
The Florida spa bust garnered national attention after the arrest of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in one of the locations, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Later, the woman who founded that location, a Chinese national named Li Yang, was found to have close connections to Donald Trump and had reportedly been selling access to Trump and his family to rich Chinese business leaders. Though Yang had previously sold the location where Kraft was busted, she still operates a number of spas in Southern Florida identified online as fronts for prostitution.
Seattle police worked together with the FBI, DHS, and King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to bring down the human trafficking and prostitution ring.