(KING) Police in Seattle, Washington say they’ve busted a human trafficking and prostitution ring run out of 11 different “massage parlors” in the city.
The raids were carried out on February 28 and led to charges against five different spa owners, and a warrant for a sixth person. Those arrested are alleged to have conspired to lure women to the U.S. with the promise of a legitimate job making large sums of money.
However, once the victims arrived in the U.S., they were forced into sexual acts at the massage spas, working as much as 20 hours a day.
“Squalor is a nice word for what they were encountering,” said Seattle Police Department Captain Mike Edwards.
The department spent more than three years investigating and monitoring activity at the spas before serving the warrants. Investigators recovered cash, firearms, and rescued 26 women as part of the operation.
The women, who are all between 20 and 60 years old, are now at an undisclosed location receiving help. Police say the victims are being given counseling and services to help reintroduce themselves into society. However, there is a language barrier that has made those efforts more challenging.
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