A Texas multi-agency investigation led to the arrest of 13 people who are allegedly involved in prostitution and human trafficking.
According to the Georgetown Police Department, everything began after they got a complaint about illegal activity at a massage parlor.
Eleven massage parlors and spas got shut down after police say illicit activity was suspected: alleged human trafficking, prostitution, illegal massage.
“The girls in bikinis, not typically a massage thing,” said Sherri Karr, works nearby.
Most of the locations are in Central Texas. Sherri Karr works next to Shanghai Spa in Round Rock, which is on the list.
“Male clients that come in, they typically drive very nice cars and stuff like that, business suits, business attire. Not the typical thing I’m used to seeing at my massage salon,” says Karr.
The investigation started in August 2016, when Georgetown Police Department and the Attorney General’s Office got a complaint about Shanghai Spa in Georgetown. Around that time, several operations were carried out which lead to two arrests related to performing a massage without a license and operating a massage parlor without a license.
Authorities kept on receiving complaints as clients coming and going before posted hours, clients staying for short periods of time, alcoholic beverages were brought in, men’s clothing hanging outside to be picked up later. The investigation expanded a year later. Authorities at that point realized it was several massage parlors and spas across the state that were connected. The alleged prostitution and organized criminal activity reached Bryan, Round Rock, Houston, Killeen, Harker Heights, Temple, and Georgetown.
Agencies in each area and federal authorities worked together at that point to link the crimes. Money, assets, and evidence were seized last week when those agencies made 13 arrests.
“The girls were working 12 hours a day, 7 days of the week, so they’re doing nothing but work. You start figuring out who the drivers are, then we followed them around to figure out who the bosses were, who paid all the bills and that’s how you build that chain,” says detective.
One man, who wants to stay anonymous, works close to one of the spas and always pondered what was happening.
“The ladies that have been there recently have looked like they didn’t like being there. You wave at them and there’s no response at all,” says the man who works nearby.
The 13 people arrested could face more charges since authorities are still searching over the surveillance video, financial records, and credit card receipts.
Warrants served in Georgetown/Round Rock are:
New Shanghai Spa, 1915 S. Austin Ave. Ste. 107 in Georgetown
-Shanghai Spa, 2201 Double Creek Dr. in Round Rock
-Shanghai Spa, 3000 Joe DiMaggio Dr. in Round Rock
-Shanghai Spa, 1305 S. Mays in Round Rock
Seven people arrested in Georgetown/Round Rock:
-Guiqui Li, Prostitution
-Lizhen Song, Prostitution
-Yuexia Sun, Prostitution
-Zhihua Cui, Prostitution
-Xiaolin Yang, Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution
-Yingbo Xu, Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution
-Jianhong Li, Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution