Police raid spa suspected of prostitution, human trafficking
Worthington Police raided a massage parlor investigators suspect was where prostitution and human trafficking was taking place. Two women were rescued as officers and detectives collected evidence hoping it’ll lead them to the operators of the spa.
The raid happened Tuesday afternoon at the Asia Good Luck Massage Spa on West Dublin-Granville Road near Linworth Road. Police officers said the investigation started a year ago after several people who live and work in the area tipped them off something wasn’t right.
“I do know people that went in and they had signs saying, ‘we don’t do sex’,” said James Spurrell who runs Up-Towne Flowers a few doors down. “What massage parlor does that? We suspected a lot of stuff from the start.”
Spurrell said the women lived in the spa. Police confirmed they found signs they were living there. Spurrell said someone who looked like a bouncer would come once or twice a week with supplies. He said that person once threatened him after he thought Spurrell took a picture of his car.
“They’re open 13 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. “I don’t know any massage parlors that ever does that, any legitimate one. They have no licenses.”
Police officers raiding the spa said they’re targeting the people running the massage parlor, not the women forced to work there.
“They’re victims,” said Sgt. Jim Moran with Worthington Police. “We’re going to treat them as victims. They’re going to be very well cared for.”
Moran said no one had been arrested but there were several people of interest. Two women who could be victims of human trafficking were taken from the spa.
“I’m disappointed to see it anywhere,” Moran said. “It’s disgusting. The people who perpetuate it, perpetrate it, as far as I’m concerned prison would be treating them kind.”
He said the person who owns the Asia Good Luck Massage Spa also runs several other massage parlors across the country. Worthington Police and several other Central Ohio police departments part of the investigation will build a case against the people running the spa.
“We’re happy something is being done, both for the girls and for the (shopping) center and Worthington,” Spurrell said. “We don’t need it.”
The spa could technically reopen but Moran said police officers are in the process of shutting it down for good. The two women taken from the massage parlor will be receiving counseling. Moran said emergency visas to keep the women in the country could be needed. He said they would facilitate them heading back to their home country if that’s what they’d like to do.