An investigation into whether two San Gabriel Valley massage businesses and a home were operating as prostitution brothels led to the arrest of a 57-year-old woman as others were offered victims’ services, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday.
Human trafficking detectives have been investigating the massage parlors, where employees were allegedly forced into prostitution by the business’s owner, for months, according to sheriff’s officials.
The investigation was launched in July and led detectives to believe financial crimes, such as money laundering, may also be involved, officials said.
On Tuesday, authorities served search warrants into the three locations being investigated, where a female business owner allegedly forced women working there to do commercial sex work, according to sheriff’s officials.
Mei Xing, 57, of San Gabriel was arrested just as she was leaving one of the locations, officials said. She was booked on suspicion of human trafficking.
During the searches, evidence described by sheriff’s officials as “consistent with commercial sex work” was found at each of the locations. Officials did not disclose what that evidence entailed.
A number of women were interviewed as potential victims of human trafficking and were referred to victims’ services providers.
Xing was later released on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 16.
Anyone with information or who may have also been victimized in this incident is urged to contact Detective Nick Stewart of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Human Trafficking Bureau at 323-526-5156 or the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking hotline at 888-539-2373.