Police raid massage parlors suspected of human trafficking
Miami Beach police have charged three women in a human trafficking investigation that shut down four massage parlors Friday evening, authorities said. Two victims of human trafficking were also rescued.
Around 6 p.m. Friday, Beach police raided four massage businesses – Shanghai, Jade, Jee Jee and Lu Lu – and took eight women into custody. A woman associated with Shanghai was charged with deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, and another woman connected to Jade was charged with prostitution. The third woman charged, affiliated with Jee Jee, was charged with human trafficking, police said.
The two identified victims were connected to Jee Jee, on 733 Fifth Street, though additional information about their identities or conditions was not released. No arrests were made in connection to Lu Lu Saturday morning.
The eight-month undercover investigation started with nearby residents’ suspicions that illegal activity was taking place at the four massage parlors.
When police officers raided the locations Friday, they found mattresses in rooms, refrigerators stacked with frozen meals and lowered massage beds that looked like they doubled as beds, North Beach community leader Richard Hull told the Herald Friday. Hull, a chairman of the citizen police advisory board, was with officers as they entered the parlors.
Money was also seized at each of the locations, police said.
Police are working alongside state prosecutors in the human trafficking unit of the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and immigration officials. The Florida Department of Health, Miami Beach Code Enforcement and Sunny Isles Beach police also assisted in the raid.
Staff writer Joey Flechas contributed to this report.