West Chester massage parlor accused of human trafficking, police say
BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says police served a search warrant last week at a massage parlor after tips suggested the business might be involved in human trafficking.
The massage parlor is called Foot Reflexology in the West Chester Village Mall.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was notified by West Chester police on July 7 regarding the tips they received about the massage parlor.
“We had some local businesses that observed what they thought to be some suspicious activity - a storefront or businesses front that had exclusively male customers in and out,” explained West Chester Police Lt. David Tivin.
BCI was also contacted by the Chillicothe Police Department on June 23 regarding tips they received about a massage parlor called Lucky Asian Bodywork about a similar situation.
Search warrants were issued on Dec. 7 at both massage parlors. Investigators say they discovered that Foot Reflexology had connections with Lucky Asian Bodywork.
Five suspected victims of human trafficking were identified - West Chester helped three women and Chillicothe helped two.
A person who works at another business in the West Chester Village Mall says cars had a habit of idling outside Foot Reflexology late at night.
“Sometimes we would just be like, ‘What is going on? Why is someone just sitting there?’” The person said.
West Chester police provided no further details.
BCI is handling the investigation.
Attorney General Yost said what was allegedly going on was not just sex.
“This isn’t just commercial sex,” Yost explained. “It’s a victim under the control of another who is forced into sex work. The difference in human trafficking, simply put, is two versus three people: When money transfers to a third party and a victim is forced to engage in any kind of sex work for fear of the repercussions.”
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