Multiple arrests have been made following a raid on no less than three Nashville businesses allegedly linked to money laundering, prostitution, and human trafficking involving women brought in from China, according to local news reports.
Officers began investigating the three businesses, Shine Nails, Blue Sapphire, and Healing Arts Massage, in April after police received several complaints from residents and other business owners, according to the Tennessean.
Police then went undercover, looking for signs of criminal behavior, and they found it. Investigators reported recording three separate occasions in which prostitution occurred at the businesses.
Clients “would come in and ask for a massage, and then once they got back in the room, the deals were made,” said Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade, according to the Tennessean.
All four suspects have been seen driving young Asian women, provocatively dressed, from two homes to those businesses, reports WSMV. When police executed the raid, the eight young women that were in the salons reportedly received citations for prostitution.
Police have reached out to advocacy groups that assist sex trafficking victims to assist those eight women, and Meade noted that the citations for prostitution are largely to get the women in court so that they can be connected with the help they need.
“We explain what trafficking is and what services we can give them, and put them in a safe place,” Meade said.
Metro police Captain Mike Alexander said the situation was still rough.
“It’s a very sad scenario for us, quite frankly,” Alexander said, according to the Tennessean.
“It seems like a significant number of these female employees were living either at the residence of the owner or living at some of these massage parlors, from what we can tell. It seems like a day-to-day life at this point of being told when to get up, where to go, when to leave, when to come back.”
Although that awful life will be difficult to overcome, there is no question that advocacy groups will do their utmost to get these women back on track.
Alexander also stated that he was aware that other businesses that engage in similar activities, and he instructed them to “heed this as a warning.”
The involvement of Chinese-based organizations in human trafficking is an open secret, but the emergence of a ring like this deep in the American heartland is still disconcerting. Few crimes are worse, and even if blue-state Democrats don’t realize it, conservatives and law enforcement in the Midwest do.
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