3 suspected victims of human trafficking found at West Chester massage parlor

Tips received by Ohio police agencies last summer, including the West Chester Police, led to the investigation of two massage parlors and the disruption of human trafficking activity, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

“If you think human trafficking doesn’t happen where you live, you’re wrong,” Yost said. “It happens everywhere across our state and across every demographic. It happens because of the demand, but won’t happen in Ohio without consequences – we’re watching.”

The Bureau of Criminal Investigation was contacted on June 23 by the Chillicothe Police Department and, by West Chester police July 7, about tips each agency had received concerning illegal massage parlors. Intelligence sharing through the BCI exposed the connections between the businesses and allowed law enforcement to conduct simultaneous search warrants.

On Dec. 7, search warrants were served at the West Chester Twp. location of Foot Reflexology, 7320 Kingsgate Way and Lucky Asian Bodywork in Chillicothe.

According to Yost, five suspected victims of human trafficking were identified. Victim advocates were present during both searches and talked with the women in hopes of providing a way out of the life of human trafficking. Chillicothe helped two women; West Chester helped three women.

“This isn’t just commercial sex,” Yost said. “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, that is human trafficking — and it is illegal.”

The bureau’s investigation remains open and ongoing, but no additional details were available. Once the investigation is completed, the case will be referred to the appropriate county prosecutors.

No one answered the phone Tuesday at Foot Reflexology; the voice mailbox was full and could not accept messages.

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