For the last 17 months, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department has been investigating instances of prostitution and human trafficking in Lafayette Parish.
Five Lafayette massage parlors were investigated in connection with these instances including Golden Spa, Angel Massage, AA Plus Massage, Asian Spa and Harmony Zen Spa. Three residential locations were also tied to the investigation, according to Sheriff Mark Garber.
Complaints from “numerous citizens and business owners” ultimately led investigators to uncover the prostitution operation.
“You have women who are being exploited in the flesh trade. That’s something we know that it happens world wide, we know that it happens in the United States. It’s unpleasant and people don’t like to talk about it, but all we can control is what happens in our community,” said Sheriff Garber.
Nine people were arrested and charged in connection with the investigation. Their names can be found below.
Sheriff Garber said during a press conference on Wednesday that $50,000 was seized during the investigation. Deputies believe those funds are connected to illegal activity. Five vehicles, jewelry and business goods connected to the investigation were also seized along with business records and electronic devices.
Sheriff’s Garber says there are out-of-state ties to the investigation.
Garber said one woman they questioned,confided in them saying she was being held here against her will and forced into prostitution.
“You have to understand that it’s very tough for women to come forward who are in a foreign country, who don’t speak the language. But we had Homeland Security provide us with a Chinese translator to communicate with these women. And its still got to be extremely difficult for them to come forward, but one did and I wouldn’t be surprised if more come forward,” he said, thanking Faith House for their help in this situation.
He explained that these organizations play a major role in getting victims to safety during situations like this.
One person, Ou Xufang, was booked on charges of human trafficking. Her bond is set at $1 million.
Below are the charges:
- Xu Xiaoping -Prostitution By Massage Charge
- Yuan Yuan Huang – Prostitution by Massage Charge
- Lianxiu Li -Prostitution By Massage Charge
- Xufang Ou – Human Trafficking; Pandering Charge: Pandering I
- Pingjuan Xia – Pandering Charge: Pandering I
- Houqin Tang – Operating a Place of Prostitution, Pandering Charge: Pandering I
- Renjie Jang – Operating a Place of Prostitution, Pandering Charge: Pandering I
- Zhao Chen – Operation of a Place of Prostitution, Pandering Charge: Pandering I
- Chang Su – Operating a Place of Prostitution, Pandering Charge: Pandering I
The Sheriff’s Office says that the investigation is still ongoing.
KATC Investigates found that one of the locations, Golden Spa, has a history of similar troubles. Prostitution operations were discovered at the same location, 117 Industrial Parkway, in 2014 where 10 people were arrested. It was operating under a different name, Fortune Massage, and once again in 2015 as Golden Massage.
To read more into the 2014 investigation click here.