Friday, May 24, 2013
3 Massage Parlors Busted for Prostitution
Operation Cross Country nets 23 arrests for prostitution in Anchorage streets, hotels and massage parlors
Original article posted Nov. 11, 2011
Updated version: Corrects and clarifies information police initially released.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska-Three Anchorage massage parlors have been busted as prostitution fronts after a three-day joint sting by Anchorage police and the FBI. The operation, which included undercover work in the massage parlors, on the streets and in hotels, yielded 23 arrests.
Eleven women face charges for practicing prostitution and 12 men for soliciting prostitution, including one person who also faces a charge for harassment.
Last Thursday, authorities searched Tropic Massage, a massage parlor on Tudor Road, where a woman was arrested and more than $4,000 was seized.
The next day, authorities searched Tao Massage on Dimond Boulevard where they arrested another woman and more than $3,800 in cash was seized, as well as cocaine.
On Saturday, authorities headed over to Debarr Road, where they busted Best Chinese Massage, arresting another woman and seizing more than $1,700 in cash.
But police say even after the arrests the massage parlors are back open for business.
"It's a misdemeanor arrest and often times you'll get the owner of the business saying, 'I had no idea that was going on. I just hired somebody to give a massage.' It's kind of a revolving door and we're working to address that because our ultimate goal is not just to rescue kids, but to make it harder for sex traffickers to make their living off of the sexual exploitation of women," said Sgt. Kathy Lacey of the Anchorage Police Department.
This latest sting is part of a nationwide initiative called "Operation Cross Country," sponsored by the FBI, which aims to rescue young girls from sex trafficking.
During the operation, which included undercover work at hotels and on the streets, Anchorage police and the FBI together arrested 23 people, including the three women who were arrested at the massage parlors.