A Boston woman faces human-trafficking charges after a months-long investigation found she allegedly ran a prostitution network at four massage parlors, including one in Dracut, authorities said.
Police arrested Dan T. Zheng, 47, in Boston on Wednesday, the same day authorities executed search warrants at Sunflowers Spa in Dracut, Lisa Massage Therapy in Arlington, Sunshine Spa and Massage in Stoneham, Rose Health Spa in Boston and a Maple Street residence in Boston. Six female victims were located during the effort, according to a press release from the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.
Zheng allegedly owns and oversaw business at the four parlors, where investigators say male clients were offered sexual services for an additional fee after scheduled massages.
“Motivated by profit, Ms. Zheng ran an extensive criminal operation taking advantage of the vulnerable young women who worked for her by selling them for sex,” said Harold Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division, in a Wednesday press release. “Human trafficking is a crime that happens all around us, often in plain sight, impacting the safety of our neighborhoods and our quality of life.”
The FBI’s Boston Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Task Force began a joint investigation with Malden Police Department detectives in June. Officers ran undercover surveillance on the parlors in question, and they allegedly found that clients at times accepted sexual services that were offered.
In addition to managing the businesses and schedules, Zheng also allegedly transported employees from Boston to the parlors in different towns and pocketed a significant portion of the money they made for the services conducted, paying them only what authorities described as “a minimal fee.”
Zheng faces charges of trafficking persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution and procuring support for prostitution. She is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Cambridge District Court.
“This case represents the result of a well-coordinated and collaborative investigation,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said in the press release. “The defendant in this case was allegedly using businesses in four communities as a front to provide illegal sexual services for a fee while exploiting the women who were employed by her in the process. I am grateful to the local, state and federal investigators who have worked diligently on this case for months.”
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