Possibly the biggest story of the past 24 hours that will likely dominate headlines up until the 2019 NFL season is when Jupiter Police announced that New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was caught up in a prostitution sting where authorities were sitting on a day spa where they believed sex trafficking was going on.
The details were quite harsh:
A six-month investigation revealed human traffickers were luring vulnerable girls to massage parlors in Indian River County, where they were coerced into working as prostitutes, police announced Thursday. Indian River County agencies issued warrants for 173 people, on charges ranging from human trafficking to racketeering to soliciting prostitution.
Currey said it was important for them to attack the people at the top, because many of the women are considered victims, trapped into a life of prostitution. “These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can’t leave and they’re performing sex acts,” Currey said. “Some of them may tell us they’re OK, but they’re not. We know that… even though we may have charges on some of them, we’d rather them be victims.”
The Vero Beach spa is owned by Orlando resident Yongzhang Yan. He also owns AA Massage in Sebastian and the Winter Park and Orlando spas. She collected most of the payments at the spa’s front desk, took the money to the banks and wrote checks to employees. Detectives also observed her purchasing condoms, food and water for the business.
Detectives watched the Orlando couple transport multiple women with suitcases to and from the spa, “for the purpose of sexual servitude,” according to her arrest warrant. Police said victims, identified in court records as Jane Does, lived inside the spas and worked as prostitutes. Some stayed for days, others for months. None were allowed to leave on their own.
Currey said many came from China on temporary work visas, indebted to the brokers who helped them reach America, but believing legitimate jobs awaited them. Bank records revealed the spa owners also paid for Backpage.com advertisements. In September, a Vero Beach detective twice visited undercover, equipped with a camera, a recorder and cash. Each time, he asked for a 30-minute massage, paid $50 and was escorted to a dimly lit room.
After a rubdown, his masseuse would offer various sexual favors — intercourse for $160 to $200, oral sex for $100 and stimulation by hand for $40 to $60. Each time, the detective said he was short on cash and would return. In November, Circuit Judge Cynthia Cox approved the secret installation of surveillance cameras inside. Between Nov. 30 and Jan. 10, police observed 140 sex acts performed for money, resulting in charges against several of the spa’s employees, including Xu, Ren and Dong, and the spa’s manager, Lanyun Ma.
You would think the fan base would be quite embarrassed by these turn of events, but instead, as they day rolled on, many fans came down to the Day Spa and had an impromptu photo session to let folks know that were on scene at the place Kraft got popped at.