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AG: Massage parlors in Northampton, Hadley among those involved in alleged sex trafficking operations

  • Pine Spa NoHo in Northampton is one massage parlor included in a recent crackdown led by the Attorney General's Office on human trafficking operations on Dec. 13, 2016. GAZETTE STAFF/Dan Crowley

  • A condemnation order posted by the Northampton Health Department on Pine Spa NoHo in Northampton, which is one massage parlor included in a recent crackdown led by the Attorney General's Office on human trafficking operations on Dec. 13, 2016. GAZETTE STAFF/Dan Crowley

  • Pine Spa NoHo in Northampton is one massage parlor included in a recent crackdown led by the Attorney General's Office on human trafficking operations on Dec. 13, 2016. GAZETTE STAFF/Dan Crowley

  • Pine Spa NoHo in Northampton is one massage parlor included in a recent crackdown led by the Attorney General's Office on human trafficking operations on Dec. 13, 2016. GAZETTE STAFF/Dan Crowley



@mjmajchrowicz
Thursday, December 15, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — Two alleged human trafficking operations with ties to Northampton and Hadley have been disbanded, state Attorney General Maura Healey’s office announced Tuesday evening.

The operation netted four arrests and helped identify 10 victims who were transported from New York and trafficked for sex inside local massage parlors in Northampton, Hadley, Framingham, East Longmeadow and Agawam.

The businesses believed to be associated with the trafficking operations, according to the attorney general’s office, consist of Hadley Massage Therapy in Hadley, Feng Health Center in East Longmeadow, Massage Body Work in Framingham, Pine Spa in Northampton and Agawam Massage Therapy in Agawam.

Feng Ling Liu, 50, her husband Jian Song, 48, both of Sunderland, and Liu’s daughter, Ting Ting Yin, 26, of New Hyde Park, New York, were all arrested Tuesday in connection with trafficking women between New York and operations in Hadley, East Longmeadow and Framingham, according to the AG’s office.

Liu and Song are suspected of operating Hadley Massage Therapy, Feng Health Center in East Longmeadow and Massage Body Work in Framingham, each business billed as a massage parlor — all of which were allegedly fronts, according to the attorney general’s office, for “extensive human trafficking operations.”

Meanwhile, Shuzi Li, 52, of West Springfield, was arrested for her alleged connection with the trafficking of women between Flushing, which is in Queens, New York, and her businesses in Northampton and Agawam.

Liu and Song were apprehended in Sunderland by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office as well as the Sunderland Police Department following search warrants being served at the business locations and their Sunderland residence, according to the AG’s office.

Both are expected to be arraigned Wednesday morning in Eastern Hampshire District Court on charges of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy.

Yin, who was arrested on charges of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy, is expected to appear at a yet-to-be-announced rendition hearing.

Li was arrested in West Springfield also by state police assigned to the AG’s office as well as the West Springfield Police Department, following search warrants that were executed at her businesses and her West Springfield residence, according to the attorney general’s office.

Authorities said Li was running an operation out of her business, Pine Spa, in Northampton as well as Agawam Massage Therapy. These alleged criminal activities are not related to those operated by Liu and Song, authorities said.

Li is expected to be arraigned Wednesday morning in Northampton District Court.

Pine Spa, in addition to three other area massage establishments — Revival Body Work & Massage, Relax and Wellness Asian Massage and Therapeutic Body Works, all located in Northampton — were probed by Northampton police beginning in April 2014, after allegations of offering sexual contact for money came to light, according to Northampton police. While all four places were investigated, the investigation did not result in any arrests, according to police.

However, Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper said in an email Tuesday evening that the previous investigation into Pine Spa “was a separate investigation and was not connected to this new complaint.”

The Gazette also reported in March 2015 that Pine Spa was previously cited for minor electrical and fire code violations, but were allowed to remain open after inspections involving local, state and federal authorities.

Meantime, Hadley Massage Therapy was also the target of a raid in the fall of 2009 in an operation in which two women were arrested on charges of offering sexual conduct for a fee.

The charges announced Tuesday are the result of a months-long joint investigation by the attorney general’s office, the Northwestern district attorney’s office and the Northampton Police Department, as well as varied local and federal law enforcement agencies, authorities said.

“Human trafficking is happening right here in our own communities across the state,” Healey said in a statement. “It is an egregious crime that victimizes vulnerable people, while traffickers profit. This is about the exploitation of human beings and my office will continue to prosecute these cases to hold traffickers and sex buyers accountable. We thank all of our law enforcement partners who assisted us in this major operation.”

Kasper added that “this is one of the most extensive cases that NPD detectives have been involved with.”

“Anytime there has been a report of this type of activity in our community, we have responded and have worked to investigate it,” she said in the email. “We will continue to do so if new reports arise. Unfortunately, these type of establishments are not uncommon. While it may seem shocking to some that this is occurring in our community, this is the reality of what human trafficking looks like.”

Michael Majchrowicz can be reached at mmajchrowicz@gazettenet.com.