CRIME

6 people arrested for reportedly running human trafficking, prostitution ring

Feb 5, 2021, 3:00 PM
human trafficking...
(The exterior of the Little Rainbow Massage Parlor in Orem. The "Open" sign was still on as it was being raided. Credit: Paul Nelson)
(The exterior of the Little Rainbow Massage Parlor in Orem. The "Open" sign was still on as it was being raided. Credit: Paul Nelson)

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – An alleged prostitution and human trafficking ring is broken in Utah County. Police raided four massage parlors and arrested six people after workers reportedly offered sexual favors for money.

Police say the investigation started in September after they received an anonymous tip about Sunflower Massage in American Fork. Arrest records say the tipster was able to find the parlor on online maps that list massage parlors that offer sexual favors. 

They state the masseuse will touch people inappropriately and if the customer doesn’t complain, the woman will offer to do more.

American Fork Police Lieutenant Josh Christensen said they sent undercover officers to the parlor shortly after that complaint.

“They stopped several customers leaving the store and did interviews with them,” Christensen said. “They were able to determine that there was, indeed, prostitution type activities going on.”

After searching deeper into business licenses, officers learned Sunflower Massage was connected to Magic Massage in American Fork along with Small Rainbow and Relax Wood in Orem.  Christensen said they partnered with other police agencies to investigate, and undercover officers were sent to those parlors.  He said their investigators were all asked if they wanted more than just a simple massage.

“Obviously, the officers stopped it at that point, but, in each case, the officer was solicited to participate in a prostitution-type of activity,” he said.

(Top, left to right… Joseph Ferreri, Xiao Ling Wang, Ju Ying Wang. Bottom, left to right… Yan Tomney, Jun Yan Li, Yue Ming. Credit: Utah County Jail)

All four parlors were raided on Thursday, and six people were taken into custody.  They include: 

  • Wang, Ju Ying for two counts of prostitution and one count of pattern of unlawful activity.
  • Li, Jun Yan for two counts prostitution, one count of human trafficking, aiding prostitution and pattern of unlawful activity.
  • Ming, Yue for one count prostitution, money laundering, pattern of unlawful activity and unlawful conduct.
  • Wang, Xiao Ling for one count prostitution, human trafficking, money laundering, aiding prostitution and pattern of unlawful activity.
  • Tomney, Yan for one count prostitution, money laundering, unlawful conduct and pattern of unlawful activity.

Along with the four massage parlors, police also searched a home in Lindon.

One man, Joseph Ferreri, was booked for aiding prostitution and pattern of unlawful activity.  Police believe he drove the women back and forth between the Lindon home and the businesses even though the women were rarely allowed to leave the parlors.

“The majority of individuals involved in this type this activity lived on site at the parlor,” Christensen said. “Or they were transported back and forth to one single residence.”

During their raids, police found one woman who they believe is a victim of trafficking and was afraid to reach out for help. Christensen said she was taken to get the help she needs.

“She was brought from another country to here,” he said. “She didn’t know where she was.  She doesn’t know anybody and she doesn’t speak our language but was, basically, told to work.”

Arrest records report many of the women who work at parlors like this are essentially trapped into doing it. The operators reportedly threaten to tell their families back home what they’re doing if they ever stop soliciting sexual favors from their clients. 

Christensen also said these parlors are harder to investigate than they appear to be, since the managers frequently change the names of their businesses to apply for different licenses.  That’s a common tactic for criminal organizations.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime

FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
2 days ago
Police in Roy are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afte...
Mark Jones

Vehicle collides with unoccupied building in Roy, no injuries

Roy Police are trying to determine how a vehicle crashed into an unoccupied building Friday afternoon. The driver was arrested after fleeing the scene.
2 days ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
2 days ago
Clearfield Police are investigating the deaths of two people, who were found in their home on Wedne...
Mark Jones

Clearfield Police identify victims in Wednesday’s double homicide

On Friday, the Clearfield Police Department released the identities of the victims from Wednesday's double homicide. Police their grandson has been arrested in connection to their deaths.
2 days ago
On Nov. 24, 2022, a man crashed into the drive-through window of a Taco Bell located in Ogden. No i...
Waverly Golden

Man crashes into Ogden Taco Bell drive-thru window

On Nov. 24, 2022, a man crashed into the drive-thru window of a Taco Bell located in Ogden. No injuries were reported.
2 days ago
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 04: Boxer Azea Augustama attends NUVOtv's "Knockout" Live Fight Press Conference a...
Leyla Santiago and Denise Royal, CNN

Former Olympic boxer arrested in South Florida for threatening mass shooting

A former Olympic boxer from North Miami has been arrested and accused of threatening to shoot up a gym in South Florida, according to an arrest affidavit.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
6 people arrested for reportedly running human trafficking, prostitution ring