3 appear in court to face human trafficking charges
DEDHAM, Mass. (WHDH) -- The owners of two massage parlors in Wellesley and Revere linked to sex trafficking and prostitution were arraigned in court Friday.
Zhen Lai, 37, was brought to Dedham District Court Friday morning. Two other suspects, 55-year-old Joseph Girouard and 49-year-old Wenjie Dong were arraigned at Chelsea District Court.
Police said all three are facing charges of human trafficking for sex and prostitution. Prosecutors said the two locations, Sun Spa, also known as Sun Studio, in Wellesley and Bodywork in Revere were operating as thinly veiled houses for prostitution.
Lai listened to an interpreter in court as the prosecutor described how she brought the prostitutes in from New York and other places.
“This defendant would set up appointments with men that she would transport the women-she would house them and essentially procure them, house them, and transport them to work each day to perform these services on men at this Wellesley location,” said prosecutor, Patrick Hanley, in court Friday.
The suspects advertise jointly run spas on websites known to advertise prostitution. Prosecutors said massage clients got sex for so-called tips.
The owner of the Wellesley building said she didn't see any suspicious activity.
"Actually I'm shocked. We've had excellent tenants for years," she said.
The suspects are being held on $1,000 to $5,000 bail.
Prosecutors said the human trafficking involves those who illegally immigrated to the United States. Immigration officials said the young women being held in sexual slavery may receive benefits that would allow them to stay if they cooperate with officials.
"These are victims. We want them to come forward and provide that information to us," said Bruce Foucart, U.S. Immigration and Customs special agent.