Prostitution arrest seen as key in human trafficking investigation

The prostitution arrest of a Miami Twp. massage parlor worker is expected to lead to more charges in a multi-county human trafficking investigation.

The overnight Friday raid resulting in the arrest of a 33-year-old woman at Jin Massage, 2179 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, was a key development in the investigation that focuses on a regional problem, said Capt. Mike Brem of the Montgomery County RANGE Task Force.

“We would expect more things to happen in the case in the near future,” he said. “We were able to recover documents that will further our investigation.”

Brem declined to discuss many aspects of the case. But he said the arrest of parlor employee Jinxia Guo on promoting prostitution was the first in an investigation that has been “ongoing for several months” involving sex, labor and human trafficking in Montgomery County and two others that border it.

Prostitution arrests in other cases have been made this year at massage parlors in Beavercreek and Fairborn, and Kettering.

The Miami Twp. arrest followed a raid which led to unspecified items and documents being confiscated, according to the task force. How many charges Guo faces – and whether they involve sex or labor crimes – will depend on how the investigation progresses, Brem said.

Guo was released from the Montgomery County Jail on Saturday. The website for the business indicates it is open every day from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. But calls to the location Monday afternoon went unanswered.

The business has not been a source of problems for police, said Capt. John Magill of Miami Twp., which assisted in the raid. He said it is rare in the township for prostitution charges to be associated with a business.

Ohio is among 39 states rated highest in addressing human trafficking by passing laws “critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors,” according to the Polaris Project.

But the frequency with which human trafficking occurs – especially involving labor – would surprise many people, Brem said.

“I think that human trafficking in general – whether it be sex or labor – occurs more often than what people would think,” he said.

“The prostitution part – whether its Internet prostitution or someone whose walking on the street - that’s more common in the public’s eye,” he said. “I think they’re both prevalent in our area, but the sex trafficking is more in our face.”

But crimes committed in massage parlors would account for “a small portion of what really goes on in sex trafficking,” as they have been surpassed by online offenders, Brem said.

Investigations often take months and law enforcement faces significant challenges in getting convictions, he said.

It “takes a lot of manpower. It’s labor intensive,” Brem added.

“It’s time intensive for these types of investigations and there’s always language barriers and other barriers to overcome that sometimes make it difficult to prosecute a case like this.”

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