Human trafficking crackdown underway in Jackson County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Human trafficking crackdown underway in Jackson County

Officials say at least two people have been arrested at this time. (Photo source: WLOX News) Officials say at least two people have been arrested at this time. (Photo source: WLOX News)
ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) -

A St. Martin business was raided Wednesday, and evidence is being gathered in an effort to end the growing problem of human trafficking. 

JJ Spa Massages on Washington Avenue was the target. Investigators believe illegal activity has been happening under this roof for quite some time.

"Today is a result of a year or more on investigation," Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence said. "We got complaints of human trafficking in this area, in this building. And the investigation has been ongoing with several law enforcement agencies, including the feds and the sheriff's department, my office and numerous other agencies. And today's raid is a result of that activity."

Cracking down on human trafficking is time consuming, according to Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell.  

"It's a difficult thing to investigate, to get into and get enough evidence to get a search warrant, like we did here today. So it's not something that you investigate fast,” Ezell explained.

Nearby businesses owners and employees felt something wasn't right at JJ Spa Massages.  At the tattoo parlor and art gallery next door, they are breathing a sigh of relief. 

"You have your suspicions, but it really brings a bad element to the area. I'm really glad to see something being done about it," Josh Hankins said. 

And officials say they're not finished doing something about it. 

"The investigation is still on-going. There is a lot of information that has to be gleaned from what's inside this building," Lawrence said. "The biggest concern is human trafficking. We're looking at everything from prostitution to indentured service."

So far, two people have been arrested on prostitution charges, but their names have not been released while the investigation continues. Officials say more arrests could be forthcoming.

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