Investigators: Massage parlor a front for alleged sex trade - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Investigators: Massage parlor a front for alleged sex trade

Business manager Yeon Sook Hwang of money laundering and transporting women from various states to Mississippi for the purpose of prostitution. (Photo source: WLOX News) Business manager Yeon Sook Hwang of money laundering and transporting women from various states to Mississippi for the purpose of prostitution. (Photo source: WLOX News)
ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) -

Jackson County law enforcers posted a "closed" sign Friday afternoon at JJ Spa & Massage.

The DA used a "public nuisance" civil proceeding to close the business on Washington Avenue in St. Martin, where investigators uncovered evidence of the sex trade.

“This is more than just a prostitution ring. This is organized criminal activity. This is indentured servitude. This is the enslavement of people. And it's just wrong,” said District Attorney Tony Lawrence.

Authorities allege that several Korean women lived at the business, and also worked as prostitutes. Investigators found online accounts of the sex acts that allegedly occurred at the spa.

A six-count federal indictment accuses business manager Yeon Sook Hwang of money laundering and transporting women from various states to Mississippi for the purpose of prostitution.

“There will be state charges filed as early as Monday with regard to promoting prostitution, and that charge can carry up to a 20 year penalty,” said Lawrence.

An affidavit from the lead investigator says when that police raided the spa, they found a naked man and a woman in the process of undressing.

Officials also reportedly found numerous condoms, other sex related items, phone numbers and client lists. Lawrence says he believes the "organized criminal activity" to be the enslavement of individuals. 

“I chose the words organized criminal activity for a reason. That's exactly what this operation was about. And I can tell you, if we find it in any other business in Jackson County, the same result is going to happen,” said Lawrence

A temporary restraining order was signed Friday by Judge Jaye Bradley allowing authorities to close the business based on that civil nuisance complaint. A hearing on that is set for Nov. 30.

“We're just not going to stand for this. And we mean what we say when we get after somebody like this, we'll find you. It might take us a little while, but we're going to find you,” said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell.

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