Law enforcement cracking down on prostitution - - The News for South Mississippi

Law enforcement cracking down on prostitution

Leaders say the crackdown should serve as warning to others. (Photo source: WLOX News) Leaders say the crackdown should serve as warning to others. (Photo source: WLOX News)

A crackdown on prostitution will continue in Jackson County, and Sheriff Mike Ezell says the closing of a St. Martin massage parlor should serve as a warning to others.  

The massage parlor authorities say was the front for an elaborate prostitution ring, is located in a retail center just off busy Washington Avenue; practically across the street from the Jackson County Justice Court.

“People don't want this kind of thing in their neighborhood, and we don't want it in our county. And so, we're putting pressure on them every opportunity we get,” said Ezell.

Citizen complaints sparked the investigation into the massage parlor spa.

Law enforcement shut down the business and found, what they say, was an operation that involved human trafficking.

“You get these gals from who knows where. They have no means. They don't know anybody, and they end up in that environment and they're stuck. Who are they going to tell? And it's a bad situation,” added Ezell.

An FBI agent who helped investigate the former Triple-7 spa says the evidence in the case includes interviews with five former customers, along with dozens of online reviews from customers who say they received sex acts for money and describe how much each one costs.

“Anywhere there is the demand, and you have the supply, you're going to have the problem. It's as simple as that,” said Lt. Aldon Helmert with the Biloxi Police Department.

Helmert investigates narcotics and vice for the Biloxi special crime unit, and says prostitution almost always involves other crime; especially narcotics.

“One of the things we have seen is it goes hand in hand with the desire or the need to acquire drugs. So, of course the money is the principal thing the people are looking for,” said Helmert.

And though police can crackdown on occasion, realistically, there's no chance of eliminating the so-called "world's oldest profession".

“All we can do is try to control it and try to ensure that people are not victimized, especially through any sort of physical violence,” said Helmert.

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