A months-long prostitution ring in Florida that involved several spas has been brought to an end.
On Wednesday, Florida and Panama City officials announced the results of their investigation into a 6-month old prostitution scheme. “Over the past months, we have become aware of human trafficking issues that have been taking place inside our cities and county involving massage parlors,” said Panama City Police Department Interim Chief Mark Smith during a news conference.
“We had folks that were actually going to these looking and seeking a legitimate massage and came out feeling there was human trafficking going on inside the business,” continued Smith.
The locations Smith is referring to include six local spas: Da Cozy Spa, Panama Beach Spa, Lili’s Spa and Massage, Oasis Massage and Spa, Blossom Massage and John Spa, WJHG 7 reports. The businesses and some of its workers and owners are now facing prostitution charges. “Following these search warrants we have taken into custody numerous individuals,” said Smith. Others have been detained for questioning only as officials seek to determine who was a victim of human trafficking and who willingly involved themselves as adults.
The shutdown of the ring was a collaborative effort between the Panama City Police Department, Panama City Beach Police Department, Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Department of Health, and the state of Florida’s attorney’s office.