Eastern Washington Massage Parlor Linked to Suspected Sex Trafficking, Money Laundering Operation


The Eastern Silk Spa massage parlor in Richland has been used as part of a sex trafficking and money laundering operation operated out of King County, Wash., according to Richland police.

Richland's street crimes unit served a search warrant at the business at 1207 George Washington Way on Tuesday after investigating reports of possible prostitution there, said police.

The unit's investigation linked the business to the large-scale investigation in King County, according to Richland police.

Two suspects who owned businesses used in the alleged sex trafficking and money laundering operation were arrested in Bellevue and Burian, Wash. The main organized crime operation was operated out of Burian, according to police.

A total of 11 search warrants were served across the state from Richland to Marysville as part of the investigation.

Detectives rescued 23 women or girls believed to be victims of sex trafficking. Three of them were at the Richland business.

The Support Advocacy and Resource Center, or SARC, in Richland helped police by sending advocates to the business to meet with victims. They were given food, housing and other help.

The ongoing investigation is being coordinated by the King County Sheriff's Office.

In March, the owner of another Tri-Cities massage parlor was implicated in a similar raid in Washington state.

A Tacoma man suspected of sex trafficking was listed as the owner of as many as 13 massage parlors across the state, including four in Kennewick.

It was part of a 7-month investigation led by the Wenatchee-based Columbia River Drug Task Force.