BELLEVUE, Wash. - Sheriff's detectives arrested four women Thursday during raids at Puget Sound massage parlors that they say served as fronts for prostitution.
The massage parlors are located in residential neighborhoods in SeaTac, Kirkland and Bellevue. Police believe they have common owners and employees.
King County authorities say they were tipped off by federal immigration officials, who believed some of the young girls working as prostitutes may have been part of a human trafficking operation.
Neighbors say the women fit right in, except they had plenty of visitors.
"They were using where they were living as a quote-unquote massage parlor, but was nothing more than a front for prostitution," Sergeant John Urquhart said.
The women arrested range in age from 28 to 51. They were booked on various charges, including promoting prostitution and money laundering. Police say more arrests are expected.
While no customers were taken into custody, detectives have seized the business records from each massage parlor.
Customers who can be identified from the records will be contacted by detectives, and police say charges are possible.
Bellevue resident Megan Dale lives next to one of the homes that was raided. She said at first she didn't think much about the single woman who lived there. But then, her neighbor started getting frequent visitors.
"We just saw several older men that we'd never seen before," Dale said. "They would come at all times of the day and knock on her door."
The four massage parlors raided this week are:
Miracle Spa, located at 3312 S. 192nd in SeaTac
Royal Spa, located at 16407 Lake Hills Boulevard in Bellevue
The Chada Thai Bodywords, at 10448 NE 29th in Belleuve
Lisa Thai Massage, 1942 Market Street in Kirkland.
No arrests were made at the Kirkland location.