SANTA BARBARA COUNTY — Occasionally, the world’s oldest profession branches out into ancillary business enterprises as a way of promoting the services for which is traditionally known.
Evidence of that came earlier this month, when, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, the SBSD “received anonymous information that a massage business in Orcutt was engaged in prostitution.”
Using their skills as online researchers, detectives with the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Bureau promptly jumped onto the internet and quickly determined that the “Relax Station Spa” was an active advertiser on www.backpage.com, “a website used primarily for prostitution-related activities.”
Within hours detectives were conducting “an undercover operation” and came to the conclusion that “Relax Station Spa” was engaged in activities far beyond those of providing mere relaxation to customers.
With sufficient evidence of prostitution ongoing at the Orcutt location, SBSD patrol deputies, investigators from the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Bureau, and an agent attached to Homeland Security Investigations presented a search warrant at the massage parlor and found 38-year-old Jinfeng Xu and 43-year-old Yaqing Yu manning the store.
Both women, Chinese nationals who are recent arrivals in the Orcutt area were taken into custody and transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where they were booked on charges of solicitation of prostitution.
In her media report, Hoover indicated that operations like “Relax Station Spa” are frequently using indentured women who are forced into the sex trade against their will. Members of the public with any information regarding such activities are encouraged to “help minimize the amount of human trafficking taking place” by calling the SBSD Anonymous Tip Line at (805) 681-4150.
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking