Police check of Ooh La La Massage parlor nets 5 arrests
Officers arrest woman operating massage business in Hialeah since 2013
HIALEAH, Fla. – When Hialeah Police Department officers walked inside the Ooh La La Massage parlor near Miami Lakes, officers reported a 21-year-old woman rushed frantically out of a room.
She ran toward the back door of the business, steps away from the Kids Palace Day Care Center, but not before warning others.
"Run! Run! The police," she shouted in Spanish, according to the arrest form.
Inside the room she had ran out from, officers reported finding a naked man and a used condom. An officer caught up to her and four others -- including a teenage girl who said she was from California.
The naked man at the massage parlor wasn't arrested, and officers didn't mention if the used condom was an indication that the massage parlor was a front for prostitution, or if the teen claiming to be from California was a victim of human trafficking.
The officers reported they were there Thursday to conduct an occupational license check. The advertisements for the business offered Thai, Swedish and Shiatsu massages, but officers said that none of the people there had a license to show that they had training.
A woman who was arrested told police officers Thursday that Sun Xi Xiu, 52, was running the business and she had promised to help her get a license, so aside from providing massages, she said she was also cleaning and washing sheets and towels.
Florida records show Xi Xiu has owned Healthcare Massage and operated the business in Hialeah since 2013 when she had a phone number with a 718 area code from New York City.
Experts in Chinese criminal operations in the U.S. say the use of Asian massage parlors, or AMPs, as fronts for prostitution and money laundering first proliferated in New York City and over the last three decades the modus operandi has taken root nationwide.
Records show Miami-Dade Corrections booked Xi Xiu Friday on a charge of performing massage therapy without a license.
About five years ago, Xi Xiu's business was first registered to 555 E. 25 St., in Hialeah, until 2016 when records show the address of the principal place of business changed to 2350 W. 84 St., #14, at the Callaway Park Business Center. Aside from the day care, the plaza also leases space to the Imagen Spa and a martial arts studio where children take classes.
Polaris, best known for operating the National Human Trafficking Hotline, is among the non-governmental organizations advocating for tougher civil laws and heightened enforcement at massage establishments, but they worry about the criminalization of survivors of sex and labor trafficking.
The others working with Xi Xiu -- including the teen who turns 19 Monday -- were also arrested Thursday and were also booked at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center Friday afternoon. They were facing charges of practicing a health care profession without a license and massage practice without a license. In addition, the two who tried to get away faced a charge of resisting arrest without violence.
AWARENESS CAMPAIGN: Polaris
Copyright 2018 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.