Tracking the sex trade: Massage parlor sting

Massage parlors are found in strip malls across Long Island, but police say that inside many of them, more than just massages are being offered.

A Hicksville massage parlor where members of the Nassau PD Vice Squad carried out an undercover prostitution sting.

A Hicksville massage parlor where members of the Nassau PD Vice Squad carried out an undercover prostitution sting. (4/16/13)

HICKSVILLE - Massage parlors are found in strip malls across Long Island, but police say that inside many of them, more than just massages are being offered.

The signs outside offer everything from acupuncture therapy to foot massages, and their advertisements are often colorful and creative. Behind closed doors, however, police say that women often offer sex acts to the customers that come in.

News 12 Long Island's Erin Colton went along with the Nassau County Police Department Vice Squad as they carried out undercover stings at illegal massage parlors. Investigators found a parlor in Hicksville that advertised its services on the often seedy website Backpage.com.

An undercover officer who could communicate with his partners through a hidden device entered the Hicksville parlor, and about 30 minutes after he went inside, he says an offer was made for something more than a massage. The officer quietly described the woman to his partners, who swooped in to make the arrest.

A similar undercover sting played out at A & A Studio in Williston Park, where detectives arrested two more women on prostitution charges. Community complaints had prompted the sting, police say.

Investigators say that the women charged in such stings often say they are trying to pay off a debt, or that they were brought to the U.S. by a sponsor. No matter what their motiviations, police say that such activity is illegal and often offensive to residents in the surrounding community.

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