A massage parlor with an all-female, Chinese immigrant staff operating as a “house of prostitution” in Maryland was shut down after an undercover investigation that lasted four months.
Emily Zhang Lawrence, 47, owner of Reflexology Spa, also known as Rose’s Spa, faces 41 years in prison for a number of criminal charges, including human trafficking and prostitution.
The investigation began in February when an anonymous tipster reported that the spa, located in Rockville, was offering sexual services to male customers.
The establishment also employed female Chinese immigrants from Flushing, New York as masseuses, the tipster added.
Undercover detectives spotted a female driver and six female passengers exiting a maroon Honda Odyssey that pulled into the spa’s parking lot.
After running the vehicle’s license plate number, investigators produced Zhang Lawrence’s name.
Following the approval of a search warrant, police placed a GPS tracker on the vehicle and discovered a daily route pattern.
Each morning, Zhang Lawrence would leave her home in Germantown, stop at a condo on Gunners Branch Road and head to the spa in Rockville — before driving the route in reverse after the spa closed at 9 p.m. each night.
Police claimed that the condo — one of Zhang Lawrence’s properties — served as a dormitory for the trafficked women.
Between March 1 and July 19, detectives interviewed 60 male customers leaving the spa, with 18 confessing to pay for “some sort of illicit sex act.”
Zhang Lawrence, who was born in China, is a divorced mother of two. She was arrested on July 24 for running her “house of prostitution.”
“The spa is posing as a normal business but acting as a ‘house of prostitution,’” police wrote in court documents, according to ABC7. “Emily Zhang Lawrence collects money for those illicit acts while owning/operating the spa. She has provided lodging and transportation for the workers, likely victims of human trafficking who are committing those illicit sex acts, for the entirety of the investigation. Zhang Lawrence also uses the condo unit at Gunners Branch Road, which she own, to harbor the Asian female workers at the spa.”
Zhang Lawrence, however, was released on July 25 on a $7,500 bond. A trial is scheduled Aug. 30, WTOP noted.