7/11/13

Local Massage Parlor Sweep Nets 19

At a joint press conference today, Brooklyn District Attorney Charlie Hynes, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and City Council Member Vinnie Gentile announced the arrest of 19 people allegedly engaged in promoting prostitution at a dozen illegal "massage parlors" in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

The sweep resulted from a joint year-long undercover operation by the Brooklyn DA's Special Investigations Unit and the NYPD Brooklyn South Vice Unit in response to community tips and complaints to the Brooklyn DA's office, Council Member Gentile and Community Board 10.

Gentile, a former Queens prosecutor, called the businesses fronting for the alleged brothels "an embarassment" and "a scourge on our neighborhoods".

It is unknown how many of the 19 arrested were victims of sex trafficking or what the disposition of their cases will be.

Departing CB 10 chair and State Committeewoman Joanne Seminara won praise from the Bay Ridge Democrats, the political club she helped found, for the role she and District Manager Josephine Beckmann played in bringing about the investigation -- and for highlighting the fact that the illegal massage parlor trade typically involves women trafficked for sex.

More from the New York Post, which reports that 16 of those arrested were Asian women and three were owners.

More from the Daily News, which reports that all the women gave the same story to the police, indicating that the businesses may be related.

More from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which characterizes the alleged sex workers as aggressively seeking business on the street.

More from Bensonhurst Bean, stressing that sex parlors aren't just proliferating Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

More from the Wall Street Journal, which reports that the alleged brothels were marketing sex workers online.

Video from Eyewitness News 7.

More from Brooklyn Daily:  no johns or landlords were arrested.

More from the New York Post.  Dozens of building code violations were found in the buildings where the parlors were located.

Video from NBC 4 New York.

More coverage from PIX 11, including video and photos of each of the storefront businesses closed in the operation.

The investigation is ongoing [Brooklyn Eagle.]

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