For Immediate Release - October 19, 2012

Operators of Massage Parlors in Wellesley and Revere Arraigned in Connection with Human Trafficking, Prostitution

BOSTON – The operators of two massage parlors, one in Wellesley and the other in Revere, have been arraigned in connection with human trafficking and prostitution, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Joseph Girouard, 55, of Revere, and Wenjie Dong, 49, of Malden, were arraigned this morning in Chelsea District Court each on one count each of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude and Keeping a House of Ill Fame. At the arraignment, both Girouard and Dong entered pleas of not guilty. Judge Benjamin Barnes set bail at $5,000 for Girouard and at $1,000 for Dong, with the conditions that the defendants stay away from both massage parlor locations and have no contact with each other. Judge Barnes also ordered Dong to surrender her passport. 

Zhen Lai, 37, of Quincy, was arraigned this afternoon in Dedham District Court on one count each of Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude and Conspiracy to Traffic in Persons for Sexual Servitude. At the arraignment, Lai pleaded not guilty. Judge Robert Ziemian set bail at $2,000 for Lai, with the conditions that she stay away from both massage parlor locations, have no contact with employees of the massage parlors, and that she surrender her passport.

Lai, Girouard, and Dong were arrested yesterday without incident by State Police assigned to the AG’s Office and agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from local police departments. Lai was arrested in Quincy, Girouard was arrested in Somerville, and Dong was arrested in Malden.

The arrests and arraignments are the result of an investigation by State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with agents from HSI and officers from the Wellesley Police Department, into allegations of human trafficking and prostitution at Sun Spa, also known as Sun Studio, in Wellesley and Bodywork in Revere. Authorities allege that Lai, Girouard, and Dong operated the massage parlors. During the course of the investigation, authorities developed evidence indicating that these massage parlors were allegedly offering sexual activity between masseuses employed by Lai, Girouard, and Dong and their clients in exchange for cash that was characterized as “tips.”  Investigation also revealed that the two spas we advertised on websites known to advertise prostitution.

On Thursday, State Police officers assigned to the AG’s Office, HSI agents, and local law enforcement officers executed search warrants at the two massage parlors. Following the execution of the search warrants, the defendants were arrested. Girouard and Dong were arraigned today in Chelsea District Court. They are due back in court on November 14 for a probable cause hearing. Lai was arraigned today in Dedham District Court and is due back in court on November 19 for a probable cause hearing.

These arrests and arraignments are part of the AG’s second human trafficking case under the new human trafficking law in Massachusetts, which went into effect on February 19. 

The investigation remains ongoing. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Deb Bercovitch, who handles human trafficking prosecutions within the AG’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division, with assistance from Investigator Taylor Glynn of AG Coakley’s Financial Investigations Division. Assistant Attorney General Pat Hanley of AG’s Enterprise and Major Crimes Division handled the arraignment of Lai today in Dedham District Court. Victim Witness Advocate Nikki Antonucci of the AG’s Victim Services Division is also assisting in the case. The investigation was conducted by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation, and investigators from AG Coakley’s Computer Forensics Lab.  Boston, Wellesley, Revere, Quincy, Kingston, and Malden Police Departments also assisted in the case.

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