Two Extensive Human Trafficking Operations Dismantled in Major Multistate Takedown
Victims were Allegedly Transported from New York and Trafficked in Multiple Communities Including Northampton, Hadley, Framingham, East Longmeadow, and Agawam
BOSTON – Two extensive human trafficking operations have been dismantled in a major multistate law enforcement takedown led by Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office.
Four individuals were arrested and ten victims were identified during the operation. The victims were allegedly transported from New York and trafficked for commercial sex in “massage parlors” in multiple Massachusetts communities including Northampton, Hadley, Framingham, East Longmeadow and Agawam.
“Human trafficking is happening right here in our own communities across the state,” said AG Healey. “It is an egregious crime that victimizes vulnerable people, while traffickers profit. This is about the exploitation of human beings and my office will continue to prosecute these cases to hold traffickers and sex buyers accountable. We thank all of our law enforcement partners who assisted us in this major operation.”
Today, law enforcement authorities, including local, state and federal agencies from both Massachusetts and New York orchestrated the takedown.
Feng Ling Liu, age 50, her husband Jian Song, age 48, both of Sunderland, and her daughter, Ting Ting Yin, age 26, of New Hyde Park, N.Y., were all arrested today in connection with trafficking women between New Hyde Park, N.Y. and locations in Hadley, East Longmeadow, and Framingham.
Shuzi Li, age 52, of West Springfield, was arrested in connection with trafficking women between Flushing in Queens, N.Y. and her businesses in Northampton and Agawam.
These charges are the result of a months-long joint investigation by the AG’s Office, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, and the Northampton Police Department, with the assistance of various other local and federal law enforcement agencies, including agencies in New York.
“We are proud of the investigation by the Northwestern District Anti-Crime Task Force in helping dismantle these two human trafficking operations,” said Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan. “The sexual exploitation and servitude of the victims in these operations is deplorable. We are grateful for the resources and expertise of Attorney General Healey’s Human Trafficking Division in this investigation. This major investigation could not have been accomplished without the special commitment made by the Northampton Police Department under the command of Chief Jody Kasper and the case agent Detective Peter Fappiano.”
“These are difficult cases for all involved. We are pleased that we were able to collaborate with so many partners within the criminal justice system who were committed to addressing the complex matter of human trafficking,” said Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper. “Everyone involved worked diligently to ensure that this months-long investigation was completed thoroughly and thoughtfully so that the victims would be removed from these environments and that the parties responsible for these egregious offenses would be held accountable for their actions.”
During the course of the investigation, authorities developed evidence indicating that Li and Liu were the leaders of two separate but similar operations, running profitable and organized criminal enterprises through “massage parlors” that had been set up as fronts for human trafficking. Through these businesses, Li and Liu allegedly offered sexual activity between women and buyers in exchange for a fee.
Ten victims were identified during this operation. AG Healey’s Victim Services Division is working with victim service organizations to ensure victims have the assistance and services they need.
Feng Ling Liu/Jian Song/Ting Ting Yin
Authorities allege that Liu, with help from Song, allegedly operated Hadley Massage Therapy in Hadley, Feng Health Center in East Longmeadow and Massage Body Work in Framingham. She allegedly portrayed these businesses as massage parlors while they were in fact fronts for an extensive human trafficking operation.
Authorities allege that Yin helped to coordinate the transport of women to Massachusetts from New Hyde Park, N.Y.
According to investigators, Liu, with help from Song, managed the financial and day-to-day aspects of the operations including recruiting women, advertising sexual services online, setting up appointments for sexual encounters, and transporting women. Liu and Song allegedly received the majority of the profits from these sexual encounters. Liu arranged for most of the women to stay in the same buildings where they were trafficked.
Liu and Song were arrested in Sunderland by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, with assistance from the Sunderland Police Department, after search warrants were executed at the Massachusetts business locations and their residence in Sunderland.
They are scheduled to be arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown tomorrow in the morning session beginning at 9 a.m. on the charges of Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude, Deriving Support from Prostitution, Money Laundering and Conspiracy.
Yin was arrested in New Hyde Park by authorities from the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office on the charges of Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude, Deriving Support from Prostitution, Money Laundering and Conspiracy. Massachusetts authorities executed search warrants at a residential unit and two other massage parlors in New Hyde Park, N.Y. that are allegedly involved in the operation.
A rendition hearing for Yin will be scheduled at later date.
During the course of the investigation, authorities also developed evidence that Li was running a separate but similar operation between Flushing, Queens and her businesses, Pine Spa NoHo in Northampton and Agawam Massage Therapy in Agawam.
Like Liu, Li allegedly recruited women, advertised sexual services online, set up appointments for sexual encounters, and arranged for transportation for the women. The women allegedly stayed in the same rooms where Li arranged for them to provide sexual services to buyers for a fee. Authorities allege that Li typically received the majority of the profits from these sexual encounters.
Li was arrested in West Springfield by Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, with assistance from West Springfield Police Department, after search warrants were executed at her businesses and her residence in West Springfield.
Li is scheduled to be arraigned in Northampton District Court tomorrow in the morning session beginning at 9 a.m. on the charges of Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude, Deriving Support from Prostitution, and Money Laundering.
These investigations remain ongoing. These charges are allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
AG Healey has a dedicated Human Trafficking Division that focuses on policy, prevention and prosecution and includes a team of specialized prosecutors, victim advocates and Massachusetts State Police troopers who handle high impact, multi-jurisdictional human trafficking investigations and prosecutions across the state. Through the Human Trafficking Division, the AG’s Office has charged nearly 30 individuals in connection with human trafficking since the law was passed.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bourgeois, of AG Healey’s Human Trafficking Division, Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Vasiliades, of the AG’s Western Massachusetts Office and Criminal Bureau and Special Assistant Attorney General Jeremey Bucci, Chief Trial Counsel of the Northwestern DA’s Office, with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, Senior Financial Investigator Eugene Griffin and Victim Witness Advocate Rebecca Auld, Director of the AG’s Victim Services Division.
The Northwestern, Hampden, and Middlesex District Attorney’s Offices and the Northampton, Framingham, Sunderland, Hadley, East Longmeadow, Agawam, West Springfield, Greenfield, Malden, Belmont, Amherst, Easthampton and Lexington Police Departments also assisted in the investigation, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department and the Hampden State Police Detective Unit.
Federal agencies including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security also offered assistance.
New York authorities also assisted in the investigation and operation including the Nassau County DA’s Office, the Queens DA’s Office, the Manhattan DA’s Office, and the New York Police Department.