BELTON, Mo. — Authorities raided two Belton businesses this week, and an Overland Park woman is now charged with prostitution as a result.
Asian Massage and Belton Massage, both off 58 Highway, are now caught in the crosshairs of a prostitution and potential human trafficking investigation. Missouri Highway Patrol started looking into both businesses after getting a tip six months ago.
“We had done some undercover work,” said Sgt. Bill Lowe with Missouri Highway Patrol. “We did some surveillance. We continued following up on any kind of lead we could follow up on.”
Businesses that neighbor each of the massage parlors told FOX4 they long suspected illegal activity after seeing men park far away and walk into the businesses and a slew of women coming and going at all hours.
“It’s a huge issue because you’re dealing with the possibility of people engaging in this activity that are bringing people in that are being trafficked, and they’re doing these things against their will,” Lowe said.
This week, Highway Patrol, local police and the feds raided the two massage parlors, pulling stacks of documents. They found 44-year-old Shaungshaung Lin exiting a massage room.
“We were able to speak to a number of people just to get an overall picture of what is going on,” Lowe said.
Court records say one man admitted Lin had been performing a sex act on him. Tests found evidence of semen. Three other clients all identified Lin as their masseuse and told investigators she “grabbed” their genitals.
One man said the staff was “friendly” and they’d do sex acts, “just like the Robert Kraft kind of thing.” Kraft is the owner of the New England Patriots who was caught up in a Florida massage parlor sex sting.
Shaungshaung Lin is now charged with prostitution, but was released on a signature bond and forced to surrender her passport, which was just used for travel to China two weeks ago.
While Belton Massage is closed, Asian Massage is still open for business. FOX4 went inside, looking for answers.
We were told Shaungshaung was “with a client.” A manager slammed a door shut and told a young woman to ask us to leave.
Missouri State Highway Patrol said two women who worked in the businesses are now getting victim services, and the investigation continues to determine how deep the problems run and who’s behind the operation.
“We want to make sure that we’re looking at who maybe brought these victims in,” Lowe said.
FOX4 reached out to the city of Belton to see if any disciplinary action will be taken against the businesses in light of the criminal charges.
The city manager said they’re working closely with investigators and determining next steps. The city’s begun the administrative process necessary to potentially revoke the business licenses.
Neighboring businesses said the massage parlors have changed hands several times. They worry if something’s not done soon, the problems may continue.