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City Cites Human Trafficking Activity In Closing North Side Massage Parlor

The City of Columbus has temporarily closed a north side massage parlor, saying it was a haven for human trafficking. 

A hearing for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief is scheduled May 4 for  East Wind Massage at 6815 Flags Center Drive. Authorities launched an investigation after citizens complained about the facility. Police say 13 online ads offering sexual services for money were found between February, 2016 and November, 2017.  The investigation escalated in March when undercover officers paid cash for a massage. Investigators said the female employees were forced to perform sex acts by the people who ran the parlor.  The Human Trafficking Coalition and the Salvation Army are helping the employees. The City Attorney's office says in a news release the property owner is listed as a company registered in the state of Delaware named Flags Columbus Partners LP.  A separate limited liability company registered in Ohio, Far Eastern Health Spa, is the holder of the massage license at the premises.  William D. Cope of Grove City is listed as the president of Far Eastern Health Spa and  Lihua Qiao is identified as vice president and operator of the massage parlor.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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