A nearly nine-month investigation into alleged prostitution at massage parlors in Bellevue has netted 55 arrests and resulted in the closure of a dozen businesses, according to Bellevue police.
This morning, police announced the recent busts of two parlors, one near Bellevue Way and Main Street, and another in the 16400 block of Northeast 8th Street. Four women were arrested for allegations ranging from investigation of massage without a license and prostitution, said Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate.
Police have been investigating massage parlors in Bellevue since November, Iafrate said. Since January, 12 businesses have been closed and 55 people have been arrested on allegations that include massage without a license, prostitution and obstruction. Iafrate did not know if any of the cases had been forwarded to prosecutors for charging nor did she release information on how long the investigation will continue.
She said that the department’s vice unit was working on the investigation part-time.
Andrew S. Muñoz, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, said that agents are assisting police with the investigation.
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“We’re looking at any possible connections to human trafficking,” he said. “We do see that massage parlors and those types of businesses often have links to human trafficking and human smuggling.”
The state Department of Health is also assisting in the investigation, police said.