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Three people are being charged with using massage parlors in Burlington, Needham, Revere, and Wellesley as fronts for a prostitution business.
55-year-old Joseph Girouard, 49-year-old Wenjie Dong, and 37-year-old Zhen Lai were arrested in connection to human trafficking and prostitution, said Attorney General Martha Coakley. All three were arrested on Thursday night.
Assistant Attorney General Deb Bercovitch told Judge Benjamin Barns that Girouard and Lai brought women between the four businesses. Dong allegedly managed the Revere spa and used craigslist.org to post advertisements. NECN.com said the craigslist advertisements offered “gentle touch Swedish massage.”
Bercovitch said, “We allege that those individuals ran…massage parlors that were thinly veiled fronts for prostitution. Further [Lai and Girouard] allegedly profited from sexual services provided to clients by women they employed.”
Lai and Girouard are being charged with Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude and Keeping a House of Ill Fame.
It is unclear what Dong is being charged with but Bercovitch said, “She did tell law enforcement during that interview she knew that what are also known as ‘happy ending massages’…as being offered at that location by employees of the spa.”
In March, Wellesley Police were tipped off that allegedly a spa in town was a front for prostitution.
Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham told Boston Globe reporters, “It became apparent that it may be more of a human trafficking case,” saying that Girouard and Lai “transport[ed] Asian females to work at the spas” and engage in “sexual conduct for a fee.”
Dong’s husband posted her $1,000 cash bail and she was released.
Richard Barrett, Girouard’s attorney said to the Boston Globe that he was unable to post bail, which was $5000 cash.
In Dedham District Court, Lai’s arraignment will be held on Friday.
Both Dong and Girouard will return to court on November 14.