Following an undercover operation, Brookhaven police have arrested six people at three massage parlor locations in the city.
The Brookhaven Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations conducted undercover operations on July 22 at three Brookhaven locations, according to a BPD press release. HSI is a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, as well as the primary investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. HSI is concerned primarily with transnational crimes.
In total, police charged two people with prostitution, one person with “keeping a place of prostitution,” and one person with “operating without a license to massage.” Police charged a fifth person with both keeping a place of prostitution and operating without a license, and a sixth person with prostitution and operating without a license. All the massage parlors were located on Buford Highway. Police did not identify anyone arrested, but did confirm that all six were massage parlor employees.
The undercover operation stemmed from “community complaints,” according to the press release. BPD spokesperson Lt. David Snively said he could not provide more information about the complaints because they could be used as part of the prosecution for the case.
Police say one of the goals of the investigation was to “identify and rescue victims of sex trafficking.” Snively said after going over evidence, investigators determined that none of the cases involved victims of sex trafficking.
Snively said immigration enforcement – which ICE is commonly known for – was not a component of this case, and that BPD worked with their child exploitation and human smuggling and trafficking units.