Spa Raid

Law enforcement agents with the Vermont Secretary of State's Office, which regulates massage parlors in the state, wait outside of Rainbow Therapeutic Spa on Putney Road. A clerk at a nearby business told the Reformer a number of agents left with a woman a little before 2 p.m. 

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BRATTLEBORO — An investigation into human trafficking at a local massage parlor resulted in a raid Wednesday conducted by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Shriver confirmed at 5 p.m. that a search warrant was executed at the Rainbow Therapeutic Spa on Putney Road following a lengthy, multi-agency investigation into human trafficking.

“The focus of the investigation has been on human trafficking, while other crimes may have been committed on the premises,” she told the Reformer.

“Throughout the investigation, there have been no signs that the female employees ever leave the business,” wrote Vermont State Police Detective Lieutenant Michael Studin in a 32-page affidavit submitted in support of an application for a search warrant. “There have been no signs of the females coming or going from the business during both in-person and video surveillance. It is believed that the females who work inside the business also live and sleep inside the building and that they do not have the freedom to come and go as they please.”

Beginning in April, local, state and federal law enforcement conducted video surveillance of Rainbow Therapeutic Spa on Putney Road in Brattleboro.

The surveillance “yielded a high number of males entering and exiting the business,” wrote Studin.

“As a result of the surveillance details, 10 males were identified and admitted to paying for sex acts within the spa,” wrote Studin in the affiavit. “Those males provided a sworn audio-recorded statement detailing the sex acts that they received.”

The men came from all over the tri-state region, including Northampton, Winchendon and Belchertown, Mass., Keene, Swanzey and Winchester, N.H., and, here in Vermont, Brattleboro and Dummerston. Two of them came from as far away as Schuylerville, N.Y., and Clearwater, Florida.

“The process for the massage and the sex acts was consistent with each of the males that were interviewed,” wrote Studin. “They would enter the business, either by walk-in or appointment, and they would be greeted by an older Asian female who would open the door an collect $80 for a massage.”

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Following the massage, he wrote, a masseuse would “offer them the option of receiving sex acts” for an additional fee.

The affidavit includes 10 pages of posts to a website where men posted and rated their experiences at the massage parlor.

The affidavit also notes that the Therapeutic Rainbow Spa was being operated by Kwang Nam Kim, the son of a woman who was arrested in 2015 in Mobile, Alabama, for running a similar illegal operation.

At the time this article went to the printer, the Vermont State Police had not issued a press release nor indicated whether Kim was arrested and cited.

“Based upon the investigation, it appears that the same activities of harboring unlawfully present female nationals of Asian descent who perform sex acts on patrons in exchange for monetary payment as well as harboring the females in makeshift living quarters inside the business, that occurred at Ocean Sauna are occurring at the Rainbow Therapeutic Spa.”

Shriver said that at this time no charges are being contemplated for any of the workers at the spa.

“They are being interviewed and offered supportive services,” she said.

Shriver told the Reformer she could not answer at this time whether any of the men identified during the investigation will be charged as a result of their activities.

The investigation was conducted by the Vermont State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, the Brattleboro Police Department and the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation.

Bob Audette can be contacted at raudette@reformer.com.