A prostitution sting in Terre Haute leads to four arrests and this may only be the beginning.
Police arrested four Chinese women on misdemeanor prostitution charges after raids at three Terre Haute businesses. The women told officials they are citizens, officials are still checking that out.
The businesses in question are located at 1424 South Third, 4312 South 7th and 500 East Springhill. All three properties are now shut down.
A tip to the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department launched an 11 month investigation. Three massage parlors in Terre Haute were hiding their true agendas.
“Some businesses here in town were actually a front for prostitution businesses,” Chief Deputy John Moats said.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Detective Michael Ellsworth, a concerned wife showed detectives a website soliciting prostitution.
That’s when outside surveillance began, and deputies doubled as confidential informants.
“With those transactions happening inside the building, those were video/audio recorded. That’s how we sort of retained our information on what was going on,” Ellsworth said.
This spot along south 7th street actually received the initial tip which lead to the investigation, a woman showed deputies this business’ additional website, which listed that men were still accepted past midnight. Here’s another spot along 500 east Springhill. Deputies tell us that the four women would rotate between the three spots depending on client requests.
Although it was a lengthy investigation, it didn’t move along any quicker after arrests.
None of the women speak English.
“We used an interpreter for 8 hours yesterday,” Chief Moats said.
An Indiana State University professor provided the communication link. Also, the main concern remains unanswered. Is it trafficking?
“None of the ladies will give us any information on that. They’re denying everything, but obviously that’s a concern of ours, and we will continue that portion of our investigation,” Chief Moats said.
We also heard from the Vigo County prosecutor’s office today that HIV safety is not a primary concern with the investigation. Detectives say there were sex acts, but no oral sex or intercourse.
Investigators say, they only looked into these three locations. They do not believe this prostitution ring is related to previous massage parlor arrests in Terre Haute.