On Thursday (Dec. 4), detectives from numerous federal and local agencies served simultaneous search warrants at six businesses and four residences – including five in Burien – along with unincorporated King County, Seattle, Kent and Snohomish County. This investigation started three months ago after complaints from citizens in the Burien area over activity at massage parlors in the city. Detectives were able to determine employees in these businesses were engaging acts of prostitution. Many of the workers at these businesses are exploited by the owners via excessive fees levied against them for rent and other charges. This results in the employees never being able to get out of debt to the owners, trapping them in a never-ending cycle of victimization. Burien Police Chief Scott Kimerer said his agency sees this operation as part of his department’s “commitment to some of the most vulnerable people in our community that are repeatedly exploited by human traffickers.” Five of the businesses searched were in Burien, and they will have their licenses revoked by City of Burien Code Enforcement. There were nine arrests; three of those people were booked into jail for Promoting Prostitution. We spoke with an employee of a neighboring business to one of the busted spas, and he told us he often witnessed “many late night visits from men” coming and going into the parlor on 1st Ave South. He also told us about the heavy police turnout Thursday morning, where officers were seen escorting women from the business, along with numerous boxes of what appeared to be clothing. The investigation will continue over the coming weeks, with the possibility of more arrests in the future. Charges of Promoting Prostitution are likely along with associated financial crimes.]]>