Two women were rescued from a massage parlor on Lake Air Drive on Wednesday morning in connection to an ongoing human trafficking investigation, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.
Investigators raided a business at 813 Lake Air Drive at 9 a.m. after a monthslong investigation that started when officials saw sexually explicit ads for a business called S.F. Massage, he said.
"There were two Chinese females inside that were obviously being trafficked," McNamara said. "They had no vehicles and they could not speak English. These two women were determined to be victims, not offenders."
Both women, described as middle-aged, were offered resources through UnBound, a nonprofit that raises public awareness and provides services to trafficking victims. No arrests were made Wednesday, but McNamara said the investigation remains ongoing.
"The interesting thing is, a couple months ago we raided another massage parlor at 713 Lake Air Drive," McNamara said. "Today's raid is not connected to that operation at all, but it is strange to think you would have two brothels being operated on Lake Air Drive just a block away from each other."
In late January, investigators raided TuiNa House, 713 Lake Air Drive, and arrested proprietor Chun Yang Zhang, then 47, on a trafficking of persons charge. Before her arrest, Zhang had picked up a woman in Austin who later told investigators Zhang had forced her to live at the business and to engage in sex acts for money Zhang would keep, officials said a the time.
Zhang was also arrested late last year on a felony engaging in organized criminal activity charge when investigators raided massage parlors at 2625 W. Waco Drive and 2509 Washington Ave. Detectives uncovered hundreds of videos of men engaging in sex acts for fees and continue to work to identify the men.
Wednesday's investigation is not connected to any of the past raids, but the prevalence of massage parlors offering sex for money is unsettling, McNamara said.
"These are sad cases of women being trafficked, and it is typical of luring these Chinese women over here, putting them in massage parlors and forcing them into prostitution," McNamara said. "The (reason this keeps occurring) is plan and simple. It is the money, and it is thousands of dollars people are making off these women."
Investigators estimated one massage parlor that advertises prostitution services online can make several thousand dollars in a few days.
"I am very proud of our guys who are working overtime on these cases," McNamara said. "We are not going to let up."