Police raid local massage business, allege women were lured into sexual services
Published Thursday, January 30, 2020 12:24PM CST Last Updated Thursday, January 30, 2020 12:35PM CST
WINNIPEG -- Two people are facing a handful of charges after police searched a local massage business.
On Dec. 19, the counter exploitation unit started an investigation looking into allegations of sexual exploitation at a massage business in the 800 block of Notre Dame Avenue.
The unit was able to gather evidence from past and future employees, and on Jan. 26 investigators received a search warrant for the business.
On Jan. 28, the counter exploitation unit along with central district general patrol went to the business and executed the search warrant and arrested two people.
At a press conference on Thursday, Sgt. Rick McDougall of the counter exploitation unit alleged women were being lured to the company looking through online postings for a job.
"These job opportunities were advertised as basic building services, receptionist. Once they were hired, they were told that they were expected, first of all to provide massages -- which they weren't experienced or qualified to perform -- and in addition to be operating sexual services," McDougall alleged.
He added, while police became beware of the situation in December, investigators believe it started in the summer of 2019.
A 48-year-old man was arrested for three counts of material benefit from sexual services, possessing proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5,000 and four counts of procuring a person to provide sexual services.
A 41-year-old woman was also arrested for advertising sexual services, assault, three counts of material benefit from sexual services, possessing proceeds of property obtained by crime under $5,000 and four counts of procuring a person to provide sexual services.
Police said both people have been released on a promise to appear. The reason for the two peoples arrests have not been tested in court.
McDougall said so far four victims have come forward, but police are asking anyone in the public to come forward if they feel they have been a victim of this type of exploitation. People can call police or Crime Stoppers at 204.786.8477.
Police are also encouraging people visit the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba to look for a registered massage therapist before making an appointment.