CRESTWOOD, Mo. – The Missouri attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a massage business in Crestwood for allegedly being an illicit spa business.
Royal Day Spa sits back in a strip mall off Watson Road. Surrounded by mostly closed businesses, Royal Day Spa’s blinds are always closed and the curtains are drawn, and soon it could be dark for good.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit alleging the spa is a public nuisance because prostitution is taking place on the premises.
“People enter the business, get a massage, and then sexual activity takes place. And people are getting paid for that, which is illegal,” Schmitt said.
This is all part of Schmitt’s “Hope Initiative” which is an ongoing effort to close illicit massage businesses.
Schmitt said typically these businesses are fronts for human trafficking. He described human trafficking as a dark underworld where people who are particularly vulnerable are exploited. He said typically the victims are coming from Asian countries, promised a lot of things when they come over, and then find themselves in a lot of debt and the only way they can come out from under it is to work in these kinds of businesses.
Schmitt hopes to disrupt the business model of human trafficking by shutting down illicit spas.
Schmitt said human trafficking doesn’t just happen in Hollywood movies. It’s everywhere, he says, and there are certain things the public can look for to help his task force find these businesses.
“They are often times in strip malls, there are no open windows, there are blinds, to enter the facility you have to go through the side or the back, you have to buzz your way in, and sometimes people might be living there,” he said.
If you see something suspicious, you can send a tip to Schmitt’s office.
FOX 2 reached out to the manager of Royal Day Spa, but she said she didn’t know anything about the lawsuit.