At least one woman picked up Tuesday in a Lafayette Parish prostitution bust is believed to be the victim of sex trafficking.
Eight people were arrested Tuesday night on counts ranging from human trafficking to operating a place of prostitution in a roundup at five massage parlors and three residences, Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber said during a news conference Wednesday.
The arrests, Garber said, followed a 17-month investigation launched in response to numerous complaints from business owners and residents.
The Lafayette massage parlors targeted by authorities include Golden Spa, 117 Industrial Parkway; Angel Massage, 1007 Kaliste Saloom Road; AA+ Massage, 292 Ridge Road, Suite 6A; Asian Spa, 1512 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Suite 1; and Harmony Zen Spa, 2848 Verot School Road, Suite 1.
Nine people were originally picked up, Garber said, but one woman said she was forced into prostitution as part of a human trafficking operation. He thanked Faith House shelter for assisting the woman and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for providing a Chinese translator.
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Xufang Ou, 33, 300 block of Guilbeau Road, Lafayette, was booked on a count of human trafficking and four counts of pandering. She is being held in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in lieu of $1 million bail on the human trafficking count and $50,000 bail on the four pandering counts.
Ou is listed in the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office corporate database as the president and registered agent for Asian Spa on East Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles.
Zhao Chen, 46, of New York, and Houqin Tang, 55, Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, were booked on counts of pandering, operating a place of prostitution and keeping a disorderly place.
Renjie Jang, 31, 3600 block of West Congress Street, Lafayette, was booked on two counts of pandering and one count of operating a place of prostitution. Pingjuan Xia, 36, 200 block of Chimney Rock, Lafayette, was booked on one count of pandering. Chang Su, no address available, was booked on counts of operating a place of prostitution and pandering.
The Sheriff's Office listed three women booked on counts of prostitution by massage, but The Advocate is withholding their names until it is clear they are not victims of human trafficking.
Investigators also seized approximately $50,000 in cash, five vehicles and jewelry, along with business records, computers and telephones.
Garber described Tuesday’s bust as the end of phase one of the investigation.
It’s unknown whether the prostitution ring is associated with another Asian massage parlor prostitution ring broken up in 2014, he said.
According to an Aug. 31, 2014, Advocate story, seven Asian massage parlors were raided the prior week along with parlors in Lake Charles and Bossier City that were part of a human trafficking network with international reach.
Although it’s unclear if there is any relationship, one of the massage parlors raided in 2014 has a different name but the same address as one raided Tuesday. Fortune Massage at 117 Industrial Parkway was raided in 2014. That’s the same address as Golden Spa, which was raided Tuesday.