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5 Cumberland County massage parlors busted in human trafficking sting

Complaints from the public led police to investigate the five massage parlors and discover that they were all connected to Min Dong.
Credit: Cumberland County District Attorney's Office
Min Dong

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — One person was arrested yesterday in a human trafficking investigation that linked five Cumberland County massage parlors offering illegal services, the county's District Attorney's office announced.

OPERATION: Closed2Trafficking sought to identify purportedly legitimate massage therapy businesses in Cumberland, York, and Dauphin Counties that are operating as fronts for labor/sex trafficking in violation of Pennsylvania criminal statutes.

In addition to the five businesses in Cumberland County, another five were targeted in York and Dauphin Counties.

Investigators served search warrants on the five Cumberland County businesses on Aug. 31, discovering that they were all connected to each other and one woman, Min Dong. Complaints from the public are largely what led to these businesses being targets, police said. They include:

  • New Healing Hands Spa, 33 Gettysburg Pike, Mechanicsburg (Upper Allen Township)
  • 149 Massage, AKA May Spa, 149 South 32nd Street, Camp Hill Borough
  • Lily Spa, 305 Herman Ave., Lemoyne
  • Mary Spa, 3803 Gettysburg Road, Camp Hill (Lower Allen Township)
  • JOJO Spa, 5010 Carlisle Pike, Mechanicsburg (Hampden Township)

“We greatly appreciate the members of the community who brought their concerns forward to law enforcement," DA Seán McCormack said. "Unfortunately, human trafficking exists here in Cumberland County and today’s operation is part of our ongoing effort to root out human trafficking and to send a message that Cumberland County is not the place to set up one of these operations. Cumberland County is ‘Closed to Human Trafficking.’”

Dong, 54, was arrested and charged with operating a corrupt organization and dealing in unlawful proceeds, among other charges. Police say significant amounts of cash and other evidence of labor/sex trafficking were found during the searches.

OPERATION: Closed2Trafficking involved more than 12 federal, state, and local agencies, including: U.S. Postal Inspectors, Homeland Security, Camp Hill Police Department, Upper Allen Township Police Department, Lower Allen Township Police Department, Hampden Township Police Department, West Shore Regional Police Department, East Pennsboro Township Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, PA Attorney General’s Office, Pennsylvania Department of State, and, from the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office: Criminal Investigation Division, Forensic Investigations Division, Cumberland County Drug Task Force and District Attorney’s Victim Services Unit.

This operation is part of a year-long law enforcement investigation into human trafficking in south-central Pennsylvania. Over a year ago, McCormack announced the formation of a task force to investigate human trafficking in Cumberland County. Since that time, the task force conducted five operations as part of an operation called IMPACT DEMAND, the purpose of which was to identify and arrest individuals who patronize labor/sex trafficked individuals, authorities said.  

“Since we began these operations targeting sex buyers who drive the demand for commercial sex, we have arrested 45 individuals," McCormack said. "Every single dollar that a sex trafficker makes comes out of the wallet of a sex buyer. They are the ones driving sex trafficking by putting money into the hands of the sex traffickers who exploit the women and men trapped in this existence. We are going to continue these operations.”     

While publicly conducting Operation Impact Demand, the Cumberland County Human Trafficking Task Force was simultaneously investigating the business side of human trafficking, investigators said. Law enforcement officers developed evidence during the investigation to confirm that traffickers were placing individuals into area massage parlors for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts as part of a larger scheme of labor/sex trafficking.  

The task force was allegedly able to link certain individuals arrested during Operation Impact Demand to various massage parlors targeted in OPERATION: Closed2Trafficking. Officers say that during yesterday’s searches, even while the police were clearly on sight searching these businesses, they observed numerous men trying to enter the parking lots of these businesses. 

“If there is any message that we want to get across it is this, we are not forgetting that the customers are the ones who fuel this industry," investigators said. "We are watching you come and go from these establishments, and we know who you are.”

As part of this operation, the Cumberland County Human Trafficking Task Force partnered with local community programs dedicated to providing services and opportunities to help victims of labor/sex trafficking escape their situation.  

“I want to especially thank all the employees and volunteers of Greenlight Operation, Peace Promise, the YWCA Carlisle & Cumberland County’s Sexual Assault and Anti-Human Trafficking Services, and the Camp Hill Church of Christ," officials said. "These groups have dedicated themselves to combating human trafficking in central Pennsylvania through providing outreach services and education to victims of commercial sexual exploitation.”

McCormack says there is a big difference between the businesses that were the target of the search warrants executed during OPERATION: Closed2Trafficking and those with legitimate massage therapy businesses.  

“From their advertising to the way they conduct their business, the Asian massage parlors that are the subject of this investigation clearly separate themselves from the practices of legitimate massage therapy entities," he said. "One thing our investigation has highlighted is the need for greater legal regulations to ensure that only legitimate massage therapy businesses are operating in our communities. We need legislation to require massage facilities, their managers, and employees to be properly licensed and regulated.  Requiring the proper background checks when these entities apply for the licenses that I am advocating for will go a long way towards helping to separate legitimate operating facilities from the criminal enterprises that exploit their workers either through sexual or labor trafficking practices.”

Police are still sorting through evidence seized as part of OPERATION: Closed2Trafficking, and the investigation continues. Anyone who has any information concerning this type of illegal activity is asked to send an email to if@cumberlandcountypa.gov.

OPERATION: Closed2Trafficking was conducted in conjunction with law enforcement authorities in York and Dauphin Counties. A total of 10 massage parlors across the three counties were targeted during this operation. 

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