Officials have closed three of what they are calling “illicit massage establishments (IMEs)” in February, the first full month of operation for the DOJ’s first Human Trafficking Unit (HTU), according to the Attorney General’s office.
On February 2, Dream Spa in Wilmington was closed and the patrons were evicted following an internal investigation by the HTU, in partnership with the Division of Professional Regulation, showing that Dream Spa had been operating at that location as an Illicit Massage Establishment for several years officials said Thursday. This work was accomplished with the cooperation of the property’s landlord.
On February 7, Zen Holistic Healing, in Wilmington was closed and the patrons evicted following an internal investigation by the DOJ’s Human Trafficking Unit, in partnership with the Division of Professional regulation and Delaware State Police, showing that Zen Holistic Healing had been operating at that location as an IME since the summer of 2021 according to officials. This investigation started following complaints made by neighbors in the community and was accomplished with the cooperation of the property’s landlord.
On February 23, members of the Delaware State Police Troop 3 – Major Crimes Unit, in partnership with the FBI and investigators from the Division of Professional Regulation, executed a Search Warrant on Spa Wellness in Dover. This location had been under investigation by DSP and the DOJ’s Human Trafficking Unit since January.
Following the search warrant’s execution, two individuals were arrested: Cui Ying, 47, was arrested and charged with Felony Promoting Prostitution 3rd Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Operating an Unlicensed Massage Establishment, and Prostitution. Dung M. Tran, 62, was arrested and charged with Felony Promoting Prostitution 3rd Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Felony Providing a False Statement to Law Enforcement, and Operating an Unlicensed Massage Establishment. Victim services specialists also helped provide assistance to an employee who was identified as a likely victim of human trafficking officials said.
During the search warrant and subsequent arrests, approximately $7,000 in suspected illicit proceeds were seized as well as two vehicles known to be associated with the operation spa. Bail conditions included no contact with the victim as well as the prohibition of operating a Massage Establishment in the State of Delaware.
Prior to purchasing the Dover property, Ying was associated with a New Sky Spa on Concord Pike in New Castle County, which had been shut down through work by DOJ’s Civil Division, including Deputy Attorney General Zoe Plerhoples, in partnership with investigators from the Division of Professional Regulation. Almost immediately after New Sky Spa’s closure, Ying purchased the property that became Spa Wellness and began operating the spa. Dung Tran had previously operated multiple spas in the City of Dover, including one at the same address as Spa Wellness.
The Human Trafficking Unit has worked to identify IMEs statewide and will continue to work with law enforcement partners, the Division of Professional Regulation, and landlords to close those illegal businesses in the months ahead.