Q&A – No Human Trafficking At The Orchids Day Spa

Today’s question - Brian: Very rarely do I disagree with your positions. But I take great issue with your position on the Robert Kraft matter. On Friday you emphasized "human trafficking" was involved. Yet, there was no proof of this allegation, as later in the day was emphasized by the Judge hearing the motion to suppress the videos. I took issue with your comments before the Judge commented.

I think that you were very derelict in your presumption of human trafficking at the spa was involved. This is an ongoing investigation by the Jupiter Police Department with no proof as of yet. You have no proof that the women who worked at the spa did not do so voluntarily. You are only assuming.

I continue to listen to your show in the mornings as you are the most informed radio host/commentator in the south Florida region. But on this one, I think you owe an apology to your listeners.

Bottom Line: Thank you for your thoughtful note and concern. It's valid. And I’ll be glad to address it. I've watched what's been happening during this process and have been concerned right along with that we might end up having a conversation similar to this one. It’s why I’ve been so passionate on this particular topic, from the time the news originally broke. Human trafficking is a crisis around the world. Recently, I shared the information that 22 Americans are lost each day due to human trafficking. Cases like this one represent one of the best opportunities to shed light on the extent of the human trafficking crisis. You’re correct that on Friday prosecutors conceded that they wouldn’t be pursuing human trafficking and instead would pursue prostitution and related charges for all involved. 

If that’s all there was to this story, I agree that an apology would be in order. But it’s not. Here’s the definition of human trafficking according to the Department of Homeland Security:

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.

Let’s get back to the premise of these women working at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. Who were they and where did they come from? 

All of the women working at the spa were Asian, predominantly Chinese, and had been brought into the US. Once the women arrived in the US, they were picked up at the airport by those associated with operating the spas (remember the Orchids Day Spa was related to a wider bust with an investigation that began in Martin County). According to investigators the women’s passports and other personal effects were detained by the operators of the spas and all transportation was provided by them. 

In some instances, housing had been arranged for by the operators, in others, it’s believed that the women would live at spas for weeks. It was noted in the investigation that several women would enter a spa but not be seen exiting for weeks at a time. That takes us to what happened on Friday. According to the investigative records made available during the legal proceedings over the past month and a half, here are a couple of the worker/witness accounts who were initially cooperating with investigators.

  • LixiaZhu, 48, told detectives she came from China to work at a nail salon in Chicago then was forced into sex trafficking. Her passports were locked up and her relatives in China were threatened
  • “Jane Doe”, stated she had been shuttled to seven or eight other U.S cities to perform similar acts in massage parlors

But now we’re to believe that they made it all up and really did want to come to the US and live and work under the conditions that we know existed in these day spas? But still, you’re wanting to know why, if this was the case, human trafficking charges weren’t pursued in the court proceedings on Friday. 

This case is shaping up to be a different version of a similar thing to what we’ve seen in other high-profile cases. I always establish the facts and I go where they take me. And if I do error, I’ll error on the side of human trafficking victims and life. No apologies here but thank you for providing me with the opportunity to address this topic and concern of yours and perhaps others. 

Submit your questions by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Twitter: @brianmuddradio

Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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