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Masseuse arrested for soliciting sex with undercover officer
Police looking into possible sex trafficking ties
BARSTOW • Police arrested a Barstow masseuse for allegedly soliciting sex acts with an undercover officer, though detectives have not ruled out that the woman may, herself, be a victim of sex trafficking.
Lixia Wang, 44, was arrested Saturday after allegedly soliciting an officer with the Barstow Police Department Street Enforcement Team who posed as a customer. The team was investigating reports of prostitution at the Asia Massage parlor at 816 East Williams St.
During the investigation police seized a large amount of cash believed to be gains from illegal activity.
Officers are working with the U.S Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to determine Wang’s immigration status. Wang hardly spoke English, though she was cooperative with police, said Sgt. Mike Hunter. She was cite-released that night.
Prostitution arrests in Barstow are rare — even rarer are those tied with businesses, Hunter said.
Wang’s immigration status also makes this a unique situation and police are investigating the possibility she was brought to the U.S. as a sex slave.
Earlier this year several Barstow police officers participated in sex trafficking training organized by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.
“There’s a lot of immigrants being brought over here and used in the sex trade,” Hunter said.
Hunter did not know how many women worked in the parlor, nor did he have any information about the parlor’s owner.
A business license issued in 2010 with the city of Barstow showed the owner is Chunhna Wong. County assessor records show the property is owned by someone with the name “Business Owner” since 2001. There are no fictitious business name filings for “Asia Massage” with the Secretary of State.
On Tuesday afternoon the shop was closed and locked up with protective bars, despite posted hours stating it should’ve been open. The storefront has a sign reading walk-ins welcome for men, women and children.
A call to the shop’s listed phone number was answered by a woman who did not speak English well enough to communicate except to confirm she was the owner of Asia Massage.
So far, the DA’s office has not filed charges against Wang.
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