Investigators say some women at massage businesses may have been trafficked
On Monday, police and state investigators executed search warrants on four local massage business locations and a home on Buckhorn Drive in South Bend.
Investigators suspect human trafficking, sexual solicitation, and tax fraud took place inside the businesses.
Nine customers and 12 suspected female victims were interviewed along with business owners and managers.
Multiple women were living inside the businesses and investigators confirmed at least some of the women had been trafficked and were being held and forced to work against their will.
Multiple women also confirmed sexual activity had occurred with customers.
The following massage business locations were searched:
- 421 Hickory Road, South Bend
- 12670 SR 23, Granger
- 50795 SR 933 N., South Bend
- 2614 S. Michigan, South Bend
All the properties are owned or operated by the same person.
When ABC57 checked Tuesday afternoon, the location on Hickory Road was still open for business.
“Due to several complaints that we had from citizens throughout St Joseph County about some illegal activity that had been taking place at these businesses. So as a result of a lengthy investigation and I mean lengthy investigation we were able to serve those search warrants yesterday afternoon," Sheriff Bill Redman said.
During the 14-hour search, investigators also found dozens of boxes containing thousands of pages of financial records.
More than $88,000 in cash was seized from the five locations.
Currently, two women have requested help and been removed from the business locations.
The women will be assisted while returning to their country of origin.
This is an ongoing investigation.
No arrests have been made at this time.