Prostitution Bust Sends 16 To Clay County Jail
CLAY COUNTY - It wasn't a happy ending for some 16 people arrested in a prostitution sting. Women working in an online escort service and three massage parlors in North Central Florida have been arrested over the course of several days. Sex was being solicited using the internet and massage parlors.
The women caught were between the ages of 18 and 60 years old. The charges against the women included prostitution, drugs and practicing massage therapy without a license.
"I am shocked.. I don't even know what to say," Shaqwana Hardy a Clay County resident said.
Three different massage parlors in Clay County were offering their customers more than just a massage. "This is crazy! There's a day care right next door... I think it's disgusting," she added.
Clay County Sheriffs Deputies conducted an undercover operation and caught people soliciting prostitution. Five were connected to the following businesses, Ocean Spa, Red Lantern Health Center and Ichiban Health Center. Most of these women were practicing massage therapy without a license, a felony in Florida.
Ruth Blackwood who works next door at Impressive Salon said she's seen unusual behavior.
Ruth Blackwood a stylist for Impressive Salon, said, "I always see men go in there... I never see any ladies… The door is always dark. The door is always covered and it's always dark."
Others caught in the sting were using online escort services to offer sexual favors. They were caught in residential locations that were set up as meeting places. They were charging between $40 to $250 per service.
This operation was prompted by complaints from residents and business owners in the Orange Park who witnessed suspicious activity.
"Me and my boyfriend were thinking of a spa to go to and we came across this one but shook it off cause we wanted to go somewhere farther away. We didn't think it was sketchy we just thought it was too close to home and I find out all this crap is going on..."
Everyone who was arrested lives in Clay County. There were only two men involved in the bust and they were arrested for transporting and scheduling an act of prostitution.
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