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Human Smuggling/Trafficking
10/19/2012

HSI special agents arrest owner of El Paso massage parlor for allegedly recruiting prostitutes

HSI special agents arrest owner of El Paso massage parlor for allegedly recruiting prostitutes
HSI special agents arrest owner of El Paso massage parlor for allegedly recruiting prostitutes

EL PASO, Texas – The owner of a local massage parlor was arrested Wednesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and charged with recruiting prostitutes for her business.

In Soon Kim, 60, owner of Kyoto Hot Stone Spa located in the 600 block of North Virginia Street, remains in federal custody. She is officially charged with "coercion and enticement to transport illegal sexual activity."

According to court documents, HSI special agents found unwrapped condoms concealed in several places inside the business, which is consistent with prostitution.

On Oct. 17, while special agents were executing a federal search warrant, they encountered a woman outside the massage parlor who said she was recruited to work there. An arrest affidavit reads that the woman understood she would perform sex acts and engage in sexual intercourse with customers, and that her uniform would be a tight-fitting short dress. She also stated she flew to El Paso from California to work at Kim's massage parlor.

Court documents also show that Kim told HSI special agents that among the services offered at her massage parlor were table massages, chair massages, and table showers. Kim said she charged customers up front, and her employees received monetary tips from customers.

Kim also said the women who worked in her business were Korean, and not U.S. citizens.

Kim had her initial appearance in federal court Thursday. She is set to have her preliminary and detention hearing Oct. 23. If convicted, Kim faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

HSI special agents assigned to HSI El Paso's Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) are investigating this case.

BEST is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ICE-led initiative that operates along the U.S.-Mexico border. The El Paso BEST is one of 32 BEST units located around the United States and Mexico. HSI is charged with enforcing a wide array of immigration and customs laws, including those related to securing the border and combating criminal smuggling.

BEST members are collocated so that they can effectively share information among their partner agencies. Close coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies helps to identify and eliminate cross-border criminal organizations, and the infrastructures that sustain them.