Utah Attorney General's Office busts human trafficking ring

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) - The sign said "OPEN" but the Thai Star Therapy massage parlor at 1343 South State Street was closed Tuesday night.

Earlier in the day it was one of numerous locations where the SECURE Strike Force, a team of law enforcement agencies, served warrants related to human sex trafficking. Other warrants were served elsewhere in Salt Lake City, Ogden and West Jordan as the result of a 10 month investigation by the Utah Attorney General's Office.

"This is the largest human trafficking takedown in the history of the state of Utah," Attorney General Sean Reyes said Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to the massage parlors, the Strike Force served four warrants on vehicles and five on apartments where the adult female trafficking victims were housed.

One man was arrested during a traffic stop and felony charges are expected against him.

"We believe that person was the nexus to the 11 different warrants that we executed on the various businesses today," Reyes said.

Police are interviewing a dozen victims in the Salt Lake City area. Reyes hopes they can lead authorities to other suspects involved in this deplorable but profitable business that Reyes calls "modern slavery".

"Human trafficking has become the second most lucrative criminal enterprise," Reyes said. "Second only to the drug trade, leapfrogging gun running, arms dealing, counterfeiting, the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world right now."

The warrants were served at the various locations from around 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon Tuesday.

Reyes says some of the victims are cooperating with law enforcement but some refuse because they are scared that they or their families back in their home countries will be targeted by the traffickers.

Here are some of the addresses of businesses that the Secure Task Force said were part of the investigation. 
3725 Washington Blvd #11 Ogden
3480 Washington Blvd #102 Ogden
525 S. State Street #12 Clearfield
7604 S. Redwood Road
805 E. 33rd S. #5 SLC
1343 S. State Street #220
680 S. 900 W. SLC

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