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Bridgeville spa arrests trigger look into human trafficking

| Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 12:16 a.m.

Authorities are trying to determine who is behind a prostitution ring they say was operating in a spa in downtown Bridgeville until it was raided on Tuesday.

Three women were arrested as a result of a 14-month investigation into activities at the 88 Spa on Washington Avenue, Bridgeville police Chief Chad King said.

“We're trying to determine if these women were taken by human traffickers and forced into the business,” King said. “If that's the case, we're trying to determine who organized the ring and if it is being run by organized crime.”

The women — Ok Ja Ko, 52; Chong Hee Kil, 57, and Heemae Jeong, 58 — are charged with prostitution and conspiracy. Kil also is charged with promoting prostitution.

King said his officers began getting complaints about the spa two months after it opened and had enough evidence this summer to turn the case over to the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Shortly before noon, officers from local departments and the FBI Southwestern Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition Task Force went to the spa and an undercover detective requested a sexual encounter with two women, the complaint states.

When the women — who King said lived in the spa which was accessible only by a doorway in the alley — arrived in the room, other agents moved in and made the arrests.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com.

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