Two women working at the Relax Station Spa located in the 4100 block of Orcutt Road near Santa Maria were arrested in a months-long investigation into solicitation of prostitution allegedly being conducted at the business.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office says they received an anonymous tip that Relax Station Spa was engaged in prostitution. During the investigation, authorities discovered that the business was allegedly advertising some services on backpage.com, a website used for prostitution related activities.
38-year-old Jinfeng Xu and 43-year-old Yaqing Yu were taken into custody after deputies and investigators, along with a Homeland Security Investigations agent, served a search warrant at the massage business on Dec. 21. Both women are Chinese Nationals, and had been in the Orcutt area for a short time.
During the search, investigators discovered evidence that acts of prostitution had taken place within the business, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Both women were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail and charged with solicitation and prostitution.
There is an ongoing investigation to determine if more people are involved in this case, and if additional charges against Xu and Yu will be brought forth.
“It should be noted that these types of illicit massage businesses often use people who are forced to do sexual acts against their will because they are indentured by a debt or are being abused,” said Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover in a statement to the press. “The Sheriff’s Office will continue to conduct these types of operations as information is received to help minimize the amount of human trafficking taking place and to help end the cycle of abuse.”
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office encourages anyone needing to report any business that could possibly be involved in prostitution, call 805-681-4150. To leave an anonymous tip, call 805-681-4171.