Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced that his office shut down more day spas and arrested more people on prostitution-related charges in the city’s effort to root out illegal sex trade businesses and human trafficking practices in Southern Brooklyn. According to a press release, Hynes and his office closed five day spas, indicted six and arrested six others in their latest crackdown.
In July, we reported on the first phase of the joint operation between the Brooklyn DA’s office and the NYPD, which saw the closure of a dozen day spas scattered in Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst. In the aftermath, Hynes promised further investigation and action regarding spots that were not included in the first operation. Meanwhile, local politicians including State Senator Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis promised tougher laws and regulations regarding the operation of day spas so that the businesses don’t become magnets for prostitution and human trafficking.
With the second phase of the operation underway, the release put out by Hynes’ office highlighted the details of the arrests and shut downs, including businesses located in Dyker Heights along New Utrecht Avenue:
The first indictment charges four defendants with Sex Trafficking and related charges. According to the indictment, defendants Yun Feng Zhang, Yan Liu, Boxuan Zhang, and Zhan Wei Liu ran the Zhang/Liu prostitution ring, with locations at 307 Henry Street in Brooklyn Heights and 223 Calyer Street in Greenpoint, and are facing 25 years in prison if convicted on the top count of Sex Trafficking. During the execution of a search warrant September 7, at 223 Calyer Street, Zhang Yan, was arrested and charged with Unauthorized Practice of a Profession and Prostitution.
The second indictment charges two defendants with Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree and related charges. According to the indictment, defendants Nataliya Drevetska and Sergey Talko ran the Drevetska/Talko prostitution ring from 1275-77 70TH Street in Bay Ridge and 8017 New Utrecht Avenue in Dyker Heights, and face seven years in prison if convicted of the top count.
During search warrants executed at both locations on September 8, Yuliya Doherty was arrested at 1275-77 70TH Street, and charged with Unauthorized Practice of a Profession. Anastasi Karvova was arrested at Utrecht Avenue, and charged with Unauthorized Practice of a Profession and Prostitution.
In addition three people were arrested this past Friday during the execution of a search warrant at 31 Bay Ridge Avenue, another allegedly bogus “Day Spa” or “Massage Therapy” business, hiding an alleged prostitution operation. This location has been the source of repeated complaints and petitions in the community.
The three defendants arrested at 31 Bay Ridge Ave. are Seol-Hwa Park Meizi Huang, and Fu Lan Quan, who is the owner. All three were charged with Unauthorized Practice of a Profession. Defendants Park and Huang were also charged with Prostitution.
Hynes, who is up for reelection, expressed hope that the latest bust would help deter future prostitution rings from forming.
“I hope that these arrests will send a message not only to the communities of Dyker Heights, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn Heights and Greenpoint, but throughout Brooklyn, that my office shares their concerns regarding these so-called ‘massage parlors’ and we will not tolerate illicit operations that exploit women and adversely affect neighborhoods,” Hynes said.
State Senator Marty Golden and Councilman Vincent Gentile signaled that the arrests were a victory for the area and that they would go a long way to increasing public safety. In her own statement, Malliotakis echoed these sentiments, lavishing praise on the DA and the NYPD in their efforts to clean out the lawbreakers.
“The District Attorney’s office and NYPD have shown swift and decisive action in closing down these massage parlors, guarding both our quality of life and safety. Cracking down on this illicit activity not only protects our community, but also the young women being exploited. I thank our law enforcement for their diligence and I will continue working with my colleagues and the community to report suspicious activity,” Malliotakis said in a release.