HARRIS COUNTY—Some massage parlors that are tucked away in strip centers along FM 1960 offer up sex behind closed doors.
But on Thursday, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office working with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, began a major crackdown on the illegal sex trade burgeoning along the busy corridor.
“Who wants that in their neighborhood?” asked District Attorney Devon Anderson. “While prostitution has been considered for a long time a victimless crime, I think those days are long behind us.”
Ying Wen was arrested during an early-morning raid and charged with money laundering. Authorities said Wen was the owner and operator of Hana Top Spa on Bammel North Houston Road.
They believe the business was a front, offering sex to willing patrons. Agents seized $24,000 in cash and dozens of designer handbags.
Three young women, possibly victims of human trafficking, were removed and placed in a safe house.
Decades ago, FM 1960 was a rural two-lane road. The area has seen rapid development and a steady growth in crime concerns.
“It’s definitely disconcerting that that’s what we have to deal with in our community,” said Alex Alvarado.
KHOU 11 News took a look at crime stats over the last three years in HPD’s Willowbrook district. They show that theft is down a little bit, robbery is at a three-year high with everything else is pretty steady.
But perceptions of problems near the spa persist.
“Especially when you have small children who go to school right up this street,” said Thompson. “It’s definitely something to be worried about.”
Even with one illegal business shut down, authorities know they’re fighting an uphill battle.
“It’s like cockroaches,” said Anderson. “We stamp out one and it seems like 10 more pop up.”
If convicted, Wen could face up to 20 years behind bars.