MCKINLEY PARK — Four people have been arrested after a police raid on an unlicensed massage parlor that doubled as a brothel, police said.
Officers stormed into the building at 1705 W. 35th St. — located next to a day care — around 4 p.m. May 14 after an undercover investigation revealed the building "was in fact providing prostitution services," a police spokesman said.
Authorities did not provide the names of those charged but said four arrests were made, including one for prostitution and providing a massage without a license; two for providing a massage without a license; one for aggravated battery of a police officer, violation of the operating requirements for a massage establishment; and "multiple counts of employment of an unlicensed massage therapist," police said.
Casey Cora discusses the police raid on DNAinfo Radio:
Police said the investigation also showed an accountant was fixing the books to hide income from the prostitution services provided there.
The windows at the building on busy 35th Street are covered by duct tape and heavy cloth, and unlike the massage businesses that dot the landscape of the Southwest Side, there are no signs indicating the building is a spa.
One neighbor said the building was frequently visited by men bearing gifts like flower bouquets and balloons.
"White dudes, black guys, Mexican guys. All going in there," said the man, who declined to be named.
The neighbor also said the building's interior was often lit by the glow of red lights at night, suggesting a clandestine brothel hidden in plain sight.
According to national statistics provided by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, women forced to work at typical illicit spas endure 15-hour workdays and must have sex with about six to 10 men each day.
The women, typically of Asian descent, live at the sites 24 hours a day and are "rotated between brothels every two to three weeks, often via cabs affiliated with the illegal industry."
In an unrelated press conference on Tuesday, authorities with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies sought to call attention to the "horrific nightmare" of Human trafficking for sex-related trade.
The midday raid in McKinley Park scared the staff at the next-door day care center, where the police activity disrupted children's naptime and shook up parents who arrived to find police tape and authorities in bulletproof vests.
Jaime Alanis, a parent who dropped off his child at Little Tykes Day Care earlier this week, said he was surprised to learn of the raid. He said he assumed the building was just someone's home.
"I've never seen anything strange when I come here," he said. "But I'm also not sitting here all day watching, either."
Records show the building is owned by Hang Jian Wu of McKinley Park, who could not be reached for comment.