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Women who came from China on temporary visas were reportedly being held at a spa in Florida
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged with soliciting a prostitute from a sex-trafficking ring at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.
The 77-year-old NFL owner reportedly hired a prostitute on two separate occasions at the spa.
What are the details?
According to police, this spa was a front for a sex-trafficking ring where women, mainly from China, were held captive. Many of them came to the U.S. on temporary visas. At least some of the women did not speak English, because the Jupiter police said that they needed to use interpreters to help provide support for the women.
"It was clear that multiple women were working and living inside the spas. They were cooking on the back steps of the business," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told the Treasure Coast Palm. "They were sleeping in the massage parlor, on the massage tables."
The Orchids of Asia Day Spa has been active since 2012. In addition to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, seven other spas in Florida have been closed in connection with this sting.
WBTS-TV reports that the Martin County sheriff said that the women kept by the trafficking ring had "minimal" hygiene, were not permitted to take a day off, and "averaged 1,500 men a year." In November, up to 20 men were visiting the spa each day for between 30 to 60 minutes, the Treasure Coast Palm reported.
Police in Jupiter County said that they had found reviews for the spa online indicating that this was a place where you could pay for sex. A health inspection from Nov. 14 had turned up evidence of women living inside the spa.
What about Kraft?
Kraft has been charged only with soliciting a prostitute, not with anything relating to human trafficking. While he faces only two charges of soliciting a prostitute, police said that he was likely a "regular" at the spa.
In a statement to reporters, a spokesperson for Kraft said, "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further."
Kraft's Patriots won the Super Bowl earlier this month in Atlanta, their sixth NFL title.
The NFL said in a statement: "The NFL is aware of the ongoing law enforcement matter and will continue to monitor developments."
Twenty-four other men were also charged in addition to Kraft, ranging in age from 29 to 84. Police say that they have video evidence from cameras they hid in the spa as part of the investigation showing "the act" for all 25 men.
Police said that Kraft will have an active arrest warrant out for him in Palm Beach County, Florida.
In a news conference, Jupiter police said that they had also arrested two people for human trafficking and that they were investigating possible money laundering.
Since these charges for those who solicited the women are only considered to be misdemeanors, each of the 25 people charged will receive a summons to appear in court.
The lead detective on the case said that while he couldn't say how much individual transactions cost, but that the fee for the spa was $59 for half an hour and $71 for an hour.
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