They're often open at odd hours, or all hours of the night.
The state Attorney General's Office has made human trafficking a top priority in recent years, holding annual awareness events and launching a widespread advocacy advertising campaign.
— Something was amiss at a massage parlor near one of the wealthiest barrier islands in Florida.
Traffickers cycled women in and out of parlors every 10 or 20 days, Sheriff Snyder estimated.
Yet making a trafficking case remains difficult, in part because the women who were victims may not want to cooperate with the police.
Sheriff Snyder said investigators, who worked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, estimated the trafficking ring to be a $20 million international operation. Havens, the former Citigroup executive, was elevated to the post in 2011 by his longtime confidant, Vikram Pandit, Citi’s chief executive.
Men paid between 0 and 0 for sex, the sheriff said; between million and million has been seized in Florida, he said, including a safe stuffed with Rolex watches. The two became friends as senior executives at Morgan Stanley before they both left in 2005 to start Old Lane Partners, a hedge fund that was acquired by Citigroup two years later for 0 million.
The state has a good place to start investigating businesses: Thirty-nine shell companies were connected with networks of illegal massage parlors, she said.
Another two-thirds had individual names listed on business records, which lets the state open "a can of worms" on owners, she said.
A young woman who was supposed to be a massage therapist spoke little English and seemed unusually nervous. They would eventually learn that her suspicions were right: The women were not just employees: They were living in the day spa, sleeping on massage tables and cooking meals on hot plates in the back. The inspector’s suspicions prompted a sprawling investigation across four Florida counties and two states — Florida and New York — over nearly eight months, resulting in the disruption of what authorities say was a multimillion-dollar human-trafficking and prostitution operation.