CERES — A Ceres massage parlor was raided Thursday after police say an undercover officer was offered sexual acts in exchange for money.
Detectives began investigating Oriental Massage in the 2500 block of Whitmore Avenue after receiving tips about prostitution at the business, poice said.
Massage parlors are havens for human sex trafficking, the most common form of modern-day slavery and third-largest criminal enterprise in the world, Ceres Police Detective Darren Venn said in a news release. Investigation of businesses like this is a priority because beyond the criminal prostitution component is the potential for those offering sexual acts to be victims or sex trafficking survivors.
Ceres police enlisted the help of Without Permission, an organization dedicated to exposing the sex trade, and together with Ceres Code Enforcement planned an operation.
After an undercover police officer was offered sexual acts for money, the team converged on the business, according to the press release.
Code Enforcement inspected the building for violations such as illegal showers, locked rooms, other hazards and business license violations.
Representatives from Without Permission assisted police with interviews of the women inside the business by providing a language interpreter and offering resources.
The investigation into the business and its owners, Ricardo Ruiz and Zi Qian, is ongoing. No arrests have been made at this time, but the case has been forwarded to the District Attorneys Office for review.
Anyone with information that may prove helpful in this investigation is encouraged to contact Venn by calling (209)538-5616 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips can be anonymously reported by contacting Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at (866) 602-7463, texting tips to 274637 with TIP704 in the wording, or going to www.modestopolice.com/crimestoppers.
If you think you have encountered someone involved in human trafficking, please call your local law enforcement agency or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888.