MINEOLA, N.Y. (WABC) -- A third person has been charged with coercing two women to perform sexual acts on customers in Nassau County massage parlors.
Li Fei Leng was arrested Wednesday morning in Flushing, Queens and has been indicted on several charges, including five counts of sex trafficking.
The 32 year old and the two other parlor owners, husband and wife Zhaowei Yin and Shuwen Ai, allegedly hired two women between May 2013 and the end of January 2014, who responded to masseuse job ads in Chinese-language newspapers.
However, when the women were hired they were required to perform sexual services on male customers at two different Nassau locations: Lucy's Spa in West Hempstead and Panda Foot Spa in Franklin Square. Both locations have been closed.
The two women also suffered from poor working conditions while working at the parlors, authorities said. The women were charged and had pay deductions for staying overnight and sleeping in the business, even though they were forced to do so. One of the victims was never paid at all.
The three owners allegedly threatened to post naked photos of one of the victims on the Internet and in newspapers if she failed to comply with their demands. They also forced one of the women to continue performing sexual services on a male customer that physically violated her, according to police, who said the women were unable to report this abuse to the police, due to the fear and threat of deportation.
It was after the two women were arrested and charged during undercover operations by the Nassau County Police Department that further investigation led to the arrest and indictment of the three alleged traffickers. The charges against the two victims were dismissed. Yin and Ai were arraigned on September 24 on the same indictment charges and are due back in court on October 15.
"Victims of sex trafficking experience the horrors of modern-day slavery and the criminals who profit from oppression must face harsh penalties," Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
If the defendants are convicted, they can face up to 25 years in prison.