Court documents allege prostitution, slavery at Spa World in Va.
Updated: July 6, 2014 - 11:38 am
CENTREVILLE, Va. (WJLA) - It is advertised as the largest Asian-style spa and resort in the country, offering massages, body scrubs, and leisure.
But according to court documents, Spa World has created horrific conditions for employees.
One victim tells Fairfax County investigators that he was recruited late last year as a body scrubber from San Francisco with promises of big money. But upon arrival, a manager immediately confiscated his luggage and shoes, and told him he was not allowed to leave the establishment. He also says that he was also forced to sleep on the floor.
In addition to allegations of prostitution at Spa World, victims – primarily Chinese and Korean nationals – report many examples of not being paid for their work.
In all, authorities estimate more than 50 victims are owed more than $500,000.
Victims were reportedly instructed not to talk to authorities, and some employees are allegedly instructed to hide in a “secret room” located on the second level of the establishment when inspectors come to the facility.
The owner named in court papers is Sang Lee, who was interviewed by ABC 7 last year after a transgender woman filed a complaint after claiming she was abruptly kicked out of Spa World.
We were told Lee was not in today when we visited the establishment, but we did discuss the allegations with manager KJ Park.
"It's not true," he told ABC7. "I go around and there's literally nothing like that going on..."
Meanwhile, near the Centreville spa, the reports of not paying workers are not sitting well at all with the public.