Attorney General files temporary restraining order against chain of North AL massage businesses in human-trafficking case

The businesses operate in Huntsville under the names Health Massage and Massage Foot Care, and in Madison and Decatur under the name Massage Foot Care.

Posted: Apr 18, 2019 8:15 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2019 8:26 PM

On Friday, Attorney General Steve Marshall's office released a statement saying the Madison County Circuit Court has granted a temporary restraining order against a chain of North Alabama massage businesses that he said were operating a human-trafficking enterprise.

Marshall's office says this is the first civil action taken under the new civil enforcement provision to Alabama’s human-trafficking law, and the complaint also alleges violations of Alabama’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

This court document was posted in the window of Massage Foot Care in Madison on Highway 72.

The businesses operated in Huntsville under the names Health Massage and Massage Foot Care, and in Madison and Decatur under the name Massage Foot Care.

According to Marshall, TY Green’s Massage Therapy, Inc., its owner Yuping Tang, and manager Jiao Liu, who is her daughter, and their four businesses are now prevented from doing business in Alabama. 

Officials say all assets have been frozen, and a receiver was appointed by the Court to take control of the businesses until a preliminary injunction hearing can be held.

“Alabama’s new law provides a valuable tool to more effectively fight human traffickers and restore dignity and freedom to their victims,” said Attorney General Marshall in a statement released Friday. “With this civil action, we were able to respond to the dire urgency of the situation, shut down the trafficking operation, rescue the victims, and preserve assets that can be used to help those who have been harmed.”

In his legal complaint, Marshall's office says he told the Court that “evidence collected during this investigation has revealed that the Defendants are running illicit massage businesses that serve as fronts for a human-trafficking operation. In the Defendants’ organization, the ‘employees’ work incredibly long hours during which at least some of them are expected to engage in sex acts with the businesses’ customers. When the victims are not ‘working,’ they seem to have little freedom of movement, they are transported in groups to and from the Defendants’ businesses and are kept in houses owned by the Defendants where they are left to eat and sleep in terrible conditions. The Defendants, on the other hand, have reaped millions of dollars in revenue from their businesses, and the Attorney General now brings this action in order to put an end to their conduct and protect their victims from
further harm.”

The Madison County Sheriff's Office says deputies helped remove property from Massage Foot Care in Madison.  The sheriff's office said other agencies also assisted. The Decatur Police Department has also confirmed it was an assisting agency in the federal operation at the business in Decatur. 

We reached out to the Alabama Board of Massage Therapy and received the following statement on Friday:

"The Alabama Board of Massage Therapy, in cooperation with local law enforcement, began an investigation of Massage and Foot Care in Madison and Morgan Counties, Alabama, and Health Massage in Madison County, Alabama, after receiving complaints of sexual services being offered under the guise of massage therapy. Sections 34-43-8 and 34-43-11, Code of Ala., 1975, states a massage therapist may not perform, whether for compensation or not, massage therapy for a sexually oriented business and a sexually oriented business may not hold a license as a massage therapy establishment. Investigations concluded that Massage and Foot Care and Health Massage were providing sexual services for compensation to the public The investigations also noted various other violations of the Board's statute, rules and regulations. The Board will continue to assist and support local law enforcement and the district attorney's offices in its efforts to hold Massage and Foot Care and Health Massage and the individuals associated with these businesses accountable for the illicit activities in their operations. I greatly appreciate all the hard work that our Board investigators and local law enforcement did to uncover these illegal activities to further protect the Citizens of the State of Alabama in regulating this profession."

The four businesses affected: 

Massage and Foot Care Spa (or Massage Foot Care)
3022 South Memorial Parkway
Huntsville, Alabama

Health Massage
6290 University Drive Northwest
Huntsville, Alabama

Massage and Foot Care Spa (or Massage Foot Care)
7950 U.S. Highway 72 West
Madison, Alabama

Massage and Foot Care Spa (or Massage Foot Care)
2411 6th Avenue Southeast
Decatur, Alabama

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