Massage parlor owner charged

Police say two women arrested after a prostitution investigation may have been sex slaves – illegally trafficked into the United States and sleeping on mattresses at the back of a Monroe massage parlor.

Customers found advertisements for Island Spa on Craig's List, police said. Male patrons would come from hundreds of miles away, police said, while women seeking spa treatments were largely ignored by employees and never offered any services – legitimate or otherwise.

The owner, Son Jarkowsky, 40, was arrested Saturday and remained in jail Sunday with bond set at $50,000. She faces charges of trafficking people and allowing her business to be used for prostitution.. Police say she violated 33 city ordinances related to massage parlors and adult businesses.

Two employees, Min Ye and Dan Sim Kim, were also arrested but bonded out of jail. They have Sept.4 court dates, and the Monroe city attorney has ordered the business closed. Ye was charged with an attempted crime against nature. Kim was charged with two counts of indecent exposure.

Officers were also trying to get counseling for the employees, said Sgt. T.J. Goforth, who led the four-month investigation. The women didn't speak each other's languages and couldn't communicate with each other, Goforth said. It's unclear whether they ever left the business.

Inside, the massage parlor was immaculate, Goforth said. It opened in late 2007 on U.S. 74, midway between the center of Monroe and Indian Trail. People with neighboring businesses said they never suspected anything illegal was going on inside the red-brick building with dark windows. Signs advertised one-hour massages for $80. A half-hour was $60.

On April 1, officers got a tip and began staking out the parking lot and sending undercover officers inside.

Goforth said police don't know whether any other women are believed to have worked as prostitutes at the spa. She said “there are some sketchy issues,” including how a woman from China and a woman from South Korea met Jarkowsky and ended up working in a small N.C. city.