tv Sex Slaves Minhs Story MSNBC October 13, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
happy, that's awesome. this cheek is killing me. they are young women and girls who imagined america as a place of endless opportunity. >> people held against their will and raped in essence a dozen-plus times a day. >> but dreams of upward mobility meant living trapped in a psyching of abuse and expectation. >> out of 11 brothels, approximately 100 women were recovered. >> incredibly, many of these trafficked girls were first victimized by their own parents. >> the vast, vast majority of them sexually abused as kids. >> both my mother and my father trafficked me. >> tonight on "sex slaves" we travel to california for a
haunting tale. "minh's story." i think what i'd like for people to know is trafficking happens more than they think it does. minh who is a 25-year-old berkeley graduate wants people to think twice about the girls they see working in massage parlors or advertised in online sex ads. >> people tend to think it's choice and in my experience, it's never a choice. and the reason why i was trafficked and i think many women are trafficked is because they are vulnerable and sexually abused most of the time by their own parents or family. >> unfortunately, minh speaks from firsthand experience. >> both my mother and my father trafficked me. >> to the outside world, she was an overachieving athlete and scholar. but at home, she says her
parents considered her a commodity. minh says the sexual and physical abuse started early in the home. where she alleges her father raped her from the age of 3. she says both parents made it clear to minh that as their only daughter, her role was to serve them. >> both my parents sat me down at the age of 8 and made me write a contract and sign it saying that i would -- i would promise them 30% of my income to them for the rest of my life and that i would buy them a house, become a doctor. my interpretation of it is they couldn't wait until i was going to become a doctor. that was going to take too long so they needed to do something else to earn money and income. >> melissa farley, a leading expert in human trafficking say that is minh's story is far from unique. >> about 80%, 85% of everyone in
prostitution has been sexually abused as a child. that includes men and boys in prostitution as well as women and girls. >> minh said she lived in fear of her father's volatile temper. by day, he worked in the booming tech industry, but by night he ruled by terror. >> i was going to school, being raped at night at home, being beaten. by 8 i knew that it was going to be a pretty bad life. and i knew that they didn't care about me. i had to suck it up and not show any signs that anything was going on, so i kept getting straight as. >> she was in sixth grade. so, what, 11 or 12 years old. she would have been 25. >> phs ed teacher bonnie elgood remembers minh who treated middle school like college. >> the way she presented herself was so mature.
i can't even describe it. i mean, she really was just beyond her years. >> once or twice a week instead of eating with her friends in the cafeteria, minh would visit elgood in her classroom. >> she would come to me and maybe having a bad day or maybe something happened at home or whatever and she would want to come and kind of vent a little bit and talk about it. >> elgood knew minh had a troubled home life but never imagined it involved sexual abuse. minh said she worked hard to appear normal. while most sixth graders focused on sleepovers and socializing, minh drove herself to academic and athletic perfection, but still she says her parents were not satisfied. >> when i was 11 my parents sat me down again and my father told me that i treated him like a dog. that i disrespected him. how dare i be so disobedient? if i wanted to make it up to him that i would spend more time with him.
and what that meant is he started taking me to autobody shops, to cafes that were actually places for trafficking. >> whether it was a local auto body shop or one of the cafes that fronts for brothels, she says from age 11 to 17, her father sold her to various men and pocketed the cash. >> i remember the first day i was there, sitting there with just older men. they were drinking and i just sat there. and i went to the bathroom and when i came back, i was pulled into the back room by an older man and raped. and that's how it kind of began. >> i think it's hard for people in the united states to acknowledge that we do that to our children. it's easier for us to say, someone in cambodia or thailand does that to their children. >> farley says incested children
are often used as commodities for their financial gain, but it's a hidden crime that's tough to prosecute and something the public doesn't want to hear. >> in fact, u.s. parents also sell their children into prostitution. u.s. parents fail to protect children from very, very obvious sexual abuse and exploitation. >> minh says the financial rewards and feeling of power for her father fueled his sadistic greed. >> at that point, i mean, we went from the projects to owning a home. my parents made enough money off of me to pay part of their mortgage on our home. their home. it wasn't my home. >> it's a primary way that people are kept in prostitution. by making them feel that they're worth nothing more than that. >> minh says despite her compliance and achievement, her father rationalized the abuse. >> he did it under the guise of,
you're hurting me. you're a bad daughter and that was strategic because he knew as a little kid i wanted to be good. i wanted to be good for daddy >> as an adult, minh says she realizes that prostituting her wasn't just about the cash. >> my dad loved it because the way he acted was those men, i get to decide when i give minh to them. i get to decide when they have her. i have all power over her and when i want to [ bleep ] her, i can. and when i don't, i don't have to. and that really pleased him. was that sense of domination. my mom had this psychotic fantasy that i was competing with her, that i wanted my dad to rape me. >> never had sex with your daughter? >> no. okay? look at my eyes. ♪ 'take me home...'
for years, minh says she kept a horrifying secret about being sexually abused and prostituted by her father. minh says instead of protecting her, her mother was equally abusive and treated her like the enemy. >> she had this psychotic fantasy that i was competing with her. that i wanted my dad to rape me. i remember her screaming at me and my dad, why are you [ bleep ] her? you should be [ bleep ] me. >> concerned teachers noticed minh's unhappiness but assumed the straight-a student's stress resulted from parents with high expectations. >> they did enough to make it look like, you know, they were just a little bit strict. they were just strict immigrant family, you know, we all know how that goes. >> melissa farley says minh's
parents behaved like pimps. >> the relationship with a pimp is a deliberately isolating one. so that any other relationships with people outside the immediate prostitution business, those relationships are undermined and sabotaged. >> without any support, minh describes her early years as devastating and lonely. >> i remember a time when i was 8 years old and my father had just raped me in my bed. there's blood everywhere. and he just left and in that moment, i remember just feeling so deadened and defeated. i mean, here's my mother clearly okay with it because she's not screaming at him for raping me. >> minh says despite being raped by her father and strangers, the most devastating truth of her childhood was grappling with the
notion that her parents didn't love her. >> my father was actually physically raping me. it was awful. but when i felt that he didn't love me, that was worse. because when he was raping me i could at least fantasize and tell myself, maybe this is his way of showing me his love. maybe, maybe he just -- this is his way of showing his love and he doesn't know another way and i'll just be good for daddy. >> being good, says minh, meant taking a 40-minute bus ride through san jose to get to the brothel for work. she says the cash she made helped finance a new house for her family and nail salon for her mother. but she says things got worse when her father refused to share the cash. >> my mom got jealous because she didn't see enough of the money. my dad was keeping most of it to himself. he was drinking it away. he was using it for his own purposes.
>> minh says her mother told her she needed the cash to divorce her father and came up with a plan. >> she started selling me. she made me take glamour shots. she put them in, you know, newspapers and magazines. and had me work at bars and started arranging dates for me. >> minh graduated at the top of her high school class and won a coveted spot at the university of california berkeley where she slowly broke ties with her parents. after intense counseling, she reached out to her old teacher and friend. >> i was definitely shocked when i read that e-mail. i was like, wait. i had to read it again and again. >> elgood said she was outraged, but it explains why the sixth grader placed so much value on their friendship. >> never for a minute did i think she was lying. there is no reason she would ever make this up. there's no reason.
i can't -- she was and is just very honest. >> the berkeley grad says one of the toughest truths to comprehend is the complete lack of regard her parents had for her personal safety. >> the way that they worry about it is the way you worry about whether -- if you're a farmer and worry about whether your cattle's going to run off. i mean, i was property to them. >> she says that you sold her. do you mind if we have a few words with you about your ex-husband? like the last three weekends. asthma doesn't affect my job... you missed the meeting again last week! it doesn't affect my family. your coughing woke me up again. i wish you'd take me to the park. i don't use my rescue inhaler a lot... depends on what you mean by a lot. coping with asthma isn't controlling it. test your level of control at asthma.com, then talk to your doctor. there may be more you could do for your asthma.
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for most of her life, minh says she has lived in unimaginable pain. at age 11, she says she was sold for cash by her father and then as a teen by a jealous mother. >> it wasn't until i was about 20 where i thought that i was going to -- i needed to either kill myself and end my life or get out. i was going to uc berkeley.
i was actually building relationships with people. and i could start telling them things. >> it's a shocking story. >> josh downer met minh at a support group for adult survivors of sexual abuse. he says it wasn't easy for minh to escape her parents' control, but little by little the friendship she developed empowered her to start saying no. >> they said jump and she was trained so brutally to say how high that it kind of continued even after they stopped, you know, literally physically forcing her to do things. >> by her sophomore year after a year of therapy, minh wrote her parents an e-mail warning them never to contact her again. she wrote, "i will call the district attorney and you can explain why it is okay to rape, beat and enslave your daughter." to collaborate the story, msnbc spoke with her therapist, a well respected therapist and specialist who counsels victims
of sexually bus. abuse. he's treated minh for more than five years and says she's completely credible. to date, minh has decided not bring charges against her parents. but our producer decided to seek them both out to get their side of the story. >> so do you mind if we have a few words with you about your ex-husband? >> yes, what on tv? >> can i come here? yeah. >> we found minh's mom at her nail salon before she opened for business. she invited us in. minh's mom confirmed that her husband had a violent temper but she says she never witnessed minh being sexually abused. >> minh is a 4.0 student from high school, right? >> all straight from elementary straight through high school. >> we talked to the teacher. she's a state soccer champion, right? she got into berkeley and really good student and all her teachers thought she was a very, very good student. they all said to me, minh is not a liar. >> she's very honest, anything.
but about take her, her father take her to the coffee shop, make the money for financier, i don't believe that. >> why would minh lie about that? >> i don't know. maybe brought her about that but i don't believe it. but possibly maybe when he's drunk, maybe he takes it when to her, i don't know. i don't know about that. i'm not, you know, like 100% sure about that but i want to talk to her. my son want to talk to her so we can -- i put him to the jail, not her. if i know that's the truth. >> minh's mom claims until she sent the e-mail, she had no inkling any abuse occurred. said her dad was a good father and confirmed minh's assertion that he often bought prostituted. >> she loved that. so he can pay to make that sex. even he went vacation with me he went out to pay for sex. i tell you that but he will not sell his daughter. he will not sell his daughter. he can die for his daughter, his son but not sell his daughter
but he's not good to the wife. the wife is slave. the wife have to listen. >> during our interview, minh's mom shed many tears describing an unhappy marriage she couldn't leave for financial reasons and adamantly denied minh's charges that she sold her daughter. but minh's mom did make this admission. >> i believe she, he never sell her. but possibility when he drunk, maybe he rape her not asking her to give him sex. no, that's a possibility but i don't know. but when i heard that -- >> do you think it's possible that he raped her more than once? >> i don't really know. >> we caught up with minh's father outside his apartment. he seemed to be expecting us. >> we did an interview with your daughter, minh. >> uh-huh. >> and with your wife, actually. and wanted to know if you would sit down and talk to us about -- >> i don't know what happened to my daughter. i love her all my heart and -- you might not believe me, but
talk to my son and he will tell you what story is. i love her all my heart. you know? i don't know what to think anymore so -- >> yeah. so she -- we interviewed her and she said that you -- do you know what i'm going say? >> yes. she already send me an e-mail some time ago. i don't know what happened. >> so you didn't sexually abuse her? >> no. if you don't believe me, talk to my son. >> okay. but your wife said it's possible that when you were drinking -- >> my wife said that? >> we interviewed your wife. >> no, that never happened. >> and what did minh's dad have to say about the accusations of him prostituting his daughter? she said that you sold her as -- that you sold her to other men and that you -- >> that's, you know, that's very terrible. i don't think that's true, not true at all. you talk to my son.
>> okay. >> talk to my son. i can talk to your son. that's fine. but -- >> because, you know, i'm the person being accused. so no matter, i say, okay? >> that's why i want to talk to you. >> you might not believe me. >> right. >> talk to another person, you know, who live in the house. >> right. >> and if my wife say that's possible, i don't know why she'd say that because we're divorced for two, three years. >> right. and she also said, that you know, she said it's possible when you were drunk, you were very violent and had a bad temper. >> i have a short temper, yeah. sometimes i tell my son to shut up. my daughter to shut up because they argue, argumentative. >> right. >> that's it. >> but you never beat her. >> i never beat her. >> you never hit your daughter. >> i never hit my daughter. >> you never had sex with your daughter? >> no. okay? look at my eye. i say, no, i never do such a thing as that. >> over and over minh's father insisted we speak to his son to support his side of the story. do you have his cell phone number?
he became noticeably nervous when we asked for his son's cell phone number and collapsed, hands shaking so hard he could barely hold his phone. >> i don't know what to think, what to do anymore. you know? >> do you have any idea why she's not -- >> i don't know. >> angry with you. >> she's angry because we're divorced or something. the family problem. >> she stopped talking to you, you had not been divorced yet. >> no. my wife left me, yeah. that, too. that the family were breaking apart so that's the time that she started getting weird. >> so one way to clear this up really quickly is if i can get access to your bank records to show, you know, because minh says you made a lot of cash selling her. >> oh, man. right now i don't know what to think anymore. you know? >> okay. >> very sad for me.
i've been crying for the last three years because i couldn't see my daughter. >> if your daughter wants to pursue a federal case against your husband -- >> i will help her if she do, honestly. my son help her, too. if he is. >> do you believe her then? >> if she do, i want her to do it. i want her to bring my ex out. but i don't know anything about, about, you know, to the sex at all between him and her but she cannot say i know i let my ex do it with minh. she cannot say i am once the same side with my ex. let her do it then. if the say that. >> then your daughter -- then the girl you raised is a liar? >> i think girl is a liar if she told i know about it. i don't know anything about my, between her and my ex. whatever, the business they do. i don't know. the only thing i don't know about that. but -- >> but you're sure -- you don't know about them but somehow you're sure that he didn't sell her.
>> i never, i believe he never sell her. we don't need that money. we have more than that money. >> would you be willing to give us your financial records then? >> of course. >> to track for the last 15 years would you be willing -- >> i'm willing to do. >> after the interview, minh's mom promised to turn over bank statements to prove there was no extra cash coming into the family during the period that minh says she was prostituted. >> tomorrow, you can come tomorrow. >> all right. when we returned, minh's mom's attitude had changed dramatically. >> you told know come back at 9:00. >> but i said, but you know, whatever. i need to see your card, you know, your business card. and then permission, you know, i ever let you do that. >> we never got nose those financial records or an opportunity to speak with minh's brother to confirm or deny minh's allegations against their parents. after promising more access, neither parent would speak to us again.
none of this surprises minh. >> because they really didn't keep me in a hole and in a box, i was able to get out and i was able to see that there was another life out there. >> with remarkable inner strength and years of therapy, minh put her path behind her and dove headlong into outreach work aimed at helping victims of sexual slavery. in 2013, her work landed her at the white house to accept an awards of a champion of change. >> we have mingh who is an advocate. don't sell bodies in berkeley, california. >> don't sell bodies is an initiative that works to advocate on survivors of human trafficking. my background is from southeast asia. people often assume i was trafficked there. to be able to say i'm an asian. american trafficked here in the united states by my own family, it shows people can go beyond the traumas that they suffer. >> minh says it's critical we
don't mince words about this issue. >> we need to call it slavery and not human trafficking. this really is slavery and trafficking is a word for the slave trade. so there are no girls hiding down here? >> no, ma'am. nobody. nobody hiding. ted have hail damage to their cars. ted is trying to get a hold of his insurance agent. maxwell is not. he's on geico.com setting up an appointment with an adjuster. ted is now on hold with his insurance company. maxwell is not and just confirmed a 5:30 time for tuesday. ted, is still waiting. yes! maxwell is out and about... with ted's now ex-girlfriend. wheeeee! whoo! later ted! online claims appointments. just a click away on geico.com. le le store and essentially they just get sold something. we provide the exact individualization that your body needs. before you invest in a mattress, discover the bed clinically proven to improve sleep quality. when we actually lower the sleep number setting to
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here's what's happening. all nine teenagers missing from a new mexico ranch for troubled youth are safe and sound. the amber alert for them was canceled but authorities aren't saying much about where they were tound found and what condition they were in. ranch has been under investigation for abuse al faces. the senate adjourned sunday session without reaching a deal to end the government shutdown and increase the debt ceiling. democratic and republican leaders continue to negotiate over a plan to end the showdown. back to msnbc "under cover." with minh's story in mind,
we traveled an hour north to the streets of san francisco to document one of the most progressive and successful efforts to curtail modern day slavery. it's cocktail hour and ed walsh from the city's human trafficking task force is just getting started for the night. >> we're conducting establishments of massage salons in san francisco. and what we are looking for is possible victims of human trafficking, women under 18 years of age and maybe forced to work in the massage parlors. >> walsh's target, the 51 remaining massage parlors licensed through the health department that city officials suspect employ trafficked women. >> people are being held against their will and being raped in essence, dozen plus times a day. it is a disgrace and very real. >> for the last five years, the mayor gavin newsom empowered city investigators to move in and raid massage parlors looking
for evidence to shut them down. >> i have looked down stairs in the basement, i have seen where people are literally being held against their will. in essence, becoming sex slaves in a city like san francisco, one of the wealthiest cities in the united states. >> in 2004, san franciscans were shocked when a federal investigation targeting massage parlors uncovered an illegal sex trafficking ring in the bay area. >> out of 11 brothels, approximately 100 women were recovered. >> health department. massage? >> no. >> how come you have the signs still? >> since 2004, walsh has shed over 100 pounds. and san francisco has shed 24 illegal massage parlors operating as modern-day brothels. where women suspected of being trafficked live in spaces unfit for animals just blocks from the san francisco's glittering tourist attraction. >> in my opinion we have made a big impact on the human trafficking and prostitution in
these parlors of san francisco. >> just how do the parlors operate? walsh says the minute a client is buzzed in, 60 to 100 goes to the house. >> hi. have you been here before? >> no, i haven't. >> okay, it's $60. >> how much? >> $60. >> okay. >> and then you can tip. >> yeah, absolutely. >> those tips investigators say involve compensation for sex acts. and it's money the girls generally keep. >> you get to pay a certain fee to talk to a girl. you walk in. there will be five or six girls sitting on a couch. they'll be improperly dress, real low cut dresses, real short skirts, high heels. >> the first downtown target is a parlor with numerous complaints from neighbors. >> approximately like two months ago we conducted an inspection based on a complaint of a hidden compartment or trapped door in this facility and girls were being held in that basement.
and being used as sex slaves. >> walsh says officers scoured every corner of the parlor and found nothing. then, a detective noticed something odd about a closet in the hallway. >> stepped out of the closet and there was a rope, a blue rope connected to a trap door and he pulled it open and lo and behold, this was the space where there were -- girls were being hidden. >> investigators found half a dozen mattresses and personal lockers and then to the investigators' shock, a man they suspected was a john and a girl. >> you see this picture here? there was a ladder, went down in the basement. there were all these mattresses. it was obvious there was illegal activity going on. this girl is -- not right. she should not be in the basement of this facility. where it's really inhabitable. >> authorities ordered the owners to seal the hiding place
but with so much cash at stake, the only way to guarantee compliance are these raids. >> you got the main and front door and the side door. >> with the inspectors at the ready including chief inspector -- >> i'll take the side door. >> -- the team prepares for the ability that the women and patrons will run and hide. >> you want mario to walk in the front door? because they don't know him. >> hello, how are you doing? >> with the decoy enters, health inspectors emerge, some girls scatter to don their white coats to hide risque attire but the six-inch high heels clearly indicate to officials there's more being offered here than a standard, therapeutic massage. >> hello. how are you doing, danny? >> to their surprise, the manager danny doesn't put up a fight. >> slow business. >> he just welcomes everyone in. inspectors find minor violations. >> hi. >> that one. also that one. >> danny complains openly to officers about the lack of
business. >> how many girls you got here today? >> i have only four. >> four? >> it's just four working tonight. that's it. >> and ensures investigators he had nothing to hide. remember that secret, understood underground room? >> everything blocked. that's just a towel. they don't do it anymore. >> there's no hole anymore? >> no, ma'am. >> with nobody living there underneath anymore? >> no. >> do you know that they blocked it up? >> yes, everything blocked because the inspector come back. check already. see? no more. >> but the experienced police officers who have been here before aren't buying it. >> i think there's some place they're working on but they don't have it ready to go yet. last time we saw this, the tar carpet. it looked like it was cut so you take this box out, last time. pull up the carpet and then
there was a trap door and open up the trap door and go down stairs into the basement. >> what does this tell you when you see -- >> they were in a hurry to leave, eater in a hurry to get out or weren't fully clothed and running to get their white coats on before they came in. >> because that's required, right? >> right. so you just don't know. >> walsh doesn't want to take any chances and presses the manager on whether that hiding place has been sealed as ordered by city inspectors. >> yeah? you want to show it to us? show it to us. let's go down there. come on. let's go take a look. >> danny takes the investigator to the former hiding place outside the building and down the stairs. >> you took all the mattresses out of here, too, huh? >> we threw everything away. >> took everything away, huh? what are these for here? >> these are empty. >> you have names on here.
>> had stuff, yeah. >> walsh finds the same lockers that were filled with personal items during their first inspection. >> we found that there was all these cabinets with girls' names on them. and personal belongings of these different girls that at one time lived there or at one time were hidden there. >> but even though the girls and mattresses are gone, the manager refuses to admit that girls live there. >> see? everything's blocked. >> right there. >> yeah. >> and offers yet another thin explanation. >> why was a girl down here? >> looking for stuff. >> looking for her stuff? >> yes, sir. >> she had a friend. she was not even working here before. she go looking for her stuff and then she goes home. >> she was looking for her stuff and then she went home. >> when we came down here, back here two days later, right? we did. we came back here two days later and she was still down here. >> no, no. >> yes. >> i have no idea. >> she was still down here. >> sorry, i don't know. >> you were not here? >> huh-uh.
>> why was she here? two days later? >> she left already. >> we saw her already. >> no, no, no. they go looking for her stuff but we throw everything away. >> what's really weird, when she came out of trapped door, she said everything was fine. like, you know, i'm not in trouble. i'm in fine. i'm here on my own volition. down here with my friend and we're having fun. it's like, this is not right. this is how you have fun in the basement of massage establishment? >> so there are no girls hiding down here? >> no, ma'am. nobody. nobody hiding. >> nobody's having sex upstairs? >> no, we don't. >> what are they doing? >> massage. need to have a job, working. now everything, no job working. everything business slowly. >> but why -- >> san francisco no more job. we have to move. i think everybody have to move to houston. work in houston. >> why would you have a trapped door?
>> because we blocked here, >> clearly walsh isn't going to get the manager to confess but the team does take satisfaction in the manager's claim about the task force's impact. >> business is bad in the ma sha massage industry. he has to move out. he can't pay. there's no business. >> i just hope that -- saying that massage business is no longer good in san francisco. >> yeah. >> they ran out of here in a hurry. ♪ 'i'll be gone...' ♪ 'in a day or...' man: twooooooooooooooooo! is that me, was i singing? vo: not paying for scheduled maintenance feels pretty good. no-charge scheduled maintenance now on every new volkswagen. that's the power of german engineering some kind of...
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adapted. >> they're getting smarter. they're no longer in the massage establishments but condominiums. they're doing the alcohol services. online now. >> i've been here 56 years and we never seen anything like this. >> 72-year-old emily baldoki looked out the window one night and realized that one of the houses on the quiet, residential street had become a brothel. >> i always go to bed around 11:30 and looking out the house saw four young men coming out from the house. >> after a month of strange men keeping late hours and an active vandalism, police moved in and raided the house. >> there were eight of them, eight girls. they were all young girls. >> complaints in residential areas like these move the task force further and further from downtown san francisco to unassuming looking store fronts
that advertise themselves as acupuncture or health spas. when the task force moves in, male clients make a quick exit anxiously avoiding our camera. >> hello. health department. can you come out for a second? thank you. >> okay. >> even though officers know that sexual activity takes place, they don't have the authority to make arrests. inspectors are there to strictly enforce health codes including attire and licensing. >> every girl that had a permit met all the health department requirements. the place, general sanitation is actually pretty good there. but here we are. tuesday night, 9:00. in the evening. people, most people at home getting ready for work, getting ready to hit the sack. this massage parlor is full. >> the next stop for the task force is a parlor that officials repeatedly cited for illegal female workers and -- >> did you see this?
>> a secret hiding place behind the laundry room. >> it's a living quarters. >> so johnson, what is this? >> this is an illegal living quarters. unapproved room. >> how many people do you think live back here? >> i would say about four or five of them. there's another bed. >> where? >> sofa, out there. >> at the time, the women deny knowing anything about the beds. so you don't sleep back there? >> no. i don't sleep there. >> as investigators pull up to the health club, it is clear the owners have been warned. six women go running out of the spa and they shut off their lights. >> can i talk to you both? do you guys work for h and b? >> what? >> do you work for h and b? >> no. >> yes? >> what are you running for? >> what happened? >> where are you guys going? >> no. i go buy something. >> yeah? >> yeah.
>> you're not coming from h and b? >> i don't know. you can go. i go to buy something for food. >> okay. >> yeah. thank you. >> yeah. >> what happened? >> i don't know. >> they left their -- somebody left their jacket here. they ran out of here in a hurry. they left their jacket. they must be cold. nobody's there. >> the only people left in the spa are two men, one that walsh identifies as the manager denies knowing what happened. >> see, that's what i don't understand. you told me they're going to dinner. they said they're buying some food and leaving. they said they just came from the store. >> i don't know. >> neither do i. >> dr. ojo finds the hidden room which is now empty. >> it had a lot of mattresses on the floor. >> so where do you think the girls are living now? >> i have no idea. they're not here. doesn't look like it.
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from san francisco's sleepy residential row houses to secret underground rooms just blocks from the city's most exclusive real estate, officials say young women and girls have been forced into an unbearable life of sexual servitude. >> come on out. health department. >> for the last five years, raid after raid, this massage parlor has been cited for numerous violations where the evidence of sex for sale is obvious. >> this is one of the most blatant places in the whole list of massage parlors in san francisco where they just disregard the law and they don't want to comply with the law. they don't care. this is a pretty bad place. >> built like a prison fortress with hidden cameras around the block and managers vigilantly
watching six monitors inside, getting the decoy in is easy. the element of surprise is not. >> manager gave the signal of the police and health department was here and they all scramble. >> in tonight's game of cat and mouse, officers gain the upper hand. they flush three women from behind a wall. >> come on. >> stand right there. >> officers spot a nervous woman who they suspect is illegal. >> what language do you speak? do you speak english? little bit? okay. >> do you have a license? >> no, i have permit. >> you have permit? >> why are you hiding? why are you hiding? there's no reason to run away if you have a permit. >> they were freaking out.
>> one of the american girls who says she's from hawaii tried to explain to a vice officer what happened. >> she told me the doorbell rang, they looked in the camera and started screaming. so one of the girls grabbed arms and said let's go, let's go. she said she didn't know why, she said she'd never been in the wall before. >> the doctor seems amused but not surprised. this is the mirror on the wall. behind the mirror is a hole carved into the wall where you open it and discover the hole there. inside there is a very tight space and probably take about seven people but today we only found three. >> and this is not the first hiding place we found at this establishment. right? >> not at all. >> in 2007, investigators found 12 beds and personal belongings in a three-foot crawl space which is now boarded shut.
the notion that trafficked girls live in hidden crawl spaces is not new to officer joe fong. >> this rate pretty high, i would have to say. this is ingenious. probably one of the best hiding spots they have because the hole is so small you wouldn't people -- you wouldn't expect people to climb in and out of it. basically, you know, i just came to know that they have a lot of hiding spots so i just start, you know, moving boxes and looking at different places, like behind you, i don't know. if you see, that shoe was in the middle of the floor. and the other one was -- in one of the rooms so it comes -- i was led to believe that somebody literally ran out of her shoes. and ended here. and then, i noticed there's a gap here. usually mirror is just right against the wall and there's gap
here and obviously a hinge here. >> what did you see? >> i flash a light in here and i see a little bit of human body parts, like a shoulder or something like that. >> one of the girls trembles during the interview. her story constantly changes. after initially telling police she lives in southern california, she later reveals a utah driver's license. an hour later, she tells inspector walsh she is actually living upstairs. >> tonight where are you going to go? >> tonight? >> yeah, when -- tonight when the massage parlor closes, where are you going to go? where are you going to sleep tonight? >> tonight? let me over there, next door. >> next door? >> yeah. in the apartment over there. >> oh. >> yeah. >> but after confronting the girl about luggage found at the massage parlor, a fellow masseuse makes a third claim, that she is just visiting and arrived last night.
>> how long have you worked here? >> she came yesterday. >> just yesterday? >> yeah. yesterday. >> i have permit. >> do you have a permit? license? >> once of the officers thinks he recognizes her from an earlier inspection where they found her hiding in a hidden basement accessed by an 18 by 18 inch hole in the floor at a different parlor. >> one of those girls seems really nervous. >> yes. she was the very one we saw at the pigeon hole the last time. >> the team calls in a vietnamese translator who discovers that the nervous girl is not from utah but orange county. she has a green card and has been in the country for 15 years. vice lieutenant mary petri is not surprised. >> it is not atypical. there are many of these commercial establishments that you have hiding places, hidden stairwells, mirrors that open. we find that frequently. it's an indicator of potential
trafficking victims who are being hidden so it's up to us to determine whether this person is in the situation where they need assistance. >> officers say unfortunately even if a girl is clearly in trouble or working under threat, she will rarely leave with them. >> i mean, we're getting women out of the wall. what does that tell you? >> with painful stories like minh's, san francisco's human trafficking task force keeps the pressure on the criminals to make a profit out of sexual enslavement. as for minh, her work has just begun. >> we are working on engagement, advocacy, public awareness and creating public outcry. because the fubl does not put up with the fact that slavery exists, then i don't think our politicians or governments can really put up with it either.
in san francisco and in cities from coast to coast, more and more massage parlors are moving into the business of sex for sale. >> do you know what they do here? >> massage? spa? >> a house of prostitution. >> behind iron gates like these, thousands of young women from asia and all across the world are bought and sold into sexual servitude. pleasing men on the hunt for a happy ending. >> he looks like he got what he wanted. look at that. >> this isn't just one or two girls. these are thousands and
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