Recently, three different massage parlors in Fort Collins have been shut down as police investigate reports of alleged human trafficking.
Sixty-year-old Chong Sullivan was arrested on Oct. 29 on charges of pimping within her business, FTC Massage.
In the past year, two other owners of different massage parlors were also arrested on similar accounts and pleaded guilty to pandering in a plea agreement.
“Recognizing the victimization of some of these girls that are forced to live and work at these shops is a high priority of the city,” said Nick Christensen, executive officer at the Larimer County Sheriff’s Department.
Both FTC Massage and Chinese Massage have shut down permanently since being placed under investigation.
In Fort Collins there are five, possibly more, alleged erotic massage parlors, according to rubmaps.com, a website which has noted explicit comments detailing acts of prostitution at certain massage parlors.
The website offers detailed ranking and comment sections about the women that are allegedly forced to work at the parlors. Despite police awareness, the website is still up and running.
Parlors in Loveland also allegedly harbor illegal activities associated with human trafficking and were also listed on the website.
Aubrey Anderson, a Fort Collins massage therapist from Advanced Health Care Physical Medicine, witnessed odd occurrences and heard stories about a Loveland massage parlor she thought about renting space near.
According to Anderson, the parlor employees were seen carrying multiple mattresses into the building upon first moving in, along with other suspicious actions.
Within the Larimer County Sheriffs Office and Fort Collins’ Police Department, phone calls from shocked victims, websites and local business owners alert investigators to alleged hotspots of activity.
“It’s really a human trafficking problem at places like the massage parlors or the Plaza Hotel,” Christensen said.
The Plaza Hotel off Mullberry St. near I-25 has been investigated for prostitution in addition to other crimes. More than two-hundred calls have come in to police in the past year alone. According to Christensen, the Sheriffs department patrols the area next to the hotel 24/7.
Bo Stephenson has stayed at the hotel for three weeks while he works as a side contractor on a project off Vine Street.
Stephenson said that while staying at the Plaza Hotel, he was woken up by a man beating on the door next to his room. He went out to ask what was going on.
“Call 911, dude my roommate just died,” he remembers the man saying. “Then there was fire department and like six sheriff cars. They cuffed the dude bangin’ on doors while they searched his room to make sure there was no foul play involved. I wish I had never opened the door.”
Stephenson also complained about the hotel ranging from concerns of mold and weak locks on the door, but said the hotel is worth it because of the price.
“It’s easier for me to just stay here,” Stephenson said. “I get $15 an hour so it’s cheaper than gas. It’s only $245 a week.”
Beyond the Plaza Hotel, this part of Larimer County is notorious for criminal activity, according to Christensen.
“It’s really been a concentrated effort to clean up that part of town,” Christensen said. “The Plaza Hotel’s liquor license renewal request was denied just recently because of the many problems that have been going on over there.”
Collegian Reporter Scott Fromberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org