NORTHAMPTON – A Quincy woman has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to five years in state prison for trafficking women for sex at illicit massage and bodyworks establishments in Western Massachusetts that were set up as fronts for criminal activity, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today, September 4.
Feng Ling Liu, age 53, of Quincy, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Hampshire Superior Court to Trafficking in Persons for Sexual Servitude (3 counts), Conspiracy to Traffic Persons for Sexual Servitude (3 counts), Transacting in Laundered Money (3 counts), Deriving Support from Prostitution (3 counts) and Keeping a House of Ill Fame (3 counts).
After the plea was entered, Judge John Agostini sentenced Liu to five years to five years and one day in state prison.
“Traffickers like this defendant continue to use illicit bodyworks establishments as fronts for criminal activity,” said Healey. “This illegal business model needs to be disrupted and we’ll continue to fight human trafficking in all its forms.”
Liu was arrested in December 2016 after a months-long joint investigation by the AG’s Office, the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office Anti-Crime Task Force, and the Northampton Police Department, with the assistance of various other local and federal law enforcement agencies, including agencies in New York. Liu was later indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury in February 2017 for these crimes.
The investigation found that Liu ran a profitable and organized criminal enterprise through illicit massage and bodyworks businesses that had been set up as fronts for human trafficking. Liu trafficked women between New York and Hadley Massage Therapy in Hadley, Feng Health Center in East Longmeadow and Massage Body Work in Framingham.
Through these businesses, Liu offered sexual services for a fee between the victims and sex buyers. Liu received most of the profits from these sexual encounters and used much of this money to keep her businesses running as well as buy jewelry, automobiles, and travel.
The victims lived in the businesses and depended on Liu for transportation, groceries and other supplies. Liu recruited women, advertised sexual services online, set up appointments, and arranged for transportation for the victims.
AG Healey has a dedicated Human Trafficking Division that focuses on policy, prevention and prosecution and includes a team of specialized prosecutors, victim advocates and Massachusetts State Police troopers who handle high impact, multi-jurisdictional human trafficking investigations and prosecutions across the state. Through the Human Trafficking Division, the AG’s Office has charged more than 50 individuals in connection with human trafficking since the law went into effect in 2012.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Vasiliades, of the AG’s Western Massachusetts Office, Special Assistant Attorney General Jeremey Bucci, Chief Trial Counsel of the Northwestern DA’s Office, and Assistant Attorney General Natalie Hoch, with assistance from the Northwestern DA’s Office, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office, and the Northampton, West Springfield, Sunderland, Salem and Framingham Police Departments. Senior Financial Investigator Eugene Griffin of the AG’s Office, Victim Witness Advocates Megan Murphy and Rebecca Quigley from the AG’s Office, the Queens and New York DA’s Offices, the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the FBI Boston Division, and Massachusetts Department of Correction also assisted.