Greenfield health board shuts down massage parlor

  • The sign for Chinese BodyWork at the rear entrance of the Mohawk Mall. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Signs for Chinese BodyWork at the rear entrance of the Mohawk Mall. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 4/10/2019 6:24:53 PM

GREENFIELD — The Board of Health in partnership with local and state police shut down Chinese BodyWork, a massage parlor on Main Street in the Mohawk Mall, following an investigation that found one employee who was living in the business. 

Neither the parlor’s employees and management nor the clients of the spa have been charged with anything criminal. The business was closed on health code violations. 

Greenfield Board of Health Chairman Steve Adam said when he entered the business Tuesday morning, he saw “rampant evidence” of someone living there. 

A sink was converted into a makeshift shower, Adam said. He added he saw: a microwave, a refrigerator full of food, ripe bananas on the shelf, a box shipped to the business with food, a bed, clothing, slippers, a toothbrush and mouthwash. 

The woman working there said through a translator she had been living at the spa for the past month, Adam said. She was very polite and cooperative, he said, and was assisted to alternative living accommodations by police. Adam said he saw she had enough cash for a plane flight. 

The business was located at 91 Main St., suite 11. 

Massage parlors receive its oversight via the state and not local boards of health, typically. A complaint logged with the Greenfield Board of Health Tuesday indicated an employee was living in the business, which is a violation of the health sanitary code, a specific piece of code the board can enforce. 

Wednesday morning the board voted to consult the state Department of Public Health about whether it can regularly inspect massage parlors on a sanitary basis, which could bring more oversight to local businesses. The last time the state inspected the facility was not immediately available. 

Along with the Greenfield Police Department, the state’s anti-crime task force assisted during the investigation for the closure of the business.

“We were getting information they were basically having workers living out of there,” Police Chief Robert Haigh said. “It’s not something you can do.”

City officials interviewed did not comment directly on potential connection of the parlor to human trafficking or sexual exploitation related to its employees. 

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on whether it has any ongoing investigations into potential commercial exploitation of this business, per the department’s protocol. 

On Friday in Greenfield at a flag-raising event for child abuse awareness month, when District Attorney David Sullivan was asked about ongoing cases, he said he was not aware of any such businesses here, but said “It’s in every county. It’s just a matter of getting a word on it.” 

Haigh said Wednesday having “those types of establishments in your town is not a good thing.”

“It’s a dangerous situation to have,” Haigh said. “Unfortunately, these places pop up as fast as they shut down.”

He said the Greenfield Police do not have any ongoing investigations that he’s aware of regarding businesses that may have commercial exploitation of its workers. He encouraged residents to say something, if they know of something. 

“This is something I take very seriously,” Haigh said. “The people who are using these services as well, are in violation of the law. The best way is to not entertain that type of business in your town.” 

The region has led to an uptick in enforcement of commercial exploitation in recent years following the addition of an employee dedicated to the issue in the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. 

In October 2017, police shut down Oriental Foot Spa on Locus Street where reports said employees were living in a non-residential space and “servicing a large volume of male customers.”

The overall topic of massage parlors related to illicit activity has increased in recent months, following the bust of a spa in Florida that allegedly serviced high-profile people including the owner of the New England Patriots Robert Kraft. 

“Bob Kraft, if he is guilty, should really own up to the fact that he’s a part of the problem,” Sullivan said on Friday when asked about the football team owner. “If there are no customers, there wouldn’t be a business.” 

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264




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