BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (WREG) — An Arkansas massage parlor owner is accused of human trafficking after a woman was allegedly found locked inside her business.
On July 29, Blytheville Police responded to a disturbance at Royal Asian Massage on East Main Suite H. A woman told officers she was locked inside the business after she refused to continue to perform sexual acts on behalf of business owner Zhuo Liu, 52, from Chicago, Illinois.
Detectives worked with multiple agencies including the FBI to arrest Liu in University City, Missouri.
She was extradited back to Arkansas and charged with trafficking of persons (adult), second-degree false imprisonment, and first-degree promoting prostitution.
While the number of victims is unknown, police said none of them are from the area.
“We still shocked by it at our job. We’re just like for something like that to happen a couple buildings down from us and don’t nobody know nothing,” said Cynthia Lester who works near the business. “I don’t understand. I can just put myself in her shoes and how she felt. I can feel her pain.”
Will Sparks also works at a nearby business. He described the woman found inside the business as someone of Asian descent who spoke very little English.
“There was a lady that was brought down here with the cops and she looked scared and she didn’t know where she was exactly,” Sparks said.
Looking back, he said it was odd. Liu owned a business in Blytheville but drove to Chicago every weekend.
“She didn’t say speak very good English herself, so we would help her pay her bills whenever she needed them. She was sweet, very sweet. It just goes to show the most trusting people can be the worst people you’ll ever meet. It’s terrifying,” Sparks said.
However, for dance moms Cynthia May and Kacey Diggs, the writing was on the walls.
“We have caught her millions of times looking through the windows, our girls in there. So now we just lock the door while the girls are in the studio because it be strange men walking up through here. A semi be parked over here,” May said.
“It’s kind of nerve-wracking to know it was right next door but I just thank and praise God that all of our babies were protected,” Diggs said.
Liu was given a temporary bond of $1 million.