Three women at a Sevierville massage business have been arrested in connection with a human trafficking sting conducted by a team of local and federal law enforcement.
On Wednesday, June 8, 2016, officers from the Sevier County Street Crimes Unit, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Vice Unit and U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducted an undercover operation at Chinese Pressure Massage, 732 Parkway in Sevierville. The investigation revealed that the women employed there were not licensed to perform massages in the State of Tennessee.
Three female employees identified as 55-year-old Shuyan Guan, Mingmei Zhang, 56, and 58-year-old Aihua Li, all residing on Bogart Drive near the business location, were charged with Impersonating a Licensed Professional and taken to Sevier County Jail where they were arraigned before a magistrate.
A woman who answered the phone at Chinese Pressure Massage confirmed the Sevierville massage business is closed and did not know when it would reopen.
According to Sheriff Ron Seals, this undercover operation was part of a larger human trafficking investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that is ongoing.
Those practicing massage in the State of Tennessee must be licensed through the health department’s Tennessee Massage Licensure Board. Application for a license requires a criminal background check; birth certificate; Declaration of U.S. Citizenship or proof of immigration status and right to work; completion of a minimum 500 hours of therapy curriculum at an approved school; and successful completion of an examination.
All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.