HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - State prosecutors have gotten a restraining order against a chain of massage businesses that they say are actually running a human-trafficking operation.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall's office said Friday that it had been granted a temporary restraining order to keep TY Green's Massage Therapy Inc. from conducting business in the state.
The company's owner, Yuping Tang, and her daughter, Jiao Liu, have businesses in Huntsville under the names Health Massage and Massage Foot Care. They also operated Massage Foot Care businesses in Madison and Decatur.
All of their assets have been frozen, and the court appointed a receiver to take control of the businesses until a preliminary injunction hearing could be held.
Tang and Liu are accused of using the massage businesses as front for a human trafficking operation. Marshall said Chinese employees were forced to work long hours, and some were expected to engage in sex acts with customers.
The employees were kept in houses that Tang and Liu own, and forced to eat and sleep in terrible conditions, prosecutors said.
The restraining order is the first civil action taken under the new civil enforcement provision to Alabama's human trafficking law. Marshall said the civil action was important to keep Tang and Liu from moving and hiding victims, as well as to stop them from disposing of or transferring assets.
Marshall's office said he has asked the court to permanently shut down the operation and award monetary damages to the victims.