Ocean Spa Massage raided for prostitution; building owner unaware

6:17 PM, Mar 22, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- Tampa Police raided the Ocean Spa Massage on Thursday after they say an undercover operation found prostitution and possible human trafficking.

"Human trafficking is the modern-day form of slavery," Chief Jane Castor said at a news conference in front of the Henderson Boulevard building.

It was enough to get a mention on an Orlando TV station, where it sure caught the attention of the building's owner who lives in Dixie County.

"My wife says, 'that's our address', and it was," said Jack Pell in a phone interview Friday.

Pell says he goes to the building every few months to change the A/C filter. Inside are cubicles and massage tables and he'd met two Korean women there. He didn't like the bright purple they'd painted the building, but he thought they were legit. However, his wife had her suspicions that something unsavory was going on.

Police have said that Pell is not involved with any wrong-doing at the building. But now that police have raided the place for prostitution, Pell wants no part of it.

"I said to my wife, there's probably 5,000 buildings in that town. Why do I have to be the one that gets a whore house in there, you know?" said Pell.

Tampa Police are still questioning three women and trying to determine if they are victims of willing participants. If they are indeed victims, they could get assistance from a federal task force on human trafficking.

So far, there have been no arrests, but a police spokesperson says this is a long-term investigation. 

"Whatever you find the first day, it always leads to more and more and more," says Andrea Davis. "And when you're talking about this type of activity, there's people at higher levels that we want to get to."

As for Pell, he says he's tired of all the trouble the building has brought and he just wants to sell it.

Follow 10 News Reporter KathrynBursch on twitter @Kathryn Bursch

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