Providence spa worker faces judge on prostitution charge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A woman who works at Providence spa faced a judge Wednesday, charged with soliciting an undercover police officer for sex.

Zhen Chun Jin, 51, of Flushing, N.Y., was arrested on a prostitution charge Tuesday night at Smilers Day Spa on North Main Street.

After receiving complaints from neighborhood residents, police launched an undercover investigation led by the city’s narcotics unit, which handles vice and prostitution.

According to Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin, the officer was solicited by Jin at about 8 p.m. Tuesday. Additional officers then entered the spa, arrested Jin and took several other workers in for questioning.

Only Jin was charged, because police said she made the solicitation. The others were later released.

Lapatin said police do not believe Jin is a licensed massage therapist. She was arraigned Wednesday and released on $1,000 personal recognizance.

The business remains under investigation. Lapatin said city and state inspectors will soon pay the business a visit to see if it was operating within code.

The major did not believe there was any human trafficking involved but could not yet confirm that.

The business was not ordered to close, according to Lapatin. It was, however, found by Eyewitness News to be closed on Wednesday. A woman who said she cleans the spa was there and confirmed it to be closed, saying the employees were probably too scared to come back to work after the raid.

Ward 14 City Councilman David Salvatore, who for years has been working to crack down on illegal massage parlors, released a statement Wednesday commending police for their work on the investigation.

“I am proud of our law enforcement officials for shutting down an illegal prostitution business last night. The Providence City Council is committed to defending the quality of life across all Providence neighborhoods, and I commend our police department for executing this important work. Businesses must play by the rules here in Providence. I will continue to push back against bad actors, especially those who exploit women and operate illegal businesses as a front for the sex trade. These business owners will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.”