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Sioux Falls man under investigation for human trafficking following sex sting operation

Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 1:10 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Police in Sioux Falls are investigating a man for possible human trafficking charges after a sex-sting operation led to his arrest on prostitution charges.

Officers arrested 47-year-old Willie Charles Whitman Tuesday, according to police spokesperson Sam Clemens.

According to an arrest affidavit, police began investigating the case in mid-June when they received a report of a sign in southwest Sioux Falls offering a massage at a price that was “extremely low” compared to legitimate massage therapists. A few days later, police received a tip from someone who went to the massage parlor saying they were offered “special” services, though that person declined the offer.

The affidavit identified the business as Yin Yang Asian Relaxation Spa. Detectives soon learned Whitman was listed as the owner of the business.

Police began conducting surveillance at the business. On June 21, officers saw Whitman pick up two women at the parlor. The officers followed him as he brought the women to a Sioux Falls hotel. Police later determined the women stayed at the hotel for only one night in a room paid for by Whitman.

On June 28, police performed a sting operation at the massage parlor. According to the affidavit, an undercover officer made arrangements for a massage at the parlor. During the massage, the female masseuse offered the officer special services. When the officer asked what she meant by special, the woman named different sexual acts, each with an additional charge. The officer declined the offer.

Detectives say Whitman had been outside the parlor during the operation. After the undercover officer left, Whitman entered the business, then left with the woman.

Whitman is facing charged with pimping and practicing massage without a license. Clemens said police are also investigating him for possible human trafficking.

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