Online reviews of hookers help bust prostitution ring

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SEATAC, Wash. - More than 40 King County Sheriff’s Office detectives recently raided three businesses in SeaTac and Burien, breaking up what they called a huge human trafficking and prostitution ring.

One of the businesses, the Royal Orchid Nail Salon on South 200th Street, advertises manicures on the front door.  But building manager Don Liberty said he has had questions about what was really happening inside.

“Since when do you need ‘appointment only’ for a nail place, as they called it,” said Liberty.

Liberty had the proof he needed when dozens of officers arrived to shut it down. 

“There was a whole bunch of police here. I can’t remember how many there were, and that’s when I first found out.  I didn’t know anything was going on here.  I suspected it, but I couldn’t prove it,” said Liberty.

According to police documents, undercover detectives visited the Royal Orchid, Zen Remedy and Adam and Eve Hair Salon on multiple occasions.

 The detectives detailed in their reports that they were repeatedly offered sex in exchange for money.

  Their experiences matched closely with the online reviews posted on RubMaps.com, a subscription review site that includes not only the names of the prostitutes, but rankings of their services.

The reviews are now part of police evidence, according to Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

“Yelp is something we go on to do a restaurant review. You have one for prostitutes?  Terrible,” said West.

"Do they not know the police are looking at this stuff?” asked KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy.

“You know, that’s really interesting. We look at everything. We use every resource we can,” said West.

Lewis Davis, who works near the Royal Orchid, called it a “whorehouse.”

 “It really is.  It’s been one for years.  Everybody knows about it,” said Davis.

 Davis said he’s glad it’s finally been shut down.

 “I wish it hadn't been here.  It draws bad customers our way,” said Davis.