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Rockville massage parlor busted for running 'house of prostitution,' female owner charged

Emily Zhang Lawrence (Photo: Montgomery County Police Dept.) and{ }Reflexology Spa (Photo: Kevin Lewis/ABC7)
Emily Zhang Lawrence (Photo: Montgomery County Police Dept.) and Reflexology Spa (Photo: Kevin Lewis/ABC7)
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A four-month undercover police investigation, which relied on a GPS tracker and interviews with 60 men, led to the closure of a massage parlor located near Montgomery College.

Business owner, Emily Zhang Lawrence, 47, of the 18900 block of Birdseye Drive in Germantown, is charged with a number of criminal counts including human trafficking and prostitution.


In February, the Montgomery County Police Department's Vice and Intelligence Unit received an online tip alleging Rose's Spa was offering sexual services to male customers. The tipster further claimed that the spa recruited its masseuses — all Chinese immigrants — from Flushing, New York. The Queens neighborhood is known for being a hub for the human trafficking of Asian women, police note.

Two days after receiving the online tip, undercover detectives camped outside of Rose's Spa, located at 15912 Frederick Road. The detectives watched as a maroon Honda Odyssey minivan pulled into the parking lot. A female driver and six female passengers exited the vehicle and entered the spa.

Investigators ran the minivan's license plate number, which produced Lawrence's name. They then entered the 47-year-old in the Maryland State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT) database and found she owned several residential properties in Montgomery County, including a condo located at 19517 Gunners Branch Road in Germantown.

In mid-March, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Burrell approved a search warrant, allowing cops to place a GPS tracker on Lawrence's Honda Odyssey. Police say the electronic device showed a clear, daily pattern.

Lawrence would reportedly leave her Germantown home each morning, stop at the condo on Gunners Branch Road and then drive to the spa in Rockville. Lawrence performed that routine in reverse each evening after the spa closed at 9 p.m. Police allege the condo along Gunners Branch Road served as a dormitory for the trafficked, Chinese women.

In tandem with the GPS analysis, vice detectives stopped around 60 male customers as they departed Rose's Spa between March 1 and July 19. Eighteen of those men admitted to paying for "some sort of illicit sex act." The vast majority of those candid clients confessed to seeing and/or paying Lawrence the "massage charge."

"The spa is posing as a normal business but acting as a 'house of prostitution,'" police wrote in court documents obtained by ABC7. "Emily Zhang Lawrence collects money for those illicit acts while owning/operating the spa. She has provided lodging and transportation for the workers, likely victims of human trafficking who are committing those illicit sex acts, for the entirety of the investigation. Lawrence also uses the condo unit at Gunners Branch Road, which she owns, to harbor the Asian female workers at the spa."


Rose's Spa has a 3.5-star rating on Yelp. One of seven public reviews states, in part:

"I think they are selling sex in there because a male walked in, no questions asked or money requested. They got straight to his service," Yelp user "Love D." wrote in a May 2018, review.

According to court documents, Lawrence — who was born in China — has a maiden name of Yan Qiang Zhang. She is divorced with two children.

On July 25, Lawrence was released from jail on a $7,500 (post 10 percent) bond. She faces up to 41 years in prison. Defense attorney David Martella did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.


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