Doraville | Tiger spa shut down, woman human trafficking charge

A woman is accused of keeping a house of prostitution. It’s unclear what her affiliation with Tiger Spa is.

DORAVILLE, Ga. — A Doraville spa is shut down and one woman is now facing charges including human trafficking after someone called in a tip to police. 

The Tiger Spa sits in a small strip plaza on Pleasantdale Road. The business isn’t very visible from the street, and police said what was happening inside also remained hidden up until recently. 

Young Nelson of the Tiger Spa in Doraville is now in jail facing multiple charges, including keeping a house of prostitution.

In a social media post, DeKalb County Police said a tip about potential illegal activity pointed them to the spa on April 14. It is unclear what exactly Nelson’s affiliation with the spa is.

“I came back here and I saw a whole bunch of police cars,” said Andre Jackson.

Jackson has owned the Envy Barbershop next door for five years. He said Nelson’s arrest was shocking.

Camila Zolfaghari, an attorney and director of Street Grace, an organization that serves to advocate for sex trafficking victims, said illicit sex parlors “prey on the most vulnerable and keep them from talking.”

That’s how, according to Zolfaghari, those establishments are able to keep business going and victimize people in plain sight.

In addition to Nelson’s arrest, the Tiger Spa was also shut down for fire code violations. 

“I love that, in the case, law enforcement and code enforcement worked together — that’s one of the keys,” she continued.

Zolfaghari said this type of arrest doesn’t just happen overnight. Dekalb County has specifically made sex trafficking a priority, having different departments work together, she said.

DeKalb Police also thanked the anonymous tipster for reporting their concern in the social media post. 

According to Zolfaghari, there are several red flags common in illicit massage parlors that customers should be aware of:

  • Hours of business. Zolfaghari said most legitimate massage therapists aren’t working until midnight.
  • Whether the windows are tinted or have bars covering them, preventing you from seeing directly inside the building from outside
  • Whether you have to be buzzed in or you can only make an appointment for service by referral. 
  • Room doors that lock from the outside.
  • Whether the spa has an ATM.

“A legitimate business can (have) an ATM machine, but it’s very common in the illicit massage businesses because they want to be paid in cash,” she said.

Advocates said while sex trafficking is a major problem in metro Atlanta, since last year, they’ve seen more investigations and arrests take place. Johns Creek and Roswell, according to experts, have done well at getting rid of these types of parlors in their respective areas. 


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