BRATTLEBORO — A 63-year-old Virginia woman was arraigned Tuesday on one count of appropriating earnings related to prostitution.
On Aug. 10, Pok Sun Kim, 63, was arrested at Rainbow Therapeutic Spa on Putney Road in August, after what officials described as a multi-agency investigation into human trafficking.
From May through August, states the charge against her, Kim “accepted, received, levied, or appropriated money or other valuable thing from the proceeds or earnings of person engaged in prostitution.”
If found guilty, she could be sentenced to 10 years in prison. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and was released on conditions.
In an affidavit filed in Windham Superior Court, Criminal Division, Detective Lt. Michael Studin with the Vermont State Police, Bureau Of Criminal Investigation, wrote an investigation into illegal sexual activity at the business revealed “the business was offering its customers sexual acts in exchange for money.”
Over the course of a month in the summer of 2021, 10 men leaving the spa were interviewed by police, admitting they had paid between $40 and $200 for sex at the spa, in addition to $80 for a massage.
“Regardless of the day or time, the business received a steady flow of traffic and there were times when the patrons had to wait in the lobby or were turned away because there was no woman available to service them,” states the affidavit.
According to an expired business license listed by the Vermont Secretary of State’s Office, the owner of the spa is Young Suk Seo, of Bayside, N.Y. The director of the business was listed as Kwang Nam Kim, with an address listed as 801 Putney Road, Brattleboro, the strip mall in which the spa was located.
H. Don Ahn, of Flushing, N.Y., is listed as an incorporator.
Deputy State’s Attorney Steven Brown said the investigation is ongoing. He had no comment on whether other charges will be filed in the case.
Pok Sun Kim said she had taken the $700 a week job a month before, after learning about it through an advertisement in a Korean newspaper. She also told investigators that before moving to Brattleboro, she had lived in Williamsburg, Va., for 18 years.
“Kim advised her responsibilities at the spa include answering the house phone, cleaning the spa, cooking for the women, collecting the house money from the customers, locking the door at night and unlocking the door in the morning,” Studin wrote in the affidavit.
In addition to Pok Sun Kim, three other women were in the building at the time of Kim’s arrest. The three other women were not arrested and have not been charged.
“[Kim] advised that both she and the women sleep in the spa,” wrote Studin. “Throughout the investigation, there have been no signs that the female employees ever leave the business. It is believed that the females who work inside the business also live, sleep and work inside the building and that they do not have the freedom to come and go as they please.”
Individualized prepared meals were found in a refrigerator. Investigators were told Kwang Nam Kim delivered the meals when he came to pick up money.
Also in the building, investigators found a wooden platform that was covered with a mattress pad, a few blankets and “rolled up towels that were being used as pillows” where three women slept.
“[E]ach female advised that their job responsibilities include performing massages and sex acts on the spa customers,” wrote Studin.
One of the women told Studin that at the end of the night, “the three girls would count the money from the massages, document it on the ledger, and then wrap the ledger around the money with rubber band and place the money in the drawer. … [She] also advised that she pays [Pok Sun Kim] money for food and supplies, but her rent is contingent upon working at the spa.”
During her interview, Pok Sun Kim said other than collecting the $80 fee for a massage, “she does not know what happens in the massage rooms, because it is not her job to know.”
The investigation was conducted with the assistance of the Brattleboro Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Vermont Office of Professional Development.