Owner of Downtown massage parlor taught employee to perform sexual acts, advertised them online

Photo: wlwt.com


Cincinnati — The owner of a Downtown massage parlor taught an employee to performing sex acts on clients and advertised those sexual services on the now-shuttered trafficking hub Backpage.com, according to a complaint filed Oct. 3 in Hamilton County court.

Fifty-five-year-old Lihua Ren, who runs Lif Massage on West Ninth Street, stands charged with compelling and promoting prostitution at her business, which the city also moved to have designated a nuisance property. She was arrested Oct. 5 in Wayne County, Michigan, and will be extradited to Hamilton County for an Oct. 17 hearing.

According to the complaint, the Cincinnati Police Department’s Vice Squad began investigating Lif Spa LLC in early 2018 after having spotted advertisements for the business on Backpage.com — a Craigslist-a-like frequently used to advertise illegal services — the year before.

Informants on two separate occasions reported one masseuse attempted to “sexually gratify” them during massages; when interviewed, the masseuse told police Ren had instructed her to “make her customers ‘happy'” and personally trained her to perform the sexual massages.

In addition filing charges against Rep, the city of Cincinnati requested an injunction preventing anyone but investigators from entering the massage parlor until the end of the case.

Lif is the sixth local massage parlor shut down due to a trafficking investigation in 2018, according to a news release from Sgt. Arthur Schultz. Vice Squad officers also shuttered Ning Jing Oasis Spa in Madisonville, House Massage in Northside and Magic Hand Massage, Yu Spa and Nova Bodywork, all in Westwood.

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