Quan Chun Li, 53, is charged with promoting prostitution. Xiu Lan Chao, 50, and Fan Seong Chen, 41, are charged with practicing massage therapy without a license.
Thousands of dollars in cash was seized.
The Apex Police Department said it is working with other area law enforcement agencies on the case. It said "common persons of interest" own more than 15 massage parlors in the Raleigh/Wake County area as well as in Johnston County, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Wilmington areas.
In a statement, the department said:
"This multi-agency investigation has developed information that the Asian females are being trafficked from China after answering advertisements to come to the USA to work. The girls are then taxed and told they owe a substantial amount of money, as payment for coming to America. The females are suspected of being distributed to brothels, exotic dance clubs, and massage parlors, where they become victims of Human Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, and sexual exploitation."
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