Victims of alleged human trafficking ring that ensnared Robert Kraft were forced to live in massage parlors and perform sex acts, according to police

robert kraft3/6/15 Robert Kraft at the UN Women For Peace Association International Women's Day Celebration. (NYC)Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/AP

  • Robert Kraft was charged Friday with two counts of soliciting prostitution. He denies he broke the law.
  • The arrest was part of the bust for a large-scale human trafficking and prostitution in Florida that involved multiple spas and massage parlors.
  • According to police, women lived in the parlors and were coerced into having sex for money.
  • 173 people have been charged with crimes in relation to the ring.

The charging of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft Friday was part of a bust for a large-scale human trafficking and prostitution in Florida. Within the ring, women were trafficked and coerced into working as prostitutes in 10 different spas and massage parlors, according to the Vero Beach police department.

The victims were forced to live in the spas for days, and sometimes months, "for the purpose of sexual servitude," according to the charges. Many of them came from China on temporary work visas, believing they'd get legitimate jobs in the United States, Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey said in a press conference.

"These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can't leave and they're performing sex acts," he said. "Some of them may tell us they're OK, but they're not."

The police did not identify the number of women considered victims in the trafficking ring. Authorities charged at least 173 people for crimes ranging from human trafficking to soliciting prostitution. Six people are charged with running the ring.

robert kraftREUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution. In a statement, he denied that he broke the law.

"We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity," his spokesperson said. "Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further."

Read more: Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with 2 counts of soliciting prostitution

The police investigation, which included multiple agencies, began in August. It was triggered by "numerous complaints" by concerned citizens, as well as online reviews, according to a Jupiter Police Department case file reviewed by INSIDER.

The Jupiter Police Department received a warrant to install surveillance video in a massage parlor in January. In the videos, police officers said, they witnessed men groping and performing oral sex with women, without condoms, and paying them afterwards in cash.

Police found evidence that the victims lived in the spas and parlors. In one routine health inspection, the inspector found bedsheets, suitcases, and other signs that people lived inside.

According to police, the victims averaged eight clients a day.

"These women were sleeping in massage parlors, on the massage tables and had no access to transportation," Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said in a press conference Tuesday. "If you do the math, that is about 1,500 men a year, with no days off."

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