NEWBURYPORT — Upon the early April arrest of a New York woman for allegedly providing sexual favors for a fee inside a Newburyport office building on Merrimac Street, local police feared that as soon she posted bail, she would flee the area and never appear in court.
So far, Huitong Huo, 47, of 1234 70th St., Apt. 2, Brooklyn, N.Y., has made every court appearance, including last Friday for a pretrial hearing. Her appearance in court was brief, however, as her case was continued until June 27 for another pretrial hearing.
In early April, Huo was arraigned on one charge of sexual conduct for a fee and was released on $250 bail.
Newburyport police contend that Huo was advertising her sexual services on Craigslist and other sites known to attract clients. A phone number on the red sign matched a phone number spotted on Craigslist, raising the suspicions of police as they continued their investigation.
Listed as Merrimac Bodyworks, the former massage parlor was located in one of the eight units in the professional office building known as Merrimac Landing at 150 Merrimac St. The listing included a picture of the blue wooden building, located near the intersection of Olive Street.
It is believed Huo may be a pawn in a human sexual trafficking business, which brings women to the United States for exploitation in the sex trade. Police also found evidence that there was a rotation of women being brought into the building, with customers being booked by an offsite manager named “Juanna.”
According to court documents, Huo told police she had arrived a day before her arrest, taking the bus from New York to Newburyport. Once in Massachusetts, she was met by “Juanna” and driven to the 150 Merrimac St. address, where she was given keys and told to wait for texts for appointments.