Alleged Minot prostitution parlor shut down

Up until May 29 a now vacant building behind a local brew-pub on Third Street Southeast operated as “The Mann’s Club,” a massage parlor offering a little something on the side to its card-carrying, VIP regulars.

The business was the first “house of prostitution” to be shut down in Minot in recent memory.

A customer would come in, meet with Trina Ngyuen, a police affidavit filed by Sgt. David Goodman of the Minot Police Department asserts, and then be escorted to a locker room to take a shower. The customer would then be escorted through the dimly lit building to one of four to six separate rooms, with a bare mattress on the floor.

Today, the building has a building permit taped to its glass main door by its owner, Royal Renovations of Clear Lake, Minn. The company specializes in restoring buildings damaged by disaster events, like the 2011 Souris River flood.

Looking through the window, the floor is bare and the ceiling is industrial and warehouse-like.

When it was The Mann’s Club, nothing inside was visible from the street. Paper was taped to the inside of all the windows and no signage existed, outside a “TMC” printed on one of the sheets of paper, to advertise the business even existed.

Instead, ads like “New HOT ASIAN UlTiMaTe ReLaXaTiOn EvErYtHiNg & AnYtHiNg 21,” ran on escort classified-ad website BackPage.

According to an anonymous man referred to as “John Doe II,” one of several male customers the police spoke with, a woman was waiting for him in the room after his shower, where he was given a massage and more.

The police were tipped off in late February to the operation by a former tenant of Nguyen’s. The unidentified man reported that she had threatened to kick him out of the shop space he rented from her for his roofing company.

He told police that at least three other Vietnamese females worked for Nguyen and that she tried to convince him to become a member of the VIP club, and that the girls had sex for money and did not really give massages. At the time of the police inspection, only one woman in addition to Nguyen was on the site.

Another John Doe said that each of his visits to the club was the same, and with the same woman: “a massage followed by intercourse.” He would be asked by the woman, following the initial massage, “one, two, or three,” in which he selected “three,” presumably the highest level of additional service.

The prices for the various levels were revealed by another client from $100 to $400, depending on the sex act.

“There seems to be an increase in prostitution locally, and I can’t relate it to anything specifically,” said Lt. Jason Sundbakken, who directs the investigative unit of the Minot Police Department. “I can’t say that it’s related to oil or anything, but there does seem to be an increase in prostitution in and around town.”

Specific arrests numbers for prostitution were not available from the department immediately.

In 2011, there were 16 arrests state-wide for prostitution. That number more than doubled to 35 arrests by the end of 2012.

“There has always been a certain level of prostitution but it was on the downlow,” Sundbakken said. “In the last couple of years we have noticed it has been more prolific and a little bit more obvious. It’s not like the big cities with girls walking the streets but it’s a bit more obvious than it used to be.”

Obvious such as the blatant advertising on sites like BackPage, which is where some of the John Does interviewed said they had found The Mann’s Club. The ads would often be accompanied by young, Asian women in alluring poses, with some bare-chested.

The women allegedly servicing the customers were all of age. Human trafficking is a Class AA felony if the victims are under age, and Nguyen is only charged with a Class A felony.

“It used to be that you’d hear about prostitution and you’d hear about Chicago and Milwaukee and now many of those women are talking about western North Dakota,” Sundbakken said. “There seems to be a circuit … Not to say it’s the same girls, but it seems to be the same pattern, routine.”