A Jackson Heights spa manager is accused of coercing one of his female workers into prostituting herself for clients seeking more than just a massage, according to prosecutors.
Vajira Jayatunge, 50, of 114th Street in South Richmond Hill faced a Queens Criminal Court judge on April 19 to answer to a 10-count indictment charging him with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse.
Jayatunge manages the Nishu Salon and Spa located at 37-43 76th St. in Jackson Heights. According to Chief Assistant District Attorney John Ryan, he allegedly forced a 36-year-old woman whom he hired last year into performing various sex acts — including masturbation, oral sex and intercourse — on the clients she serviced.
Members of the NYPD Vice Enforcement Team raided Nishu Salon and Spa on April 18; 12 women worked at the establishment, prosecutors noted.
“Using threats and intimidation, the defendant in this case is accused of coercing a female worker to perform various sex acts on clients seeking massages with ‘happy endings,'” Ryan said. “The defendant allegedly profited from these added services by pocketing the money himself. This is sex trafficking and those who force women into prostitution will find themselves facing incarceration.”
According to prosecutors, Jayatunge hired the 38-year-old woman last May after an employment agency referred her to the spa. While undergoing training on how to perform massages, he allegedly forced her into stripping and touched her breast, inner thigh and genitalia.
Up until February of this year, law enforcement sources said, Jayatunge allegedly induced her into performing sex acts on clients who came to the spa, and pocketed the money she received in return.
When she tried to stop trading sex for money, authorities said, she began receiving threats via text messages. Jayatunge allegedly also threatened to tell her family about her work and have her deported.
Jayatunge was ordered held on $200,000 bail and to surrender his passport. He’s due back in court on May 1, and faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted, Ryan added.