Massage parlour owner thought ‘manual relief’ was legal, court told
Nan Wu pleads guilty to controlling and directing the actions of prostitution for gain
Nan Wu received a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to controlling and directing the actions of prostitution. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times
A woman running massage parlours in Dublin who told gardaí she thought the offering of “manual relief” was legal has received a suspended prison sentence.
Nan Wu (37) of Brandon Square, Waterville, Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to controlling and directing the actions of prostitution for gain in the Dublin area in 2015.
Judge Elma Sheahan sentenced Wu to two years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence for a period of three years on condition that she keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Sergeant David Bunn told Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin BL, prosecuting, that a member of the public complained that a high number of male visitors were attending a massage parlour in Olivemount, Windy Arbour, Dublin.
Sgt Bunn called the establishment and was offered prostitution services. He obtained a search warrant and visited the business on April 17th, 2017.
He identified himself as a garda to the woman who opened the door and she showed him to the treatment room which contained a naked woman and man. The woman got dressed and then provided him with the phone number of her employer, Wu.
Wu was arrested and interviewed by gardaí. She admitted knowledge of her employees providing “sex acts for money” and told gardaí about a second massage parlour she owned in which similar acts took place.
Sgt Bunn agreed with James Dwyer SC, defending, that there was no evidence of coercion and that one of the woman working at the parlour had told gardaí “I am here of my own free will and no one has threatened me”.
Mr Dwyer said that there was no sexual intercourse taking place at the massage parlours and that those who visited “could get what might be described as manual relief”.
He said Wu had not directed her employees to engage in sex acts, but rather that they learned to do so from her other employees. She did not directly profit from the acts as her employees kept the money they earned from illegal behaviour.
Mr Dwyer said Wu had believed what her employees were doing was legal. She had once sacked an employee for having sex with a client.
He argued the lack of coercion meant the crime fell on the lower end of the scale regarding offences of this type. He said that the Criminal Assets Bureau was also bringing proceedings against Wu.
The judge said the aggravating factor in the case was the seriousness of the offence. She said the mitigating factors were Wu’s plea of guilty, her previous good character and good work history, her loss of well paid employment and her young family.
The judge noted that as a result of the Criminal Assets Bureau inquiry any benefit Wu obtained from illegality would not remain in her possession.