Renton spa employee accused of trying to coerce woman into prostitution, posing nude

Quyen T. Nguyen, 39, has been accused of attempted promotion of prostitution in the first degree and unlawful imprisonment after a 23-year-old woman was allegedly held against her will at Q Spa in Renton — and was sexually exploited before she escaped, according to court documents.

Details of the investigation by a Renton Police Department detective reveal that the victim had recently moved to Burien from Nicaragua where she had worked as a midwife and physical therapy nurse. The victim thought that she was going to work at Q Spa in Renton as a massage therapist.

According to the court documents, communication between the victim and Q Spa employees leading up to her first day were aided a translation app because the victim does not speak English. Nguyen also does not speak English.

Court documents detail several signs that the victim was in possible danger. She told police that she had been sent a screenshot of a street view image of where she lived, despite not sharing her address with the person she was communicating with when setting up her job interview, according to documents.

During the in-person interview at Q Spa, the victim was told she would have long shifts, and that employees were welcome to sleep at the business during the week, then would be given transportation home on Saturday nights. When the victim showed up for her first day of work at 9 a.m. May 24, the Q Spa manager locked her in the building, reasoning that “this business is dangerous in the United States,” according to court documents.

The victim told police that she wanted to leave and was told that she could not, under an implied threat of violence, according to documents.

It was then revealed to the victim that she was expected to pose nude for photographs, and when she refused, she was told, “it does not matter if you want to. Your life is in danger if you do not,” according to court document. The victim told police that she knew that she needed to stay calm in order to escape and that she was coerced into posing nude.

The victim was told that she was expected to work as a prostitute, according to documents.

At some point, the three women in charge at Q Spa were distracted and the victim was able to escape the building with her belongings and a plastic bag that contained a “vitamin bottle full of opened but unused condoms and a hand sanitizer bottle full of lubricant,” according to documents.

The victim fled on foot until she came to a business in the 1400 block of NE 4th Street where an employee called 911. Surveillance was then conducted at the Q Spa on June 1, where a Renton Police Department detective was able to photograph the woman that the victim later confirmed to be Nguyen.

Nguyen was arrested on June 15 after local police served a search warrant at Q Spa, and her bail has been set at $100,000. According to court documents, Nguyen “has no known ties to the community and is a flight risk.”

“The facts uncovered during the investigation of this case are very concerning,” said Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Alexandra Voorhees in the summary of the case, which was filed June 17.

At the arraignment hearing on June 30, Nguyen pleaded not guilty with the assistance of an interpretor. The omnibus hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23 and the trial is set to begin Sept. 20.