Two women were arrested Tuesday following raids in Jupiter and Martin County. Police say prostitution ring has connections to New York and China.

Editor's note: A third arrest of a spa owner was made Wednesday. Click here for more information.

STUART — While living and working in day spas in Palm Beach and Martin counties, at least one-half dozen women were forced to perform graphic sex acts daily, averaging eight clients a day, authorities said Tuesday in announcing arrests in a large-scale human-trafficking ring.

An eight-month investigation involving local, state and federal agencies culminated in the arrests of two women who authorities say orchestrated a prostitution ring that has connections to New York and China. Authorities arrested Ruimei Li of Jupiter and Lixia Zhu of Stuart, both 48, making one of the arrests in Palm Beach County and the other in Martin County.

They face charges that included operating a house of prostitution, deriving support from prostitution, racketeering and money laundering. Authorities say there were signs that their alleged victims were being trafficked as several women were housed at the day spas around the clock, with little or no access to their own transportation.

A Martin County detective began investigating last July after receiving a complaint from the Florida Department of Health.

Authorities did not specify whether Li and Zhu knew each other or were working together. Dozens more arrests are expected as investigators have identified about 100 men believed to have frequented local spa and massage parlors for the purpose of receiving sexual services, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said during a news conference Tuesday at his office's headquarters in Stuart.

"It's very safe to say without any hyperbole that this is the tip of the tip of the iceberg," he said.

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Under state and federal law, human trafficking is defined as soliciting, recruiting, harboring, transporting or otherwise obtaining another person to exploit him or her for labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation. An anti-human-trafficking task force was formed in 2017 by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the State Attorney’s Office and the FBI. More than two dozen people in Palm Beach County have been arrested since it was created.

Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of cases reported to the the national human trafficking hotline. Palm Beach County ranks third in Florida.

At Tuesday's news conference, Snyder noted poster boards with silhouettes representing some of the victims and and the men suspected of taking advantage of them.

"Those are everyday people in every sense of the word," Snyder said of the men. "Many of the men are married. Many of those men are ongoing relationships. They have jobs. They work. When we start making arrests, they will have their pictures up there.

Snyder was joined by several law-enforcement officials and dignitaries, including Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City, and Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr.

Moody noted that four sheriff's agencies — including those in Martin, Palm Beach, Indian River and Orange counties — were involved in the investigation, as well as three municipal police agencies. The case also involved various federal agencies.

"When you have an egregious act such as this, people should be put on notice," Moody said. "Those that partake in these types of crimes will find agencies working together hand in hand to make sure that investigations are successful."

Kerr did not take questions, but said that the cooperation between various agencies helped to bring the investigation to a conclusion.

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Snyder said the investigation began with a spa in Hobe Sound. On Tuesday, investigators raided five day spa and massage parlors stretching form Jupiter to Stuart.

Authorities said $2 million to $3 million in assets were seized during raids of the businesses. Snyder said Mandarin translators worked with authorities when the businesses were raided. As of Tuesday, investigators had identified up six potential victims of trafficking, including two who were cooperating with authorities. The victims Tuesday were being provided with temporary housing and other assistance.

A sign posted outside the door of Orchids of Asia Day Spa warned that the “unit is unsafe and its use or occupancy is prohibited.” The spa is in the Jupiter Square Shopping Center, on the southeast corner of East Indiantown Road and U.S. 1.

According to the spa's website, the business offers facials, a variety of massages and waxing. It has had an active cosmetology salon license with the state since September 2012

A police officer posted outside of the business referred a reporter's questions to a police spokesperson.