Tampa 'Madame' accused of running human trafficking, prostitution rings out of massage parlors and barbershops

A Tampa woman is accused of being a ‘Madame’ and running a human trafficking and prostitution ring in two counties.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) arrested Lina Payne, accused of luring women from Venezuela and Colombia, then forcing them into prostitution to repay debt.

Court documents show law enforcement has investigated Payne’s businesses for years, as far back as 2021, including two locations in Manatee County and two in Hillsborough County at: 

  • 3323 West Cypress St., Tampa
  • 8907 Regents Pk. Dr. #330, Tampa
  • 1417 Cortez Rd., West Bradenton
  • 7446 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

Investigators also arrested Karen McGlynn, who they say managed Jackpots Spa in Manatee County for Payne and was part of her enterprise.

"It's definitely in plain sight," said Pamela Woody, the founder of Tampa Bay Advocates Against Human Trafficking. She said massage parlors operating late at night are a red flag.

"There's a lot of bad stuff happening behind closed doors," she said.

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Investigators said Payne routinely traveled to South America. One of the survivors told investigators that Payne loaned her $40,000 to $50,000 to come to the U.S. and she would have to pay Payne back by working as a massage therapist at her spa.

The survivor had no idea what she would actually have to do for that money.

"They come here thinking that they're on the path to a better life. You know, they've been duped. They've been coerced into this life," said Woody.

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Investigators conducted surveillance and watched men enter these establishments at all hours of the day and night and interviewed many ‘Johns’ who all paid $220 for a massage and sex with the attendants.

In the arresting documents, investigators said a worker called for help from inside Latin Relaxation Massage in Bradenton in July 2023.

When officers arrived, the woman who called was gone.

In October 2023, the Manatee County Sheriff’s office conducted an operation to recover human trafficking survivors, including some from Payne’s operation. But FDLE investigators said even that didn't stop Payne.

Woody said the road to recovery for survivors will look different for everyone.

"The key is to get them into a trauma-informed environment so they're not re-traumatized beyond what they already have been through," she said.

Investigators said Payne pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars off of sex trafficking women. She's facing RICO charges along with a half dozen other charges.

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