8 Chinese prostitutes aged between 27 and 58 are arrested after a US$20 million s3x trafficking ring is busted in Florida
27th February 2019 – (Florida) Eight Chinese women living in Florida have been arrested in connection with the international s3x-trafficking sting that resulted in New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft being charged with two counts of solicitation.
Lan Yun Ma, 49, and Yaping Ren, 27, of Orlando, Lixia Zhu, 48, of Stuart, Yan Xu, 51, of Sebastian, and Ruimei Li, 48, Hua Zhang, 58, and Lei Wang, 39, all of Jupiter have all been arrested as a result of an eight-month-long investigation into a human trafficking operation.
Marin County Sheriff William Snyder said that authorities were in the process of seizing $2 million to $3 million in assets related to the trafficking scheme, and that investigators had been following as much as $20 million moving in and out of China.
‘The tentacles of this go from here to New York to China, in Florida from here [Marin County] to Orange County,’ Snyder told USA Today.
Multiple spas in Florida have now been closed, and at least 100 men and 200 people in total have been implicated in the probe which authorities said was tied to prostitution through massage parlors where women were being treated as victims rather than paid sex workers.
The women, who largely speak only Mandarin or Cantonese and no English, are believed to have come to the US on temporary work visas, finding themselves indebted to the the brokers who helped them reach America under the false belief that legitimate work awaited them.
The investigation began in July, when the Health Department tipped of a detective that there appeared to be human trafficking taking place at a massage parlor.
‘It was clear that multiple women were working and living inside the spas. They were cooking on the back steps of the business,’ Snyder said.
‘They were sleeping in the massage parlor on the massage tables.’
Vero Beach Police Chief David Currey said: ‘These girls are there all day long, into the evening. They can’t leave and they’re performing sex acts.
‘Some of them may tell us they’re OK, but they’re not. We know that… even though we may have charges on some of them, we’d rather them be victims.’
Officials have now said that a total of 13 Mandarin interpreters were speaking with the various women in the parlors.
Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter
Zhang and Wang were arrested in connection with alleged activities at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, where Kraft is accused of paying for oral and non-penetrative sex.
The Jupiter Police Department released a list of all men charged in relation to the ring, including first and last names and dates of birth, which showed Kraft as implicated.
A spokesperson for Kraft said: ‘We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity.
‘Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.’
Meanwhile the NFL has said it will handle the sex solicitation case involving Kraft as it would any other issue under the league’s conduct policy.
Owners are subject to the same rules as players, which can includes a fine and/or a suspension.
The Palm Beach County parlor was described as providing sex acts, massages and body rubs for pay from Asian women on internet forums, in posts from February 2015 to March 2018.
Video showed sex acts being undertaken inside the spa and investigators retrieved evidence of bodily fluids from within the establishment.
At least 24 other men have been charged with solicitation of prostitution at that location, alone.
East Spa & Massage and Rainbow Spa in Orlando
It was a routine inspection at the East Spa & Massage parlor that began the unraveling of this alleged international trafficking ring.
A health inspector noticed clothing, suitcases, food, bedding and other indicators that people were being housed at the spa, and reported that information to authorities.
Ma, whose address was listed as Grand Central Parkway, off John Young Parkway in Orlando, was seen by authorities buying food, water and condoms for East Spa & Massage in Winter Park, which has been closed, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
She was also captured on camera taking money from and performing sexual acts on customers, authorities said.
In November, police had placed surveillance cameras in the establishment where Ma is believed to have been responsible for day-to-day operations.
Ma is also accused of transporting women to the spa ‘for the purpose of sexual servitude.’
Beyond Ma and her sister, who remains at large, ‘none of the other woman employed at East Spa have been allowed to leave the spa on their own on a daily basis,’ authorities said.
Ma is married to Yongzhang Yan, whose address is listed as the East Spa & Massage location, but he is not yet facing charges.
Vero Beach Police Chief Currey said on Thursday that the continued investigation ‘hopefully will produce charges for [Yan],’ who was seen with Ma and Ren taking luggage and other items into the spa on December 31.
Ren was captured on camera performing at least 10 sex acts, authorities said.
Officials have described Ren as a manager at the Rainbow Spa, which is located near downtown Orlando.
The owners of East Spa & Massage and Rainbow Spa were also found to have paid for Backpage.com listings, which is a site known to advertise sex work. Both locations have been closed.
At just those two locations, Vero Beach Police Department reported at least 140 sex acts being performed for money between November 30 and January 10.
Ma has been charged with deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, engaging in prostitution and unlawful transportation for the purpose of prostitution. She also faces a racketeering charge.
Ren has been charged with engaging in prostitution, deriving support from prostitution and racketeering.
A woman named Junhua Dong, 50, of Vero Beach has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution.
Additional massage parlor locations in Florida
Li and Zhu are accused of running implicated spas, with four in Marin County and one in Jupiter.
Another woman, Yan Xu, 51, of Sebastian has also been charged with racketeering, deriving support from proceeds of prostitution and engaging in prostitution.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Orlando Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, and the 19th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office worked together throughout this ongoing investigation.