Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Dismantles Northern California Sex Trafficking Operation
SACRAMENTO – Spearheading efforts to dismantle sex trafficking networks in California, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of four individuals accused of pimping young women in a network of brothels located in Northern California.
The arrests are the culmination of a five-month investigation into an organized prostitution ring that trafficked women from Boston and New York to brothels located in residential areas of Sacramento and San Mateo counties. Once in Northern California, the defendants rotated the women between their brothels on an organized schedule.
“Sex trafficking rings like the one we dismantled yesterday destroy the lives of young women and degrade the social fabric of our communities,” said Attorney General Harris. “I am committed to using all of the law enforcement tools at my disposal to bring to justice those who profit from the cruel and depraved business of sex trafficking.”
On Thursday night, agents with the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Sacramento Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, served arrest and search warrants at multiple locations in Sacramento and San Mateo counties.
As a result of the sweep, four individuals operating the brothels were charged with pimping and/or pandering:
- Xiu Juan Bai, 43, Sacramento County
- Ken Wong, 58, Sacramento County
- Yoon Chin, 55, Sacramento County
- Zhi Liu, 49, San Mateo County
The charges in the complaints are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The operation was part of an ongoing campaign by Attorney General Harris to investigate, prosecute and punish sex traffickers in California. Last year, Attorney General Harris released The State of Human Trafficking in California. The report outlines the growing prevalence of the crime of human trafficking in the state, the increasing involvement of sophisticated transnational gangs in perpetrating the crime and the modern technologies that traffickers use to facilitate it.
The report was released at a Human Trafficking Leadership Symposium, where Attorney General Harris was joined by leaders from law enforcement, victim service groups, non-government organizations, and other groups to share the best strategies and tactics to use in the fight against forced labor and sex trafficking.
Attorney General Harris regularly convenes law enforcement officials in the state to discuss how to recognize, investigate and prosecute human trafficking cases.
Last month, three defendants in a human trafficking ring in which women from Mexico were used as prostitutes in five Northern California cities were sentenced to three years in jail.
For more information on human trafficking, go to: http://www.oag.ca.gov/human-trafficking