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Camarillo couple arrested for human trafficking

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CAMARILLO, Calif. – A couple is behind bars for allegedly prostituting a 15-year-old teenage girl. It’s unclear if the girl is related to the couple.

Jessica Lynn Stanley, 26, of Simi Valley and Robert Ryan McGraa, 35, or Thousand Oaks, had been staying at a Camarillo motel in the 1600 block of E. Daily Drive when the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a tip of the alleged human trafficking.

Investigators say Stanley had posted several escort advertisements under an alias on various websites, such as Backpage.com. During an undercover operation, Stanley allegedly arranged a meeting between the undercover detective and the 15-year-old teen for sex. (Read full article here)

Five arrested after months-long investigation into human trafficking ring

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A human trafficking ring that forced at least 25 Chinese women into prostitution in motels across Southern California, where they earned millions of dollars for their alleged captors, was busted this month and five people were arrested, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Authorities said they launched a six-month investigation into the network after deputies discovered a potential victim of human trafficking during a prostitution sting at the Comfort Inn in Camarillo. Authorities uncovered evidence at the motel of a larger group operating across the region, Undersheriff Gary Pentis said at a news conference in Thousand Oaks.

“Commercial sex is nothing short of modern-day slavery,” Pentis said, adding that such operations are pervasive. “This is a hideous crime that has an impact on all of us.”

The illicit operation was run much like a corporation, officials said, and the victims took in about $350,000 a month for the organizers.

The alleged ringleader, identified as Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, worked as the network’s dispatcher and took calls from hundreds of men each month who answered sexually explicit ads on backpage.com, Pentis said.

Another suspect … (Read full article here)

Ads to warn of ‘Ugly Truth’ of human trafficking

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County officials announced on Monday the launch of a campaign intended to educate the public about sex trafficking and child exploitation.

Dubbed “The Ugly Truth,” the campaign will use billboards, radio spots, videos played in elevators and at health clubs and posters displayed at bus shelters and on trolleys. It’s expected to run about three months.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan said at a Monday morning news conference that law enforcement authorities see a “disconnect” between what they know about sex trafficking and the community’s attitudes toward it. Some of that, she said, may be attributed to movies and television shows that glamorize the sex trade.

Stephan said the campaign grew out of a belief that members of the public would be more willing to work against human trafficking in their own communities if they had a better understanding of the conditions that drive children and adults into the sex trade (Read full article here)