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‘Mastermind’ of prostitution ring pleads guilty

by ADMIN

The “mastermind” of a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring who trafficked dozens of female Chinese nationals and used the online classified-ad portal Backpage.com pleaded guilty Thursday.

Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, 40, of Los Angeles, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young for an early disposition conference when he decided to plead guilty to 11 felony counts, including conspiracy to commit a crime of human trafficking, pimping and money laundering.

Wang, who was initially facing 28 criminal counts, will be sentenced to 13 years when he appears in court Feb. 16, Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner said. The remaining counts will be dropped at the sentencing.

Wang and four others were arrested Aug. 4 after a six-month investigation into an operation that forced 28 Chinese women into a prostitution ring at various motels throughout the state, including the Comfort Inn in Camarillo.

According to court records, the prostitution ring was discovered after local sheriff’s detectives found an advertisement in the Ventura County section of Backpage.com. The advertisement included photos of an Asian female “in sexually provocative clothing and poses” offering services in Camarillo, authorities said. Detectives said the address was that of the Quality Inn & Suites. (Read full article here)

Two charged with pimping a minor in Ventura

by ADMIN

(Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Asia Jones, 18, of Riverside County (Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Two people were charged with felony offenses Friday related to their alleged involvement in the human sex trafficking of a minor in Ventura, officials said.

Asia Jones, 18, of Riverside County, and Arkansas native Percy Stanley, 27, were charged with felony causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and pimping a minor, according to Ventura County Superior Court records.

The pair was arrested by Ventura police on Wednesday after a witness reported at about 2:15 p.m. that the minor and a man were having sex in a neighbor’s side yard, police said. Stanley was also arrested on a felony warrant for human trafficking of a minor in a San Bernardino County case, police said.

The victim was identified as a 16-year-old girl missing out of Riverside County, police said. Ventura police Sgt. Jerry Foreman said he did not know how long the girl had been missing. (Read full article here)

Woman sentenced in prostitution ring case

by ADMIN

A Covina woman charged in connection with a human trafficking ring that operated in Ventura County and other areas throughout California was sentenced Tuesday.

Yiwen Wang, 43, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young. Wang had pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to three counts of felony money laundering and one count of tax evasion.

Authorities arrested Wang, her brother Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, 40, and three others on Aug. 4 after a six-month investigation into an operation that allegedly forced 28 Chinese women into a prostitution ring at various motels throughout the state that included the Comfort Inn in Camarillo.

Yiwen Wang was facing a maximum sentence of nine years in county jail for various charges but was instead sentenced to three years and four months because of her plea, Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner said.

The defendant also was ordered to pay the California Franchise Tax Board $95,833 for filing a false tax return, Suttner said. (Read full article here)

BACKPAGE.COM SHUTS DOWN ADULT SECTION AMID SEX-TRAFFICKING ACCUSATIONS

by ADMIN
Monday, January 09, 2017 10:38PM

Backpage.com, the classified website that has faced accusations of fostering sex trafficking, has shut down its adult content section, the company announced Monday.

The company has faced criminal charges, lawsuits and a U.S. Senate investigation into allegations that its advertising fosters prostitution and the sexual exploitation of children.

Backpage blamed “unconstitutional government censorship” for forcing it to remove the adult content and said it would continue to fight for its First Amendment Rights.

“As the direct result of unconstitutional government censorship, Backpage.com has removed its Adult content section from the highly popular classified website, effective immediately,” the company said in a written statement.

“For years, the legal system protecting freedom of speech prevailed, but new government tactics, including pressuring credit card companies to cease doing business with Backpage, have left the company with no other choice but to remove the content in the United States.”

Anyone who clicks on the adult sections on the site is now met with the word “CENSORED” in red letters and a request for support to protect internet free speech. (Read full article here)

Suspect accused of pimping in Ventura

by ADMIN

A Los Angeles man was arrested Thursday in Ventura on suspicion of prostitution-related offenses, including pimping and pandering, police said.

Ventura police said they arrested Byron Haskins, 27, after they received a tip around noon about possible prostitution activities at La Quinta Inn in the 5800 block of Valentine Road.

Police said when they arrived, they saw a man wanted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in connection with failing to appear in court after being charged with weapons-related crimes following an arrest in Santa Ana in October.

It’s at least the second call to the Ventura hotel on reports of prostitution. Ventura police made two arrests Dec. 20 after receiving a call of a possible female victim being held against her will.

Haskins was taken to Ventura County jail, where he was being held. (Read article here)

Human-trafficking suspect pleads guilty

by ADMIN

(Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

Ventura County prosecutors said Thursday that a Fresno man has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of human trafficking.

Demarea Williams, 23, faces a maximum of 12 years in prison, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced Feb. 2.

Police said they found her at a La Quinta Inn in Ventura, along with Williams and another woman, who was also arrested.

Williams was being held in Ventura County jail on Thursday without bail. (Read article here)