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)