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Prison For Convicted Sex Trafficker In Ventura County

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A Ventura County judge has sentenced a man to nine years in state prison for his conviction on charges of human trafficking of a minor, pimping, and pandering.

   32-year-old James Powell of Sacramento was arrested after investigators discovered him running a sex trafficking operation out of a Camarillo motel in March of 2018.

   They discovered he was taking the female juveniles and young adult women throughout the state as part of an extensive commercial sex operation.

   The female victims ranged in age from 14 to 22 and most were from the Sacramento area.

   One of the victims told investigators she had been beaten and threatened by Powell.

   Powell had pleaded guilty to causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and pimping.

http://www.kvta.com/news/prison-for-convicted-sex-trafficker-in-ventura-county/   In addition to the nine years in prison, Powell must register as a sex offender.

Human Trafficking: Men & Boys Survive It Too

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Male victims of human trafficking are often under-reported and suffer in silence due to shame, stigma and trauma. This summit is designed to help participants identify what constitutes sex and labor trafficking, the signs and prevalence with male survivors, and efforts in place to address this issue here in Ventura County. Two male survivors will share their experiences of being trafficked and their path to achieving safety and autonomy. A panel comprised of local professionals will share their experiences working with identified victims and the local resources available for survivors.

This Summit is for professionals. CEUs are available.

For more information or to register, go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/human-trafficking-men-boys-survive-it-too-tickets-68328274709

Teen sex trafficking, pimping allegations net 3 arrests in Conejo Valley

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Two men suspected of sexually trafficking a teenager in Ventura County were arrested in an investigation that also netted a man accused of pimping an adult prostitute, according to authorities.  

The investigation began after the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Office on May 22 notified local authorities that a 16-year-old Riverside girl might be a victim of sexual trafficking here. Local authorities narrowed her location to the Newbury Park area, but she left before investigators could find her. Investigators determined she traveled to the Bakersfield area, then to Madera County and later to Fresno.

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office found her and took her into protective custody May 24, according to authorities. 

After conducting interviews and serving several search warrants, investigators determined she had been in Ventura County twice in May. 

Investigators said they identified Jovantay Bess, 23, of Fresno, as responsible for sexually trafficking her during the first local incident and Cirsten Joseph, 26, of Newbury Park, as responsible in the second incident. (Read article here)

From left: Jovantay Bess, Cirsten Joseph and Allan Sherman (Photo: VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

One arrested in human trafficking attempt in Camarillo

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The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office thwarted a human trafficking attempt in a Camarillo motel last week, authorities said Thursday.

Authorities said that at 10:20 a.m. March 30, police responded to a call of possible prostitution at the Quality Inn & Suites, 984 W. Ventura Blvd.

After conducting an investigation and multiple interviews, authorities said they determined illegal prostitution activities were taking place at the motel.

A 51-year-old woman in one of the rooms was found to be a victim of human trafficking, according to investigators. She was provided with county services for victims of human trafficking, which inform them of their rights and options for safely leaving their trafficking situation, according to authorities.

Through the investigation, authorities said they learned one of the motel clerks, a 27-year-old male from Camarillo, was aware of the trafficking and aided in its occurrence there. The man was arrested on suspicion of aiding prostitution and was later cited and released from custody with a pending court date, authorities said.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. (Read article here)

Victims as young as 14 found in human trafficking probe in Camarillo; 1 suspect arrested

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

A Sacramento man was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking offenses last week after victims, including female juveniles, were found in a Camarillo hotel, authorities said.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Office detectives launched an investigation March 20 after a Citrus Heights police detective informed deputies that a 14-year-old female runaway may have been in the Camarillo area.

The 14-year-old was reportedly seen in an internet post advertising sexual services, leading the detective from Citrus Heights, a suburb of Sacramento, to believe she was a victim of human trafficking.

Deputies said they searched lodging locations in Camarillo and in the early morning hours of March 21 found the 14-year-old at a hotel with two other females ages 17 and 22. (Read full article here)

San Bernardino man pleads guilty to pimping minor in Ventura

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Percy Stanley, 28, of San Bernardino

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

A San Bernardino man pleaded guilty to pimping a minor in Ventura, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

Percy Stanley, 28, is expected to receive a three-year prison sentence when he is sentenced Oct. 17, prosecutors said.

Stanley and Asia Jones, 18, of Moreno Valley, were arrested Jan. 11 after a witness reported to Ventura police that a minor and a man were having sex in a neighbor’s side yard, authorities said.

The minor was a 16-year-old girl missing out of Riverside County, police said.

Jones and Stanley had both been charged with felony causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and pimping a minor. Jones pleaded guilty in March to causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, prosecutors said. (Read full article here)

Fifth defendant sentenced in multi-county prostitution ring

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A driver involved in a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring of more than a dozen Chinese women that operated in a hotel in Camarillo and other businesses was sentenced to more than eight years in state prison.

Juiyin Cui, 64, of Rosemead, appeared Wednesday before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Patricia Murphy. Cui pleaded guilty March 14 to three felony counts of pimping, one count of conspiracy to commit human trafficking and two counts of money laundering. He also admitted to overt acts related to the conspiracy charge.

Murphy sentenced Cui to eight years and eight months in state prison and ordered him to pay $500,000 for the conspiracy charge and $50,000 for the money-laundering counts. Cui also must register as a sex offender, Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner said.

Cui is the fifth defendant who has pleaded guilty and been sentenced for involvement in a prostitution operation that solicited customers through advertisements in the website ad-portal Backpage.com.

The ring was discovered after county sheriff’s detectives found an ad that included photos of an Asian female “in sexually provocative clothing and poses” offering services in Camarillo. Detectives said the address was that of the Quality Inn & Suites. (Read full article here)

‘Mastermind’ of prostitution ring sentenced

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A Covina man described as the “mastermind” of a multimillion-dollar prostitution ring was sentenced Wednesday morning to 12 years and eight months in state prison for his role in trafficking dozens of female Chinese nationals.

Hsin Chieh “Jerry” Wang, 40, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young and was also ordered to pay $500,000 for conspiracy to commit human trafficking and another $250,000 for money laundering.

Wang had pled guilty Jan. 19 to 11 felony charges, including conspiracy to commit human trafficking, pimping and money laundering.

He 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)

Dispatcher in human trafficking ring sentenced

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(Photo: PHOTO COURTESY OF VENTURA COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE)

A San Gabriel woman who acted as the dispatcher for a prostitution ring that trafficked dozens of female Chinese nationals and used the online classified-ad portal Backpage.com was sentenced to 11 years and four months in state prison.

Defeng Hu, 33, appeared before Ventura County Superior Court Judge Bruce Young on Wednesday for sentencing. Hu pleaded guilty Jan. 19 to one count of conspiracy to commit human trafficking, four counts of pimping, seven counts of money laundering and one count of filing false income tax.

Hu is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in the case. In February 2016, a Ventura County sheriff’s detective located an advertisement on the Backpage.com advertisement portal under the Ventura County section that was labeled “escorts.” The advertisement included photos of an Asian female “in sexually provocative clothing and poses” offering services in a Camarillo hotel, authorities said.

“Hu would take calls from the ‘Johns’ answering the Backpage ads and depending on where the Johns were calling from, she would then call the woman and tell them to go to the hotel and tell them an individual was coming for a job,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner.

During a search of Hu’s residence, she tried to flee from law enforcement officers and jumped from a third-story balcony, fracturing her ankle. When she was arrested, detectives found she was carrying $24,000 in cash and various cellphones and ledgers, Suttner said. (Read full article here)

Court appearance scheduled for human trafficking suspects

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Brian Lewis, 21

A court appearance has been scheduled for the three men arrested Saturday on suspicion of human trafficking, according to county records.

Brian Lewis, 21, Dashawn Jackson, 18, and Dameon Howard, 20, all from Fresno, were arrested Saturday on suspicion of causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act and conspiracy to commit a crime, according to county jail records. Lewis was also arrested on suspicion of carrying a loaded firearm, police said.

The three men will appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in room 14 of the Ventura County Superior Court.

Police were first notified of the crime by the National Human Trafficking Center, who received a hotline call from a 17-year-old victim, authorities said. Police said the victim claimed she had been with the men over three days in San Diego County and “forced to commit acts of prostitution.” Police were then alerted of where the three men were staying and arrived to arrest the suspects. (Read article here)

Dashawn Jackson, 18

Dameon Howard, 20