A criminal organization, which prosecutors call “the Uber of sex trafficking”, is now facing charges after authorities uncovered its operations in Minnesota and California. It was also discovered that the international human trafficking and prostitution ring operated in 29 different states in the United States.
Charges filed against the four arrested suspects, namely Fangyao Wu, Sophia Wang Navas, Hong Jing and Dongzhou Jiang were: “racketeering, sex trafficking, promotion of prostitution, concealing criminal proceeds and engaging in the business of concealing criminal proceeds in connection with a criminal enterprise profiteering off the sale of vulnerable human beings for sex.”
Three of the suspects, who were arrested in California, will soon be extradited to Minnesota to face charges, CBS Minnesota reports.
Investigations revealed that thousands of ads were placed on Backpage.com on behalf of the group in the last two years. According to Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, the group coordinated meeting locations with “clients” via phones, peddling victims who were mostly trafficked women from China.
“It was the Uber of sex trafficking,” Orput said. “You could order up sex…Ordering a girl was like ordering up a pizza.”
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi stated that the victims were raped, viciously beaten, and forced to work 12 to 14 hours each day. Each of them was forced with to earn a quota of $800 daily.
“This is the most sophisticated human trafficking operation I have ever seen,” Choi said.
Authorities have discovered numerous places of operation in different parts of Minnesota, such as St. Paul, Blaine, Cottage Grove, Maplewood, Oakdale and St. Louis Park, where the suspects purchased or rented properties to sell sex. The syndicate also operated in Fargo, North Dakota.
Court documents for the case detailed the horrific experiences of six rescued victims. The women were revealed to be forced to pay their traffickers house fees, transportation costs, hotel expenses and their own food. Some of the women were also forced to surrender their passports.