Chinese Sex Trafficking Rings Broken

One of the locations shut down by the NYPD in a recent anti-trafficking operation. (Photo via Sing Tao Daily)

One of the locations shut down by the NYPD in a recent anti-trafficking operation. (Photo via Sing Tao Daily)

Recently, law enforcement in New York and Massachusetts collaborated to investigate and bring charges against individuals running sex trafficking operations. Sing Tao Daily published two stories on Dec. 21 about these cases and the rapidly growing problem in the Chinese community. Both stories were written by Cecilia Li and translated by Rong Xiaoqing.

The first story:

A joint investigation of law enforcement in New York and Massachusetts led to the termination of several sex trafficking operations being conducted between the two states. One of the suspects arrested is a Chinese woman living in Nassau County, Long Island. She and her mother, who resides in Massachusetts, ran two massage parlors which were in fact a trafficking ring that, for years, brought people from Nassau County to various locations in Massachusetts and forced them to provide sex services at illegal massage parlors.

Nassau County Police arrested Ting Ting Yin, a 26-year-old Chinese woman living in New Hyde Park in Nassau last week. She was charged with trafficking of a person for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution, money laundering and conspiracy. Meanwhile, Massachusetts police searched a residence and two local message parlors in New Hyde Park.

Prosecutors found Yin and her 50-year-old mother Feng Ling Liu had been trafficking women from Nassau to Hadley, Framingham and other towns in Massachusetts for a long time. They sold the victims to buyers who are in the sex services business to make money. According to Massachusetts prosecutors, Liu arranged for the victims to live in a residential building before they were trafficked. Prosecutors said Jian Song, Liu’s husband who was arrested at the same time, helped her run the human trafficking operation by recruiting women, placing advertisements to promote sex services, making appointments with potential clients and trafficking the victims.

Another Chinese woman living in Massachusetts named Shuzi Li was also arrested for human trafficking in this joint action. Li was accused of bringing women from Flushing, New York, to her two brothels in Massachusetts where they provided sex services from which Li maintained most of the profits. The victim services office is arranging assistance for the 10 victims. Further investigation is still going on.


The second story:

“We think Queens has become the trafficking center in New York City. Most of the victims we have helped in Flushing worked in illegal massage parlors,” Dr. Amanda Eckhardt, director of programs of Restore NYC, a nonprofit organization serving human trafficking victims, told Sing Tao in an interview on Dec. 20. She said sex trafficking has been rapidly growing in Queens. The victims are from various countries, and some were further trafficked to other places from Queens.

Eckhardt said her organization received cases from about 500 women this year, and has already provided help to 380 of them. These victims are from 23 countries and territories, and 80 percent of them are from China. The average age of the Chinese victims is 40, and 76 percent of them have children, 46 percent are married, and 85 percent only speak a little bit of English or not at all.

“They got to know some drivers in New York via tourism agencies in their home countries and then communicated with the drivers via WeChat or other social media platforms,” said Eckhardt. And when these women arrived at JFK or LaGuardia Airport, the drivers would go to pick them up and drive them to guesthouses. Some of them would be sent to underground brothels or massage parlors to work directly. The women were sent to Flushing, Long Island, and some were sent to massage parlors in Connecticut.

Eckhardt said they found that the women had no way to flee during the trafficking process, and no avenue to seek help. The snakeheads warned that if they went to the police, they’d be deported. Thus, the snakeheads controlled the victims mentally so they could extract as much profit out of them as possible.

Eventually, most Chinese victims who want to run away will seek help from the government or service organizations. The Human Trafficking Intervention Court of the city also refers cases to service organizations.

The Queens North Vice Enforcement Unit, together with many police precincts, has been raiding illegal massage parlors since last year. Through Dec. 4 of 2016, the 109th Police Precinct (in Flushing) had arrested 129 people who were suspected of involvement in prostitution, while the number was 167 the previous year.

Some women who were arrested paid bail and went back to their old profession once they came out. Eckhardt said the best way to reduce recidivism is to help the victims find legal jobs so they can support themselves independently.

Restore NYC launched a new Economic Empowerment Program this year to help human trafficking survivors find jobs.

One Comment

  1. Great article Cecilia but there’s only one thing that’s inaccurate “Restore NYC” is not the only agency that handles human trafficking cases. There’s another Human Trafficking organization that works only with the Chinese and Asian community here in New York City it’s called “Garden of Hope” they have been established here in New York City for over 12 years now. the do close to 200 cases human trafficking a year.

    this is their website: http://www.gohny.org

    https://vimeo.com/186093852

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