Two arrested in human trafficking sting
Two women are accused of running separate sexual trafficking operations out of local day spas from Jupiter to Hobe Sound. The 8-month, multi-agency investigation was announced yesterday at the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation involved local, state and federal agencies. It has connections to New York and China.
They are facing charges in a human trafficking ring in multiple counties in Florida.
Suspects Ruimei Li and Lixia Zhu are accused of keeping several women at massage parlors to work as prostitutes. Snyder said dozens of “Johns” are going to be arrested and identified for being clients of the ring. He said none of the human misery would have happened if it wasn’t for the men. Multiple agencies were involved in the months long investigation into the ring, including the Department of Homeland Security.
Martin County Sheriff William Snyder outlined the situation and the charges against the suspects.
Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody was at the press conference as well. The Sunshine State received 397 human trafficking cases last year, and more than half of those were tied to sex trafficking. Illicit massage parlors were the third most common location for sex trafficking. Hotels and motels were the most common, followed by residence-based venues.
The Criminal Justice Committee in the Florida Senate passes a new bill aimed at human traffickers. Senator Lauren Book’s bill requires training for cops and hotel workers to help them identify victims. It also targets the people who are buying sex instead of the ones who are selling it