We can count this story as another victory in the fight against human trafficking. Milpitas police recently arrested a Bay Area couple on suspicion of operating a multi-million dollar, sex trafficking ring.
“The investigation began in December of 2019, when detectives from the Milpitas Police Department and Investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office identified a brothel in the City of Milpitas,” the police department said in a statement.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
According to prosecutors, David Davies, 57, and Larong Hu, 38, advertised their brothel on Backpage and through their own website. They allegedly trafficked women from overseas and confiscated their passports once they arrived. Six female victims were rescued, and $2 million was seized in the investigation. The rescued victims were provided services through Community Solutions, an organization that provides critical services for victims of human trafficking, according to police.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Vanier told NBC Bay Area: “These women are forced to have sex with between 10 and 15 men a day. They come in, in half hour intervals.”
Prosecutors allege that Davies and Hu used a high-end residential complex as one of several brothels they operated throughout the area. The rent in this complex can be up to $5,000 per month. “There is no indication either tenants or apartment employees knew about the alleged brothel, which was apparently run in a high-trafficked area,” according to The Chronicle.
The couple was taken into custody last Wednesday and are being charged with offenses related to human trafficking. They are being held with no bail.
Stories like these are encouraging, but it’s worth noting that sex trafficking is more ubiquitous than many think. Despite abolishing slavery over 150 years ago, human beings are still being bought and sold on American soil. Indeed, the practice is so common that, like the residents and staff of the apartment complex, one could be living right next to a modern-day slave without knowing it.
According to the Polaris Project, human trafficking is: “The use of force, fraud or coercion to get another person to provide labor or commercial sex.”
Forced labor is a more common form of bondage than sex trafficking, but there is more awareness of the latter. Even so, it is one of the most underreported types of crime and is one of the fastest-growing illegal industries worldwide.
If you want to know more, check out my interview with Eliza Bleu, an advocate for human trafficking survivors.