A Temecula woman is among six defendants indicted for allegedly operating an interstate prostitution ring with ties to mainland China, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Yan “Sarah” Wang, 33, is charged with conspiracy to facilitate a racketeering enterprise.
She was arrested by FBI agents Tuesday and made her initial court appearance before a U.S. District judge in Los Angeles that afternoon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors allege that Wang joined five co-conspirators, all of Chinese descent, in putting women from the Orient to work as call girls.
The operation was based in Portland, Oregon, but the victims were sent across state lines to engage in sex trafficking, according to investigators.
“Vulnerable women looking for a new life in the U.S. instead find traffickers who cash in on their cultural isolation by profiting from the sale of sex services,” said Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “In many cases, these women lack the language skills and understanding of American civil rights to ask for help or assistance from law enforcement.”
According to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, Billy Williams, the victims’ services were advertised via supermatchescort.com — which the FBI has since shut down — and 500 other sites.
Wang and the other defendants allegedly employed “dispatchers” to track the trafficked women and ensure they were reaching appointments with their “dates,” Williams said.
“Trafficking adults for sex can at times be overlooked by our society because some believe the adult victims have a choice,” he said. “This notion is false. These victims are powerless and often thousands of miles away from their home, native language and personal connections who might help them escape. We have always and will continue to aggressively pursue criminals who exploit vulnerable victims.”
Government agencies and nonprofits are now providing assistance to the victims, none of whom were identified.
Wang is being held at a federal detention center in the Los Angeles area. Her alleged co-conspirators were taken into custody in Portland and other locations.
The case will be prosecuted in Portland.