A Pomona motel has agreed to take steps to curtail prostitution and human trafficking on its premises, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Friday.
A settlement signed last week requires the owner of Pomona Lodge Inc. to install security cameras at the motel on Holt Avenue, stop renting rooms by the hour and post the Human Trafficking Awareness notice required by law, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The motel’s owner was also ordered to pay $9,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs.
A lawsuit filed July 30 by the District Attorney’s Office alleged that Pomona Lodge Inc. was a public nuisance, violated California’s Red Light Abatement Law and engaged in unlawful business practices.
The suit stemmed from an undercover operation launched just over two years ago at the motel, located in an area known for prostitution and human sex trafficking activity and had resulted in numerous complaints to Pomona police about illicit activity, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The case marked the first time the District Attorney’s Office had used the state’s consumer protection laws to confront human sex trafficking in the county, officials said.
“This settlement makes it more difficult for human traffickers to conduct their illegal enterprises in Los Angeles County,” Lacey said in a written statement. “It also serves as a warning to property owners that as we shut down human trafficking operations, we will hold accountable the people who silently gave refuge to these criminals, disregarding their victims and benefiting financially from these crimes.”
Meanwhile, Ravirajsihn Zala, 25, who worked as a desk clerk at the motel, is awaiting trial on two felony counts each of human trafficking of a minor for a commercial sex act and pimping.
Zala, who could face up to 14 years and eight months in state prison if convicted as charged, is accused of renting rooms to sex workers and demanding a portion of their earnings from their commercial sex transactions, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
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