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Published On: Sun, May 14th, 2017

Waco, Texas investigation uncovers human trafficking ring, 16 China women victims

A local investigation uncovered an international human trafficking ring that has victimized about 16 Chinese women, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.

The human trafficking investigation in the Waco area began last fall as detectives uncovered an operation that was bringing women in from China and sending them throughout the nation for the purpose of prostitution, McNamara said.

“Detective Joseph Scaramucci has been investigating human trafficking in Waco and Central Texas and it has led to an international trafficking ring that goes from Waco, Houston and to New York with women from China,” McNamara said. “I am so proud of our CID unit and all the hard work that they have put in to fight human trafficking.”

Photo/Sawso.org

The investigation yielded search warrants for residences in Houston and Austin and McNamara said that the evidence led detectives to New York in search of their primary suspect.

Scaramucci reported he reached out to an online ad promoting an “Asian female escort” on Backpage.com back in September. This led to contact with a woman “held” in a Waco hotel after she flew from Hong Kong to San Francisco, then to Houston.

Ling Yu, 33, was arrested last month in New York on a first-degree felony charge of engaging in organized crime and was later indicted by a McLennan County grand jury.

Hang Zheng, a Chinese citizen, was also arrested by McLennan County authorities in Austin this week on a first-degree felony charge of engaging in organized crime stemming from the investigation.

Hang Zheng has been charged of transporting women, none who spoke English, across Texas for prostitution arrangements set up with co-conspirators in New York.

According to the arrest affidavit, Hang, Zhao Chen Shi, 33, and Xubin Zou, 27, committed or conspired to commit continuous human trafficking offenses between late 2016 and early 2017.

McNamara said authorities have not arrested Zhao or Xubin, but warrants have been issued for their arrest.

Authorities have seized assets and identified 16 women they think were working for the suspects in Waco; Houston; Austin; Galveston; Victoria; the Brooklyn borough of New York City; the Queens borough of New York City; Indianapolis; Washington, D.C.; Boston; and New Orleans.

Hang and Zhao were “actively transporting Chinese females throughout the state of Texas for the purpose of the females to engage in prostitution,” Scaramucci states in the arrest affidavit.

Additional investigation indicated Xubin and Ling were responsible for placing online ads while they were living in New York, authorities said. Hang and Chen would arrange apartments or hotel rooms for an extended period of time, where the women would meet subjects for sex.

UnBound, a nonprofit group that raises public awareness and provides services to trafficking victims, provided a Chinese translator to assist authorities and work with the 16 victims, officials said.

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professional in 2008 on sites like Examiner and blogs: Desk of Brian, Crazed Fanboy. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) will be a licensed Assembly of God Pastor by the Spring of 2017. "Why do we do this?" I was asked and the answer is simple. "I just want the truth. I want a source of information that tells me what's going and clearly attempts to separate opinion from fact. Set aside left and right, old and young, just point to the world and say, 'Look!'" To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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