Sheriff: Prostitution, Sex Trafficking Part Of A Larger Problem

He also says it’s connected with illegal immigration.

Sheriff Chuck Jenkins (Photo from Frederick County Sheriff’s Office)

Frederick, Md (KM) Prostitution and sex trafficking are part of a larger problems, according to   Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. During an appearance on Thursday on WFMD’s “Morning News Express,” Jenkins commented on last week’s dismantling of a prostitution and sex trafficking network in the county.  He says the problem goes beyond the spas targeted by the Sheriff’s Office. “It’s really organized crime. It’s a part of organized crime. A lot of times it does  include drug trafficking and it goes hand-in-hand with human trafficking and other vices. Illegal gambling in some areas, not so much here. We’ve never encountered that. It all ties together,” he says.

Last Friday, the Human Trafficking Response Team, which includes the Sheriff’s Office, served search warrants on the Calla Spa in Urbana, and the YiYi Spa in Frederick. This follows an investigation that began with complaints from business owners in these areas about heavy foot traffic at these spas during the day and evening hours. Authorities arrested Huiping Hester, 52, of Bethesda, and charged her with 14 counts of prostitution and two counts of sex trafficking.

The Sheriff says the women who worked at these spas were also taken into custody. “The girls that were being used in these spas to provide services for customers were trafficked women,” he says.

“We take them into our custody, yes. But we don’t charge them,” he continues. “They are handled as victims. They’re provided all the services that they need. We basically get involved with the Department of Homeland Security who knows how to deal with these young women who are trafficked internationally. We turn them over to HSI, and we’re kind  of out of the picture then.:

Along with that he tied prostitution and sex trafficking to illegal immigration. “This is all a part of the illegal immigration problem, the open borders problem, tied to an enormous amount of crime coming into this country,” he said. But he acknowledged that not all  of the victims of this crime are  immigrants. Some are American citizens.

When the Sheriff’s Office informed the media and public about the operation against these prostitution and human trafficking network, it said search warrants were served on two spas. But the Sheriff says there were actually three spas. “Only two were made public, but there was a third. I was just told yesterday {Wed} we executed a third search and seizure warrant,” Jenkins said. He did not identify the third spa.

By Kevin McManus