Sex Traffic Rings in California Stopped by Police

CNN’s Freedom Project went undercover with the Human Trafficking Task Force in Orange County, California, to follow officers breaking up a suspected Asia sex trafficking ring.


Chinese organized criminal gangs such as the snakeheads operate worldwide, facilitating human smuggling and trafficking out of China. The International Organization for Migration reports that organized crime rings smuggle up to 200,000 Chinese migrants into Australia, Canada, the U.S., and other countries each year.


Chinese women and children are trafficked for sexual exploitation to North America, Europe, and other Asian countries. In the U.S. several women were arrested in Houston, Texas, for transporting Chinese women into the country for prostitution. Los Angeles and New York are other common destination cities. In 1999, the Immigration and Nationalization Service estimated that up to 5,000 trafficked Chinese women were in L.A.

A woman, Soo, spoke to CNN about her sympathy for the victims of sex trafficking. Soo spoke about how sad it is that women come to the United States with dreams of a better life and are tricked and wind up being a sex slave in an Asian massage parlor.  The women in California were given little food and clothing, according to police.

California and New York are taking steps to try to locate these sex rings but they are all underground and determining which massage parlors are legitimate and which are a front for prostitution pose problems. It becomes a costly investigation that our current system has not been able to tackle.

Should this investigation be a federal immigration matter? What laws could the United States pass to deter this type of crime against humanity?


  1. Unfortunately, human trafficking remains an issue in the international arena. What laws can we pass here in the U.S? Will stricter borders help suppress this type of behavior here in our country? Like many other illegal issues such as drugs for example, more laws and stricter borders has still not stopped the trafficking. We assume somehow people are still getting drugs into our country. But, we are not talking about drugs here. These are not packages being smuggled into someone’s luggage or body parts. We are talking about real people. How about the movie, Taken? What should bother people most about this movie is the reality that things like that really happen in the world, excluding of course the fairy tale ending.

  2. Unfortunately, I think a major part of the problem is the organized criminal gangs in China, and that is a problem that is out of the reach of United States’ power; however, the United States can monitor immigration more closely in the areas that are known as destination hot spots for sex trafficking. This may not bring an end to this complex issue, but it may be a place for law enforcement to start.

    CNN’s interview with Soo raised a question in my mind about how many of these women willingly come to America hoping for a better life and how many are simply forced to come to America knowing what torture awaits them. I can only imagine how those who are duped into coming to America must feel when they realize that they are going to be trapped and forced into a life of sexual exploitation.

  3. The cost of investigating these crimes seems prohibitive, given the volume of prostitution rings that front as legitimate businesses. A lot of illegal and legal immigrants find themselves without a choice, as the current economy offers virtually no jobs. From a prosecutorial perspective, however, law enforcers must also grapple with whether or not these young girls knowingly entered the United States for this purpose. The majority probably have no idea what they will face, while others may believe that prostitution in the United States is better than the life they led.

  4. I agree with Gianna that unfortunately this problem stems largely from within China and therefore the problem is out of reach. However, while the problem may stem from within China, it nonetheless continues into the United States, and that is certainly where the United States an act to ensure that the problem is curtailed as much as possible. Since the United States is aware of the problem and also aware of areas and entry points to the United States where the trafficking is an ongoing problem, the United States must act and create stricter laws to ban human trafficking. This should be an immigration issue, whether or not the girls know what is happening to them when they enter the country. Even if these girls think that prostitution in the Untied States will allow them to lead better lives than the lived in their home countries, this does not mean that the prostitution here can be tolerated.

  5. While the origin of this problem lies outside of the United States, there are steps that could be taken to prevent these types of crimes against humanity. One important step is to provide certain and harsh punishment to ensure both general and specific deterrence. A clear message needs to be sent to ensure that this type of human trafficking, or any kind for that matter, is strictly unacceptable. Moreover, another important step is to provide the proper funding in States like New York and California in order to fund investigations into sex trafficking rings and provide training to those doing such investigations. Finally, as addressed in some of the comments above, there should also be punishment for those women who had knowledge of what they were going to be doing because, if they did have knowledge, they have the same level of intent and are just as big a part of the problem as the people who are sending them away and the people who purchase them for such tasks.

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