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Kamala Harris dismantles Northern California sex trafficking operation

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Kamala Harris
  • AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
  • Attorney General Kamala Harris addresses delegates to the 2013 Democratic Party state convention in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, April 13, 2013.

The operators of a network of Northern California brothels, including one in San Mateo County, were arrested last week following a five-month investigation that revealed young women had been trafficked here from Boston and New York, according to the California Attorney General's Office.

"Once in Northern California, the defendants rotated the women between their brothels on an organized schedule," authorities said.

Those arrested during raids Thursday night include Xiu Juan Bai, 43, Ken Wong, 58, Yoon Chin, 55, and Zhi Liu, 49. Liu allegedly ran a brothel in San Mateo County while the other three operated out of Sacramento County.

All four have been charged with pimping and/or pandering, Attorney General Kamala Harris said.

"Sex trafficking rings like the one we dismantled yesterday destroy the lives of young women and degrade the social fabric of our communities," Harris said in a statement.

Last year, Harris released "The State of Human Trafficking in California,"; a report stating that such a crime is on the rise because it is more profitable than drug trafficking and not as easy to detect. Also, the Internet has offered more opportunities to recruit sex slaves, the report said.

Last month, Harris said, three people involved in a ring that sent five Mexican women to serve as prostitutes in five Northern California cities were sentenced to three years in jail.

maldax@sfexaminer.com