FBI Agents, Local Cops Nab Human Traffickers in Las Vegas
by Jim Kouri, CPP
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently arrested You Zhi Li, Yang Shen, and Jun Hu, on charges of Involuntary Servitude.
The investigation was initiated on Wednesday, 6/27/2007, when a Chinese national female escaped from a house where she was being held, and made contact with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Contact was then made with the Las Vegas Division of the FBI. Further investigation determined that numerous individuals from the China Star Acrobats were at a residence in southwest Las Vegas reportedly being held against their will.
On June 29, FBI Special Agents, LVMPD Officers, Child Protective Services Specialists with the Clark County Department of Family Services, and Anti-Trafficking League Against Slavery (ATLAS) representatives made contact with approximately fourteen Chinese nationals at this southwest Las Vegas residence. Nine of these individuals, including five juveniles, were identified as being victims of human trafficking. These individuals were taken into protective custody at that time.
On July 2, federal complaints were filed and arrest warrants obtained for You Zhi Li, Yang Shen, and Jun Hu.
Some factors taken into consideration to file criminal charges against these individuals included allegations of victims receiving rationed meals of limited quantity, the acrobat performers not being paid the salary they were promised, their passports and work visas being held from them, enforcers watching and controlling the movements of the performers, and a fear of the performers that their families in China, as well as themselves, would be harmed if they attempted to leave.
It should be mentioned, ATLAS is a task force comprised of local, state, and federal law enforcement, social services, and other non-governmental agencies dedicated to investigating, identifying, and assisting victims of human trafficking, as well as educating the community regarding human trafficking.
In a separate case also in Nevada, a man was sentenced to life without parole in federal prison for transporting two minors across state lines to work as prostitutes after he previously had been convicted of a child exploitation crime.
Juan Rico Doss, 38, of Reno, Nevada, received the mandatory sentence of life in prison on Monday from US District Judge Stephen G. Larson.
On June 26, 2006, a federal jury determined that Doss was guilty of two counts of sex trafficking of children, three counts of transporting minors into prostitution, one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children and transporting minors into prostitution, and two counts of witness tampering.
The evidence at trial showed that during the first two weeks of May 2005, Doss conspired with his wife, Jacquay Quinn Ford, to transport two girls across state lines to work as prostitutes. Doss and Ford transported the victims -- one 14 and one 16 -- from Nevada to work as prostitutes in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Oakland. Doss recruited and transported the 16-year-old victim by the use of force.
“Juan Rico Doss stole the freedom of his young female victims when he recruited them and transported them across state lines for prostitution, sometimes through the use of force. Now he will spend the rest of his life in prison,” said Assistant Attorney General Fisher.
“The life sentence in this case is the result of the cooperative effort of federal prosecutors, the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department, and is part of our ongoing effort to prevent and prosecute the sexual exploitation of child victims.”
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.