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Men accused in human trafficking case make court appearance
Published Monday, September 21, 2009 12:31PM MDT
Three men charged in what appears to be Edmonton's first alleged case of human trafficking made a court appearance Monday morning.
Mei Fang Chen, 33, Xiu Zheng Chen, 32, and Qui Wang, 41, have all been charged with numerous offences including living off the avails of prostitution, exercising control, direction, or influence over a person for the purposes of prostitution, and keeping a common bawdy house.
In early September, police received information about a possible bawdy house and human trafficking case involving Sachi Professional Massage and Spa located on 175 Street and 100 Avenue.
A search was eventually executed at Sachi Professional Massage and Spa and another at an apartment on 69 Avenue and 199 Street belonging to a person connected to the business.
A male and female were arrested as they were seen leaving the business and four women who were inside the business were taken into custody. Police later learned that three of those women taken into custody were allegedly victims of human trafficking.
Those three women, ages 21-41, were safely removed from the business at the time of the search warrant and are now being cared for by a non-profit agency.
It's cases such as this that prompted Action Coalition on Human Trafficking to collect more than 1,000 signatures to petition for more police resources from the Edmonton Police Commission to prevent a similar incident from happening again.
"What we're basically doing is getting the word out there that this exists and that we can do something. It's not just something we have to watch on TV, we can come out and get signatures and get people involved to end this," said Chandra Ashton with Action Coalition.
The group will present its petition to the commission on October 15th.
The three suspects in the case will make another court appearance on September 29th for their bail hearings.