ATASCADERO, Calf. - The Atascadero Police Department issued citations in an undercover operation to expose suspected human sex trafficking at three massage parlors.
The investigation was in response to complaints of unlawful business practices, including prostitution and possible human trafficking.
The prostitution charge was for 39-year-old Qin Guifang, of Monterey Park. San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Human Trafficking Task Force joined the investigation.
“I want to make sure that we create an environment in our community where victims of human trafficking know at it is safe to disclose and report if they have been victimized,” said San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow.
San Luis Obispo police are also apart of the undercover operation that has been underway for several months.
Connie Coski founder of CASA of HOPE, a safe house for female adult human trafficking victims, says massage parlors on the Central Coast are big draws to sex traffic rings.
“Our little town is the fourth largest city with the greatest incidents of this,” said Coski. “Because we have a large portion of undocumented workers, we are a target. And we have an amazing amount of massage parlors for our population base and I suspect that is part of the reason because it's very easy to promote that sort of behavior in a place like that.”
Two of the parlors were cited for labor and insurance code violations. The third was cited for being unsafe due to building code violations.
Since human trafficking is suspected, the San Luis Obispo County Victim Witness Assistance Program is working with law enforcement to provide housing and counseling for any victims.