Officers arrests a suspect in a multi-national illegal prostitution operation
An online sex trafficking ring was busted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But the lead agents said one of the masterminds was on the run and bringing trafficking victims to Southwest Florida.
“Naples is an attractive area for trafficking because it’s such an affluent community,” said Linda Oberhaus, CEO of the Shelter for Abused Woman & Children. “The reality is it’s the buyers that create the demand for traffickers.”
The Naples Police Department responded to a call to the Ramada Inn Sunday after a hotel employee spotted Chaodan Wang with a younger woman. The worker suspected Wang was with an escort.
“I would say this hotel worker is a hero, in my opinion, this person was a hero,” Oberhaus said. “That they had the courage to call law enforcement.”
Federal investigators said Wang was part of an illegal prostitution operation shipping Asian women all over the United States, Canada and Australia for sex. A grand jury indicted her and five others in January.
“We don’t think that this can happen in our back yard,” said Marco Perry, of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, “it can help anywhere.”
Last year hotels were the top location for sex trafficking calls in Florida. Perry said hotels are stepping up training to be on the lookout for signs of trafficking.
“Sometimes it’s looking for a facial expression on a teenagers face or a child’s face,” Perry said. “Someone who may not look like they belong with adults in a particular hotel room.”