CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – The FOX 8 I-Team has found 11 people indicted on 38 charges accused of running a ring offering sex for sale at massage parlors.
Cuyahoga County prosecutors indicted the entire group for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Other charges include conspiracy, promoting prostitution, money laundering and tax fraud. All of the suspects are not named in all of the charges.
Here’s who has been indicted in the case: Jujuan Tao, 48, Jianwen Chen, 37, Duoxiu Yang, 42, Jin Lian Chen, 49, Yixiu Chen, 46, Joseph Scherer, 43, Michael Johnson, 59, Zhichen Fang, 52, Quin Wang, 38, Ling Lin, 43, and Ai Hua Chen, 41.
The case grew out of an investigation by the Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force.
Last summer, detectives raided massage parlors in Strongsville, Middleburg Heights and Painesville Township.
They said they had evidence of women forced to carry out sex for sale even while living in the massage parlors.
From there, investigators said they rescued the sex workers, and then they followed the money.
We’ve learned Cuyahoga County prosecutors indicted the people believed to be the organizers and not any of the women rescued from the operation.
Investigators said, at the time, they had evidence the sex for sale involved up to 500 customers.
Middleburg Hts Police Body camera video showed people taken into custody after one raid at a massage parlor along with a washer and dryer and shelves stocked with some food.
A group called the Harriet Tubman Movement quickly got involved and began helping some of the women in this case start new lives.
Co-founder Laura Bartchak said, “We want them to be safe first of all.” She added, “We will scour the country for what program might be best, what options might be best.”
The indictment says the sex operation ran from June 2020 until the raids in August of last year.
“I am incredibly proud of the 17 law enforcement agencies that worked together on this case,” Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said in a release. “Human trafficking has no borders and through our collaboration, this enterprise was brought to an end stopping these individuals from endangering Northeast Ohio and continuing their corrupt operation. None of the individuals indicted were the victims of this human trafficking ring.”