A couple was arrested on suspicion of pimping and pandering in connection with brothels in Milpitas, Palo Alto and San Jose, according to police and prosecutors. The south bay brothels were part of a national network of commercial sex traffickers.
The arrests of David Davies, 57, and Larong Hu, 38, conclude an investigation that started in December 2019, when a Milpitas brothel was identified by Milpitas detectives and Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office investigators.
Additional brothels were found throughout the county and search warrants were served in Milpitas, San Jose, and Palo Alto, Milpitas police said.
Six female victims of human trafficking were rescued, and $2 million was seized in the investigation. The rescued victims were provided services through Community Solutions, an organization that provides critical services for victims of human trafficking, according to police.
The couple’s satellite of brothels trafficked women from China, South Korea and eastern Europe, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said Friday in a press release. Over 100 sex workers circulated through “non-descript apartments” in the county before they were taken to other U.S. cities to continue the illegal work.
The multiagency investigation found that men would visit the apartments for 30 minutes to an hour at a time and prophylactics and other sex work paraphernalia left in the rented rooms.
Sex workers told investigators that they would see 10 to 15 men a day; the men learned about the service through online advertisements and paid Hu via Venmo or PayPal, according to the District Attorney’s Office. The workers, who were prohibited from leaving the room, had their passports taken from them and had to pay for their own food and daily necessities.
One woman told investigators that she was working to pay for her mother’s cancer treatment, according to prosecutors.
“People do not have the right to treat other people like pack animals,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in the release. “This County will spare no effort to track down those who exploit others for profit and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”
Davies, a tech businessman, and Hu were taken into custody in the 100 block of Tiger Lily Drive, on suspicion of crimes related to human trafficking, and are being held on $350,000 bail. They are scheduled for arraignment at the Hall of Justice in San Jose on Friday afternoon. If convicted, the couple faces time in prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security Services assisted Milpitas police and the District Attorney’s Office in the investigation.
Anyone who is a victim of human trafficking, or knows someone who is, should call 911 immediately or call the 24-Hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888. Callers can also reach the hotline by texting 233733 to initiate online chats. Human trafficking victims, whether U.S. citizens or not, are eligible for services including immigration assistance.
Additional services are also available through community and county-based programs, such as Community Solutions and South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking.