DENVER (CBS4) – Prosecutors in Denver used a new tactic to fight human trafficking. They filed financial crimes charges against alleged trafficking ring operators.

The ring involved different massage parlors in the Denver metro area, officials say.

Xiaoli Gao (credit: Denver)

Two people, Xiaoli Gao, 51, and Zhong Wei Zhang, 49, face charges of filing a false tax return as part of a grand jury indictment for allegedly profiting from the trafficking of humans. They also face charges of organized crime and pimping.

Zhong Wei Zhang (credit: Denver)

Other charges include conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering,.

“Often times it’s the victim of the sex traffic industry that was the one getting the handcuffs put on and prosecuted. We want to make sure that utilizing our precision policing model, utilizing a collaborative approach, that we’re holding the people exploiting vulnerable populations accountable,” said Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen.

(credit: CBS)

Investigators say they busted this ring because neighbors called the National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888). The Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-866-455-5075. You can also text “HELP” TO 233733.


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