Californian Woman Jailed For Running a Teed Prostitution Ring
A prostitution ring involving teen-aged girls that operated from Sacramento County to several Bay Area counties has been broken, and one of the women behind it has been sentenced to nine years in prison, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday in an emailed news release.
Helen Jean Singh, 22, was sentenced for conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Singh entered a plea of guilty earlier this year and accepted responsibility for participating in a sex-trafficking conspiracy involving the prostitution of teen-age girls, the FBI said.
“A federal grand jury indicted Singh and her husband, Mahendar “Mike” Singh, on the sex trafficking conspiracy charge on Dec. 1, 2011,” the FBI said. “According to the indictment, Mahendar Singh and Helen Singh, both formerly of Sacramento, recruited teen-age girls by promising money, drugs, and a ‘family-like environment.’ They maintained control over their victims by providing drugs, using physical force and threats of physical force and fostering a climate of fear. The couple used the Internet to advertise their prostitution enterprise, which spanned from Sacramento County to multiple Bay Area counties.”
The couple was arrested on Aug. 20, 2011, after the South San Francisco Police Department responded to a motel near San Francisco Airport and found Mahendar Singh with three teenage girls, including two 16-year-olds, the FBI said. The affidavit alleges that the defendants used an Internet website to advertise their victims and employed cell phones and text-messaging to make arrangements with customers.
“While no prison sentence can ever compensate for the physical and emotional toll experienced by trafficking victims, this lengthy prison term should serve as a sobering warning about the consequences facing those who engage in this reprehensible practice,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge ICE Homeland Security Investigations San Francisco. “Human traffickers prey on the powerless and the vulnerable. ICE Homeland Security Investigations and its federal law enforcement partners are committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves.”
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton. Judge Hamilton also sentenced Helen Singh, who was and will remain in custody, to a five-year period of supervised release following her prison term and ordered her to forfeit property and make restitution of $45,000 to one of the victims.
Mahendar Singh, who pleaded guilty on January 18, 2012, received the same sentence on April 18, 2012.
The arrests and convictions were part of a joint investigation by the FBI and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) after an initial investigation by the South San Francisco Police Department.
The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office; the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice; and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice also provided assistance.
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