Almost two weeks after a Queens husband and wife were arrested and charged for sex trafficking in Nassau County, a third Flushing resident was hit with the same charges for her involvement in the case, according to authorities.
Li Fei Leng, 32, was arrested Thursday morning and arraigned on charges including sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, labor trafficking and unauthorized practice under New York State Education Law.
According to Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, between May 2013 and the end of January 2014, Zhaowei Yin, 49, and his wife Shuwen Ai, 46, hired two women responding to ads in Chinese newspapers under the pretense that they would be performing massages.
However, the women were then required to perform sexual services on male customers at two Nassau County locations. Both parlors are now closed.
During the investigation, it was found that the women would often be forced to sleep at the businesses. One of the victims was never paid for the time she worked, and the other victim would get wages deducted for occasional transportation home after work and for sleeping at the site, even if she was forced to stay there.
One of the victims was also allegedly threatened that if she failed to follow their demands, they would then post a naked photo of her on the Internet and in newspapers. They also threatened the victim, who is undocumented, that if she reported them to the police she would be deported, according to prosecutors.
In one case when one of the victims was allegedly subjected to physical violence from a customer, she was still forced her to continue to perform whatever services the customer asked for.
Both victims were arrested and charged during undercover operations by the Nassau County Police Department and later their cases were handled by the Human Trafficking Intervention Part of the Nassau County District Court.
After further investigation, it was found that the women had been forced to perform sexual acts and had become victims of sex and labor trafficking.
“Victims of sex trafficking experience the horrors of modern-day slavery, and the criminals who profit from oppression must face harsh penalties,” Singas said.
Leng’s bail was set at $250,000 bond or $125,000 cash and she is due back in court on Oct. 22. If convicted of the top charge, she faces a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.