Several California Beauty Businesses Believed To Be Center Of Sex Trafficking Ring

(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Seven people were arrested in connection to operating a sex trafficking ring, which ran out of multiple business fronts including spas, fashion and skincare-focused stores allegedly owned by a single family in southern California, officials announced Thursday.

The trafficking ring rotated women between businesses across various California counties.

Olga and Carlos Paredes, who are siblings, were accused by authorities of using human smugglers to recruit women in Mexico to work in their illicit sex businesses in the United States, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said.

Carlos allegedly recruited the women, collected payments, and posted online sex advertisements. The advertisements described prices, sex acts, and location of the sex-trafficked victim. Olga, on the other hand, was accused of overseeing the illicit businesses, meeting with managers about women’s work, and opening new businesses under fictitious names, according to officials.

Upon serving search warrants, authorities found numerous victims at the businesses and homes. They also seized large sums of cash they believed were linked to the sex trafficking and money laundering. The victims were taken care of through human trafficking victim service providers, according to officials. (RELATED: Advocacy Group Reveals Amazon, Netflix And Twitter As Among Major Facilitators Of Child Sexual Exploitation)

Businesses such as fashion boutiques were apparently used as a front to launder the funds from the sex trafficking ring.

Other relatives and significant others were also involved in the family business, according to officials. Flor De Maria Evora, Carlos’ girlfriend, and Jaime Vasquez, a nephew, allegedly helped manage the daily accounting sheets and proceeds for the businesses.

Olga’s daughter, Olga Ramirez, allegedly managed the fashion boutique and helped her mother open new sex and labor trafficking businesses.

Maria Del Refugio Garcia, mother of the Paredes siblings, allegedly helped direct the business from Mexico, and funneled proceeds out of the U.S.

Three other men, who were not related to the family, were also arrested on human trafficking charges on charges that they allegedly managed three separate illicit businesses for the family. Carlos Paredes was not found, and Maria Del Refugio Garcia was believed to be in Mexico. Arrest warrants were out for both suspects, according to KTLA.