June 19, 2013

SAN MATEO, CA - Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) released the following statement on the recent arrest of an alleged sex trafficker, Zhi Liu, in South San Francisco. The suspect and his wife, Wei Gou, who is still on the loose, are suspected of being part of a much larger international human trafficking ring which involved young Chinese women that were moved between Boston, New York, Sacramento, and San Mateo County:

“This bust sends a message to any trafficker who wants to bring victims to San Mateo County - human trafficking will not be tolerated in our community. As a result of law enforcement efforts, two young women have been freed from modern day slavery. Human trafficking is unfortunately all too common in our neighborhoods, often occurring right in front of our eyes. This case is a prime example as it allegedly took place in the communities of both South San Francisco and San Bruno. That is why it is critical that community members be on board this effort- if you see something suspicious, say something by contacting your local police department. Human traffickers don’t recognize city, county or state boundaries—they take their victims where business is most profitable and detection least likely.”

Each year, an estimated 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders and 100,000 to 300,000 domestic minors are forced into sexual slavery. Congresswoman Speier has worked closely with law enforcement to eliminate this epidemic, which has become the second most profitable crime after illegal arms trafficking. Speier launched a Zero Tolerance Initiative in San Mateo in 2011 and has held several anti-trafficking trainings for law enforcement agencies and hotel and airline workers.