Craig Okeido Anderson, 32, of no fixed address, faces numerous charges of human trafficking, assault and prostitution after police received a call on Oct. 3 from a 24-year-old victim who said Anderson forced her to perform sex for money for the past two years, according to police.
Even before local and federal agents raided Jade Heart Health in Towson and charged its operators with prostitution and human trafficking, what went on at the massage parlor at 1404 E. Joppa Road was hardly a secret.
The organization, which stands for Howard County Advocacy Group Against Slavery and Trafficking, is focused on raising awareness about human trafficking in greater Howard County. Human trafficking is defined as a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others, according to the Polaris Project — a national anti-slavery organization founded in 2002.
Four women were arrested and charged with prostitution this week after Howard County detectives responded to online ads and posed as potential customers or "johns," according a Howard County Police news release.
A Washington, D.C. man arrested in July on human trafficking and prostitution charges has pleaded guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence, said the Annapolis Police Department in a prepared statement on Tuesday.
The arrest of Di Zhang of Jade Heart Health, a Towson, Md., massage parlor for prostitution and human trafficking highlights a problem that advocates say requires tougher penalties. Zhang had been arrested at least twice before, yet still was operating a brothel.
The directions to the alleged brothel told the men that if they saw a house with green awnings, they'd gone too far. But some of them apparently misunderstood; would-be customers have shown up for years at the nearby house in Towson.
The former president and CEO of Wings to Go, a fast food franchise headquartered in Severna Park, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday for embezzling more than $885,000 from the company to pay for telephone sex and prostitutes over a six-year period, according the Maryland U.S. Attorney's office.
Targeting human trafficking, federal agents participated in a joint operation with local law enforcement that led to the arrest of 23 men alleged to have solicited sex from undercover officers along U.S. 1 in Jessup.