$112,000 and more than 200 condoms: New info on arrests of 3 people for crimes related to human trafficking in Hampton Roads

Generic: Day Police Lights
Posted at 8:23 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 23:29:31-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Three people have been arrested for what Virginia Beach Police say are various crimes related to human trafficking.

Police announced Monday that from January to May of this year, VBPD's Special Investigations Bureau - Vice Unit and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations conducted anti-human trafficking operations.

After an extensive investigation, several agencies on the local, state and federal agencies executed search warrants on four massage parlors and three homes in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Williamsburg.

As a result of the investigation, Yang Gao, 33, of Norfolk; Ye Wang, 32, of Virginia Beach; and Si Liu, 35, of Norfolk; were arrested for multiple criminal offenses, which included Sex Trafficking; Maintain or Frequent a Bawdy Place; Prostitution Aiding/ Assisting in Procurement; and Pander, Pimp or Receive Money from a Prostitute.

The Virginia Beach Police Department remains steadfast in our commitment to Anti-Human Trafficking operations and supporting the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force," police said.

“I think it’s crazy! I had no idea that kind of stuff was going on,” Virginia Beach resident Lawrence Reed said. Reed lives in the same neighborhood as Wang.

News 3 obtained exclusive video from folks of a search warrant being executed on Stratton Drive within Wang’s neighborhood in Virginia Beach.

News 3 also obtained court documents, revealing new details in the case involving one of the other defendants, Si Liu.

The documents state last November, police were told of a possible massage parlor and a website that was posting ads for prostitution, and an IP address connected to the site running sex ads was found to belong to Liu.

The documents went on to say Liu was seen picking up women from buses, taking them to get food and taking them to a bank. Current and past victims had identified Liu as a boss, according to documents.

The documents also reveal that in a recent seizure, $112,000 was found wrapped in different stacks with different girls' names, along with more than 200 condoms. The same condoms were found at a massage parlor.

“This is not a case that’s something we haven’t heard of before,” Courtney Pierece, Anti-Human Trafficking Outreach and Direct Service Coordinator for Samaritan House told News 3.

Samaritan House, a Virginia Beach-based organization, works to help human trafficking survivors. Pierce added that the link between massage parlors and human trafficking is not a unique trend in Hampton Roads.

“Because we’re an area that has a lot of tourist activities, that sort of falls right in line with that,” she said. “You’re able to relax at a spa, relax and getting a massage. That part is something that people take advantage of.”

Since January 2017, Samaritan House has helped 125 clients. Samaritan House officials added 89% are related to sex trafficking, and a victim’s average age ranges anywhere from 18-23 years old.

Pierce emphasized the importance of speaking up about anything suspicious you see, and to help keep each other safe.

“If a massage parlor opens up at 5 a.m. and doesn’t have a closing time, that might be something to be aware of,” she said. “Human trafficking survivors can look like any of us, and they can be any of us.”

News 3 also talked with Wang’s family, and they did not want to talk about his arrest.

Along with Samaritan House, another resource is the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888.

Investigators assigned to the Special Investigations Bureau are continuing to investigate this case. If you have any information, you are asked to call 757-427-1749.

Download the News 3 app for updates.