WICHITA, KAN. – A man and two women have been charged with sex trafficking in Asian massage parlors in Wichita, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Gary H. Kidgell, 44, Waltham, Mass., is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to transport a person in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution.
Yan Zhang, 49, Wichita, Kan., is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and three counts of sex trafficking.
Xiuqing Tian, 42, Framingham, Mass., is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to transport a person in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution.
The three defendants were named in a criminal complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Wichita. An affidavit in support of the complaint included the following allegations:
– The investigation began in 2010 when the Wichita Police Department began monitoring an internet Web site that provided a forum for patrons of sexually oriented businesses to post descriptions of their experiences and to discuss sexual acts and the costs.
– Some posts indicated individuals had received sexual acts in exchange for money at AG Spa at 2260 N. Ridge Road, Suite 150, in Wichita and Sun Chi Spa at 1030 E. 1st in Wichita.
– Police received complaints from citizens about a disturbance in the early morning hours at AG Spa. On May 20, 2010, police responded to a disturbance at AG Spa and found six persons involved in a fight including Gary Kidgell, the owner of AG Spa, Xiuqing Tian, an employee of the spa and Yan Zhang, as well as other persons.
– Kidgell and Zhang were married. Zhang was arrested in July 2013 for prostitution.
– Police officers working undercover confirmed that Asian female workers offered sex acts for money.
– Police served a search warrant and obtained a notebook containing handwritten Chinese-English translations for phrases commonly used in a massage spa, as well as sexually explicit phrases including, “Did you bring a condom?” They also seized written copy in Chinese for advertisements in newspapers in New York, Chicago and San Francisco offering “massage parlor hiring” in Kansas.
– Police interviewed Asian female workers who offered and performed sex acts for money. In those interviews they learned that Asian women came to Wichita to work in the massage parlors because they were told they would make a lot of money. Once in Wichita they found the work was hard and they did not earn as much as they expected. Some of them were told never to leave the business because the area around the stores was dangerous. Some of the women said they were allowed to keep money they made by performing sex acts.
Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:
– Conspiracy to commit sex trafficking: A fine up to $250,000 and imprisonment of any term of years.
– Conspiracy to transport a person in interstate commerce for prostitution: A maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
– Sex trafficking: Not less than 15 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.