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Pair indicted for running 'well-organized human trafficking ring,' DA says

A Denver Grand Jury indicted Xiaoli Gao and Zhong Wei Zhang on numerous counts, the DA announced.

DENVER — Denver District Attorney Beth McCann and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen on Monday morning announced that a Denver Grand Jury indicted two individuals on financial crimes for allegedly profiting from the trafficking of humans. 

Ms. Xiaoli Gao, 51, and Mr. Zhong Wei Zhang, 49, ran a well-organized human trafficking ring, they said.

Gao and Zhang are charged with violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA), conspiracy to commit pimping, pimping, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, conspiracy to commit keeping a place of prostitution, keeping a place of prostitution and filing a false tax return.

"This is the first time my office has used financial crime to indict alleged traffickers which has the elegance of sparing the trafficked women from testifying while also charging Gao and Zhang with a class two felony," said Denver DA McCann. "By following the money, we are alleging a case of financial crimes that led from one Denver home, to massage parlors around Denver, to bank accounts in China."

RELATED: Businesses shut down for suspected human trafficking in Aurora reopen just a few miles away

The Denver District Attorney’s Office and DPD created dedicated human trafficking investigation teams in 2017 and 2019 respectively that, in close partnership with the DPD Victim Assistance Unit and community-based victim services, collectively work to prevent human trafficking, and provide care and supportive resources to victims.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline Number is 1-888-373-7888 and the Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-866-455-5075.

Gao and Zhang will be arraigned on Feb. 10, at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 2A. 

If you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, call the Human Trafficking Hotline. The number is: 1-888-373-7888

In Colorado, if you suspect a child might be a victim, contact the Colorado Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline – 1-844-CO-4-Kids (1-844-264-5437)  

The number serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to all Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect concerns.

All callers are able to speak with a call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls can be kept anonymous. If a child is in immediate danger, dial 911. 

Click/tap here for additional resources

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