WAITE PARK, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Waite Park Police Department and the Central Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force announced Monday they arrested two people in connection with a prostitution ring.
Randy Wittner, 49, of St. Cloud and his girlfriend, Sufeng Jiang, 48, of St. Cloud, are each charged with two felonies related to the promotion of prostitution.
The charges allege Jiang and Wittner held a 46-year-old woman against her will in their trailer in St. Cloud and also forced her to perform sex acts at Oriental Massage in Waite Park for up to 12 hours a day.
In mid-June, investigators monitored the business for several days and interviewed several men having just left the building who admitted to paying for sex acts.
On June 21, investigators entered the building to perform an inspection. It was then they encountered the woman who said she was being forced to work there.
“Almost right away, saying, ‘Please help me,’ indicated she was being held against her will, forced to work long hours, and perform various sex acts and she wanted help,” said Waite Park Police Chief Dave Bentrud.
The chief said she may’ve been exploited for years - until she saw her opportunity to escape.
“It appears she was moved from city to city…[which] tells me it may be very significant in terms of the coercive nature of this.”
Initially, the woman said she was afraid to talk to investigators fearing retaliation from Jiang. Eventually, the woman told investigators she had come to Minnesota from Boston and had to give half of the money she earned at Oriental Massage to Jiang. She also said Jiang and Wittner were forcing her to live in their trailer against her will.
Chief Benrud said human trafficking is becoming increasingly common in Central Minnesota, and he believes there may still be other victims in the current case.
As many as five women worked at Oriental Massage, which was open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Jiang and Wittner bailed out of Stearns County Jail Monday morning. As part of their conditions of release they are not allowed to return to the business.