SAN BRUNO -- During a nationwide crackdown on child sex trafficking last week police discovered a brothel in a San Bruno apartment which may be part of a larger Bay Area prostitution and trafficking ring, police said Wednesday.
Police arrested a man suspected of being a pimp from Union City at the apartment as well as two women who may have been forced into prostitution. Officers also took into custody five other men, including San Jose and Oakland residents, in San Mateo County who are suspected of being pimps.
As part of Operation Cross Country, which was coordinated by the FBI, local law enforcement agents freed 12 children from prostitution and arrested 21 pimps in Bay Area cities ranging from Oakland to San Mateo and Santa Rosa to San Jose. In all 105 children were rescued and 150 pimps arrested in 76 cities across the country as part of the annual operation.
Undercover officers went to the undisclosed address of the San Bruno apartment after arranging an encounter with the women, according to South San Francisco police. Agents found the women in a "sparse" two unit apartment, along with cash and "evidence of a brothel-type operation," South San Francisco police said. They are investigating whether the operation was part of a Bay Area ring.
The suspect, 35-year-old Senhsu Yang, was in San Mateo County Superior Court on Monday on one count of felony pimping, but did not enter a plea, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Yang is behind bars in Redwood City in lieu of $20,000 bail.
Three of the other four pimping suspects are out on bail while prosecutors decide whether to file charges. A 19-year-old pimping suspect arrested in Daly City was released due to insufficient evidence, prosecutors said.
San Mateo police arrested one pimping suspect, Yu Yuan, 25, of San Jose, and 10 woman for prostitution, police Sgt. Dave Norris said. The other three San Mateo County pimping arrests happened at the Westlake Shopping Center in Daly City. Arrested were: Shauntee King, 27, of Daly City; Phillip Gipson, 20, of Oakland and Giovanni Haughton, 22, of Redwood City.
Officers also took five women ranging from 22 to 40 years old into custody for misdemeanor prostitution, according to Daly City police records. The FBI initially said seven pimping suspects were arrested in San Mateo County.
All of the women talked to or arrested "were provided support, alternatives, resources and direction to victim service agencies in San Mateo County," South San Francisco police said in a statement.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.