Human Trafficking In Our Backyard

July 10, 2012

 

Last week, police arrested two people in Cedar Park charging them with human trafficking and prostitution.  According to KVUE.com police arrested 45 year old Greg Sanfratello and 47 year old Xiaofeng Wo on the two charges.  Sanfratello and Wo were operating Panda Paws Massage in Cedar Park, a business that had been up and running for three months. Local business owners commented that it was common to see 30-40 people come and go in a day, most of those being men.  Captain Jeff Hayes with Cedar Park Police Department said, “When you talk human trafficking you’re essentially talking slavery.”

 

After a customer complained to police, Cedar Park PD began watching.  They witnessed Wo and Sanfratello driving women from a nearby apartment complex to Panda Paws.  As the investigation continued, it was determined that the business was advertising sex through backpage.com. Police soon discovered the activity was occurring in Round Rock as well.  Women were being forced to stay inside Unique Massage, which is now closed.  Under cover officers visited both facilities for massages and were propositioned for sex during the massage.  

 

Officer Hayes stated, “Whatever kept those women there and under their control is a terrible, terrible thing.”  There were five women employed by Panda Paws.  All five have been taken into protective custody.  Cedar Park is a city that lies partially in Travis County and partially in Williamson County and has a population of about 58,000.

 

Human trafficking and prostitution is not something you would expect to find in this area.  The property manager was shocked to see the arrests. She said that it’s a scary thing that something like that could happen at that particular complex and that the two managed to get away with it for three months.