By Tenzin Monlam
Sonam Tsering (left) and Zhaxi Taxing (right). Photo-Hennepin County Sheriff's Department
DHARAMSHALA, July 12: Two men believed to be of Tibetan origin have been charged in sex-trafficking in Edina and Richfield of Minnesota. They allegedly brought women from China to the US for commercial sex, announced the Hennepin County Attorney’s office.
According to the announcement, Sonam Tsering (36) of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Zhaxi Taxing (41) of St. Louis Park, were charged with engaging in the sex trafficking of an individual. Tsering also was charged with promoting the prostitution of an individual and receiving profits from prostitution.
Taxing made his first court appearance Monday. Tsering made his first appearance last month. Taxing remains in the Hennepin County Jail. Tsering is not currently in custody.
“This is a highly organized, illegal operation that stretched from coast-to-coast in the United States. These women are victims who were preyed upon by the sex-trafficking operators and we are going to do everything in our power to disrupt the commercial sex trade in Hennepin County,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
However, in the criminal complaints, they have not mentioned the nationality of the two men.
The police first got hint of it when Bloomington Police were investigating prostitution in November 2016 and came across an ad for commercial sex of an Asian woman in backpage.com.
The investigations also found that false names and social security numbers were used to rent the apartment in Edina. However, it eventually led to the authorities to Taxing who was seen moving items in between the two apartments.
The complaint stated, “Officers watched the Richfield apartment and saw numerous men going in and out and staying only a short period of time. They also saw Tsering place a garbage bag in the dumpster and inside police found numerous condom wrappers and tissues with bodily fluids.”
Police have also seized a cell phone from Taxing, on which they found communications with a woman known to be involved in sex trafficking.
“The communications told Taxing when to pick up women at the airport, how to take care of them, setting up the apartments and complaints about how they were making less money than their competitors,” the complaint says.
According to the victims in the complaint, they were brought specifically for commercial sex.
The police say that Taxing had deposited more than $52,000 in less than five months, whereas Tsering had deposited around $19,000.
According to the criminal complaint, Taxing will be charged with ‘engaging in the sex trafficking of an individual’ on two counts with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or $40,000.
As for Tsering, he is being charged on four counts – ‘promoting prostitution of an individual’, ‘receiving profits from prostitution’ and two counts of ‘engaging in the sex trafficking of an individual’ with 25 years sentence and/or $60,000.