LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County police arrested a New York woman after receiving a tip through the National Human Trafficking Tip Line in early January.
The tip led detectives to a hotel in the 9700 block of Washington Blvd. on Jan. 25, where investigating officers spotted 46-year-old Wenbo Wang who had arrived with another woman police believe was a potential victim.
Detectives learned through the investigation that Wang posted prostitution ads online for a number of women, arranged appointments and collected a part of the resulting payments.
Wang is charged with human trafficking, prostitution, drug possession, and other related charges.
She is being held on $500,000 bail at the Howard County Detention Center.
The woman who arrived at the hotel with Wang had appropriate services made available to her.
Investigators urge anyone with information or who may have been a victim of Wang, or may know her by another name, to call police at 410-313-STOP.
Howard County offers assistance to victims of human trafficking and police believe there may be other victims in this case, they learned that Wang posted prostitution ads online for a number of women, arranged appointments and collected a portion of the resulting payments.
“What we’re finding more and more is that no place is immune to human trafficking, it’s become such a widespread issue and that’s why we’re focused on it in Howard County, we want to make sure we’re not only getting the people off the street and out of the county who are committing crimes but that we’re also providing services to the victims, and that is a critical component for us,” said Sherry Llewellyn, spokesperson for the Howard County Police.
Maryland has become a hotbed for sex trafficking with criminals, using the I-95 corridor with easy access to East Coast cities including New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia to transport their targets in many cases.
They sell underage victims, and Gov. Hogan is backing legislation calling for more prison time for perpetrators.
“Human trafficking is among the most despicable crimes occurring in our state and make no mistake about it, this is a violent crime,” Gov. Hogan said.
Howard County Police are asking for help, as they believe there may be more victims in the most recent case in Laurel.
“We’re asking people to look at the picture of the suspect, she may have used a false name in some situations. If this person looks familiar, in fact if you may have been a victim of this suspect we’re asking potential victims to come forward and give us information,” Llewellyn said.
Right now Maryland has just two shelters for trafficking victims.