Prostitution bust raises concerns of human trafficking

By: Melissa Etezadi Email
By: Melissa Etezadi Email

Lexington Police say its the biggest prostitution bust they've seen. On Tuesday they arrested five people involved in what they're calling a large-scale prostitution ring.

Police are referring to this crime as 'human trafficking' since prostitutes were taken to multiple cities and even states.

The undercover bust lead to the arrest of five people. Mario Antonio Flores, Roberto Salinas-Rivera, Adrian Lezama-Ruiz and Roxana Olea Serna all pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of engaging in organized crime and promoting prostitution. Danella Santos-Evangelista, accused of being one of the organization's prostitutes, pleaded not guilty to one count of engaging in organized crime.

The arrest citation names Mario Antonio Flores as "a leader in the operation based in Lexington." It states Flores would coordinate the prostitutes' arrivals and departures, even picking them up and and delivering them to the"handlers he employed."

Police believe these "handlers" were Roxana Olea Serna and Adrian Lezama- Ruiz. Ruiz allegedly ran a brothel out of his Cross Keys Road apartment. As for Serna, police say she was a driver -- taking prostitutes to various locations throughout Louisville.
According to police, Roberto Salinas-Rivera's job was to "deliver prostitutes to several different locations to perform their sex acts" as well as collecting money from the customers.

However, in this bust there was only one person arrested for supposedly being a prostitute--that person was Danella Santos- Evangelista.
Santos-Evangelista was charged with "traveling from state to state to perform sexual acts for pay" however the documents do outline that there were multiple prostitutes who "rotated from place to place."

An organized crime that Megan Fowler of the National Human Trafficking resource center says in on the rise. She says it's a low risk high profit crime that many cities like Lexington are seeing.

Now federal law enforcement agencies -- particularly the Federal U.S. Attorneys office-- are looking into the crime.

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