Coronavirus live updates: US pledges $100 million to attract medical workers amid pandemic burnout – The Washington Post



Coronavirus live updates: US pledges $100 million to attract medical workers amid pandemic burnout  The Washington Post



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Travel writer publishes book on 100 things to do in Lansing


LANSING, Mich. — Anyone familiar with Lansing are most likely also familiar with the complaint that there’s nothing to do here.

Not true, according to travel blogger Amy Piper.

The Lansing native just published her first book, “100 Things to do in Lansing before you die.”

“Some people laughed at me literally when I said I was doing this and these were good friends of mine,” said Piper. “One guy said ‘Well, what do you do after 48?'”

Grounded and unable to travel for the first time in years because of the pandemic, Piper spent the last year compiling her top Capitol city go-to’s.

The book covers the 25-mile radius around Lansing and is divided into five chapters on food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, history and culture and shopping and fashion.

“I tried to put things in here that were evergreen,” Piper said. “In other words, you could come, you could pick up the book, and do it any day of the week.”

Inside the book you’ll find excerpts on familiar spots like Potter Park Zoo, and Saddleback BBQ, but you’ll also find hidden gems like Shigematsu Memorial Garden at Lansing Community College.

“This garden is right amongst the hustle and bustle of the city, but many people don’t know that it’s here,” Piper said.

Other city secrets include a private house museum that is open by appointment only and full of Beatles paraphernalia and the secret to enjoying a free concert any night of summer in Lansing.

For the rest of Piper’s Capitol city secrets? Well she says you’ll just have to read to find out.

You can read more of Amy’s travel tips, at her blog Follow the Piper.

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business trip

NetJets Reaches Agreement with Embraer for Up to 100 Aircraft


Private aviation supplier NetJets has signed a $1.2 billion deal with Embraer to acquire up to 100 Phenom 300 aircraft, NetJets announced.

The deal continues an original purchase agreement with Embraer signed in 2010, from which NetJets already had more than 100 Phenom 300 aircraft. The aircraft type has since become one of NetJets’ most requested, according to the company.

NetJets plans to start taking delivery of Phenom 300E aircraft from the new deal in the second quarter of 2023 in both the United States and Europe.



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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘Burned by Fame’ Says ‘Time’ as it Names Them in 100 Most Influential


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people on their annual list. Time does not rank entrants on the list, but the couple was photographed for one of seven alternate covers of the magazine. The other cover stars are gymnast Simone Biles, actor Kate Winslet, singer-songwriter Billie Eillish, director-general of the World Trade Organization Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, CEO of technology company NVIDIA Jensen Huang and the poet, writer, and professor Cathy Park Hong. The new cover marks the first time that the couple have posed together for a magazine shoot. The new list also includes climate and social justice campaigners, scientists and health-care leaders, along with writers, artists and politicians. In a profile of Harry and Meghan, their friend José Andrés, founder of World Central Kitchen, says they have been “burned by fame” but nevertheless “run toward the struggle.” Harry and Meghan, meanwhile, write in praise of Okonjo-Iweala, saying: “Okonjo-Iweala has shown us that to end the pandemic, we must work together to equip every nation with equitable vaccine access. Our conversations with her have been as informative as they are energizing.”

Read it at Time



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UPDATE 1-FTSE 100 slips as virus fears outweigh gains in travel stocks


(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Flutter Entertainment top blue-chip gainer

* Insurer M&G drops despite strong earnings

* Sporting events push UK consumer spending in July

* FTSE 100 down 0.1%, FTSE 250 adds 0.3% (Updates prices, adds comment)

Aug 10 (Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 slipped on Tuesday as fears over a spike in global COVID-19 cases dented optimism about strong corporate earnings, while Flutter Entertainment jumped after saying it expected its U.S. business to turn a profit by 2023.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 inched 0.1% lower as gains in travel and leisure stocks were outweighed by weakness in heavyweight banks, which tracked benchmark bond yields lower.

Flutter Entertainment rose 4% to the top of the FTSE 100 even after its first-half earnings fell by 12% on a pro-forma basis as it continued to invest heavily in its fast-growing U.S. business.

Travel stocks have gained nearly 12% since the UK eased lockdown restrictions on July 19. The industry has been among the top sectoral performers this month on optimism travel demand would pick up pace, but still underperforms the mid-cap and blue-chip indexes.

“The outlook for travel and leisure stocks is kind of mixed at the moment, with most shares clocking gains but still being off their highs due to rising uncertainties regarding the Delta variant,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

The domestically focussed mid-cap index climbed 0.3% with sports goods retailer Frasers being the top gainer, as surveys showed sporting events and the summer holidays prompted a big increase in British consumer spending in July.

The FTSE 100 has gained 10.4% so far this year on re-opening optimism and record-low interest rates, but a recent jump in global coronavirus infections and rising inflation have spurred worries that central banks could pull back support sooner than expected.

Among stocks, British insurer and asset manager M&G dropped 1.4% to the bottom of the FTSE 100 even after it posted an above-forecast 6% rise in first-half operating profit and said it was on track to meet its end-2022 capital generation target.

Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu



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Best luggage sets under $100


Best luggage sets under $100

Purchasing a complete luggage set is a great way to avoid searching for the right suitcases. However, you don’t want to get stuck paying for extra bags you don’t need. That’s why some brands offer two- and three-piece sets that have everything you’ll need for a trip without breaking the bank. Some affordable options are well under $100.

The Rockland Fashion Softside set is a great choice because it offers incredible value. It’s perfect for solo travelers looking for a two-piece set that is entirely carry-on. Regardless if you’re shopping for yourself or an entire family, there’s something out there for you. And whether you prefer to check a bag or keep everything with you, there are a surprising number of quality luggage sets available for less than $100. You just need to know what to look for!

What to know before you buy a luggage set under $100

Checked baggage or carry-on

carry-on bags

There are two types of suitcases: checked bags and carry-on bags. Checked bags remain stored in the cargo hold of the plane, while carry-on bags can go in the overhead bin in the cabin. Frequent travelers prefer carry-ons, so they don’t have to wait at the baggage claim. However, this convenience does mean less capacity. If you go on a lot of short trips, it’s usually best to travel with a carry-on suitcase. If you plan on being away for a while, allow yourself to bring some more items for your trip with checked bags.

Piece count

shoulder bag

Luggage comes in all forms, from single suitcases to 6-piece sets. But if you need luggage under $100, you can still find a two or three-piece set in this range. You can get a single rolling suitcase, pair a suitcase and a backpack, sport a shoulder bag, or bring along a travel case for bathroom items. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you intend on packing. So it’s a good idea to plan your packing ahead of time so you can avoid buying bags you don’t need.

Color options

outlandish pattern

Hopefully, you’ll be able to keep this luggage set for a long time and travel all over the world with it. So don’t make sure to opt for a color you like. There are plenty of colors and patterns available, and when it comes to luggage, you want yours to look unique. While a plain black suitcase might seem chic, it can be difficult to identify on the baggage carousel amongst other similar bags. So picking a more outlandish pattern might make things easier when you’re finding your luggage.

What to look for in a quality luggage set under $100

Pockets

Softside luggage often has external pockets, and the best suitcases have several internal pockets for separating your various items. And if you have a carry-on bag, pockets mean easy accessibility. So the more zippered pockets a bag has, the easier it’ll be to grab what you need mid-flight.

Attachment sleeves

tote bags with sleeves

For those who want a carry-on suitcase with an additional shoulder bag or backpack, remember it may be a challenge to carry everything through the airport. Many sets feature tote bags with sleeves that slide over the handle of the suitcase so that you can pull both bags at once. This is a common feature worth searching for.

Wheels

two inline skate wheels

Upright wheeled suitcases generally have one of two wheel designs: two inline skate wheels or four spinner wheels. With two inline wheels, you always have to pull your bag behind you, which might tip over in tight corners. A set of four spinner wheels helps the suitcase to stay upright and allows you to push it in any direction. Not everyone cares about spinner wheels, but many consumers find them worth the extra cost, especially with carry-on bags. Of course, keep in mind that may push you above the $100 threshold.

How much you can expect to spend on luggage under $100 

This article only contains luggage sets that cost less than $100, which is already on the cheap side for two or more bags. You may have to get very close to your $100 limit in order to get all the features you want. But since traveling can be tedious at times, you’re probably better off spending a little more for a bag you like instead of a more affordable one that won’t last as long.

Luggage sets under $100 FAQ

Is hardside or softside luggage better?

A. It really depends on your travel plans. Softside luggage has more give when you need to pack your bag to capacity. So, if you need to bring a lot of items with you, you’ll be better off with an expandable softside suitcase. Hardside luggage handles inclement weather and rough handling very well. So if you’re going somewhere with rough terrain and want to keep your things intact, go with hardside.

What is the carry-on luggage size limit?

A. Acceptable sizes for carry-on luggage vary by airline, so you need to check the exact dimensions before you make a purchase. However, keep in mind that there are also weight limitations for bags, so be sure to stay within this limit to avoid fees. If you’re traveling internationally, many international airlines have smaller size limits. If your bag is several inches above the limit, the airline will probably put it into the checked luggage.

What’s the best luggage set under $100 to buy?

Top luggage set under $100

Rockland Fashion Softside

Rockland Fashion Softside

Our take: Sometimes carry-on suitcases don’t include wheels in their stated dimensions. However, this Rockland set features a 21-inch suitcase with wheels included. It will fit in the overhead bin and qualify as a carry-on for most major domestic airlines.

What we like: Available in dozens of color schemes. Has a roomy tote bag for cabin use. Tote has a sleeve that attaches to the carry-on handle.

What we dislike: Features two inline wheels instead of spinner wheels, meaning you’ll have to pull it behind you.

Where to buy: Sold by AmazonMacy’s, Kohl’s and Home Depot

Top luggage set under $100 for the money

Travelers Club Skyview II 3-Piece

Travelers Club Skyview II 3-Piece

Our take: While most sets contain just two bags, this one offers three suitcases with telescoping handles. So you can buy luggage for the whole family for under $100.

What we like: Comes with three upright rolling suitcases at 20-inches, 24-inches and 28-inches. The bags expand for additional capacity and have two exterior zippered pockets.

What we dislike: All three bags are somewhat heavy even when empty, so the larger ones may be difficult to lift.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

iPlay, iLearn Kids Carry On Luggage Set

iPlay, iLearn Kids Carry On Luggage Set

Our take: Instead of forcing your little ones to carry around an adult-sized suitcase or trying to pack their clothes into your bag, you can start them off with this child-size set. It features a rolling suitcase and a backpack.

What we like: Both bags are hardside and can handle rough treatment. Suitcase has multi-directional spinner wheels. Fun images kids are sure to love.

What we dislike: While the hardside backpack matches the suitcase, it doesn’t offer very much capacity.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Gregg Parker writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.



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Love California? Here are more than 100 summer travel ideas


If you’re thinking about traveling in California this summer, we can help.

In this gallery of stories, lists and photos, there are 40 great outdoorsy places plus tips, updates and two dozen suggestions from readers.

We also recommend 50 terrific hiking trails in greater Los Angeles and 12 dog-friendly urban hikes.

Also look for photos and video clips in which Times photographer Carolyn Cole captures spring in Yosemite National Park after its sleepiest year in decades.





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Man who allegedly profited off sex trafficking more than 100 women faces 10 felonies | News


David Davies led a quiet life in his Palo Alto home for more than 20 years, but an investigative report by the Milpitas Police Department and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service alleges he and his current wife trafficked more than 100 women in Santa Clara County over six years as part of a nationwide operation.

Davies, 57, and his wife, Larong Hu, 38, have been charged with 10 felony counts that include conspiracy, pimping and pandering to procure another for prostitution. They were arrested last week at their Milpitas home after a two-year investigation.

Davies, whose LinkedIn page shows that he has been employed for 16 years as a principal engineer at San Jose-based software company Broadcom, owns a home in Palo Alto near Eleanor Pardee Park, according to county records. Neighbors said they were surprised by the arrest. He had lived in the home since 2002 with a five-year gap when he and his former wife were separating, neighbor Carli Scott recalled.

The wife and their children continued to live in the home until about 2018, when Davies returned and became the sole occupant for about 18 months to two years, she said. Despite his long presence in the neighborhood, little was known about him, she added.

“He was not close to anyone in the neighborhood,” she said.

Scott said she never noticed anything unusual such as a brothel at the one-story, four-bedroom house.

“I’m sure I would’ve noticed if people were coming and going,” she said. “It’s been a shock to everyone in the neighborhood. There are just six homes on this street. He kept pretty much to himself.”

This summer he began renovating the house, and it was clear it was empty, she added.

The investigation into Davies and Hu was launched more than two years ago by a complaint regarding a brothel they allegedly ran at a Milpitas apartment building. Milpitas police sought to infiltrate the brothel but were unsuccessful because only people with “referrals” were allowed in, according to the report, which was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The brothels also moved from apartment to apartment, making it difficult to bust the inhabitants.

Police learned through a trail of social media posts on sex websites, advertising in a regional newspaper and texts and emails that the couple’s alleged sex-trafficking operation actually began in 2015. Women were largely procured from the People’s Republic of China but also from South Korea and eastern Europe. Once they arrived, the women were placed on a scheduled circuit of travel from brothel to brothel in different cities across the U.S. The workers stayed at the locations for one week, were not allowed to leave the location and performed sex acts for money with as many as 10 to 15 customers each day, according to the investigation.

The report doesn’t say how the couple linked to the other prostitution operations throughout the country and shared the women on the circuit. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, which is involved in the investigation with the Milpitas Police Department, said they can’t comment because the investigation is ongoing.

The investigation narrative does offer a glimpse into how the operation worked, however. Over six years, Davies and Hu allegedly set up five known brothels in apartments in Milpitas and San Jose. The first was in 2015 when they rented an apartment at 501 Murphy Ranch Road in Milpitas. The couple often used a “straw renter” who leased the apartment on behalf of the brothel organization, the report states. The straw renter is a person who doesn’t live in the apartment but receives some financial incentive or other benefit.

The couple allegedly advertised the women on sites such as WeChat, a Chinese-based social networking platform, and a dedicated website owned by Hu and Davies. The website advertised prices for sex acts and lengths of the “dates” and showed images of scantily clad women.

Davies and Hu also placed ads promoting “new girls every week” between the ages of 19 and 24 in the Sing Tao Daily, an Asian-oriented newspaper largely circulated in the South Bay Asian community, according to the report. Police were able to track brothel apartment locations through those ads.

The brothels accepted payments through Venmo and PayPal accounts that were linked to Hu and her Gmail account.

Investigators linked Davies to the website through an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which was registered to him. They also found multiple text messages between the couple regarding managing and displaying the images of the young women on various known sex websites, according to the report. Police also tracked Davies to a San Jose brothel through GPS data, according to the report.

The yearslong operation was cracked open after the FBI in 2018 seized the website Backpage.com in a sex-trafficking investigation by the Justice Department. Through data collected in that investigation, the Diplomatic Security Service investigators found a “lengthy conspiracy” between Davies and Hu in advertising and operating sex brothels in Santa Clara County from 2015 to the present.

Milpitas police conducted video surveillance of some of the locations and collected evidence such as condoms, in quantities consistent with the number of men seen going in and out of the apartments, from trash dumped by the brothel manager.

Davies and Hu would sometimes close down one brothel and move it to another apartment in the same building, the report states. At one point, they switched apartments with another man; police think both apartments were being used as brothels.

They also allegedly tried to undermine at least one rival brothel operator in Milpitas. In an unrelated investigation, detectives had discovered a brothel at 501 Murphy Ranch Road in another apartment. Video captured Davies and Hu walking through the apartment building and putting notes on apartment doors. After the couple left, police found the typewritten notes, which alerted tenants that a sex brothel was being run out of the rival’s apartment and told them to notify San Jose police.

“After reviewing this material, it was clear that David Davies and Larong Hu were attempting to eliminate brothel competition by getting the brothel, located at Unit #125, closed,” the investigative report noted.

The couple also allegedly ran brothels at apartments in San Jose at 25 Rio Robles East and 320 Crescent Village Circle. One of the sex workers who was arrested in April at the Crescent Village location told investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the federal Diplomatic Security Service how the women were procured and coerced to work.

The woman had come to the U.S. to work and pay for her mother’s extensive medical bills, she told investigators. She had traveled to the U.S. with a tour group and paid for her own transportation. While in China, she had found group message boards and chats about massage work prior to arriving in the U.S.

She eventually found a job at a legitimate massage business, but she was lured into the sex work by the group messages on WeChat. The group chats have “bosses,” who would indicate the specific amount of money to be paid for work, would provide good working conditions and would send money back to China for the women.

The worker said that once employed, she couldn’t leave the brothels since the “bosses” would not pay the workers until the completion of the scheduled “dates” with the customers. They also took her passport and identification with the explanation that the documents were kept safe from theft in the brothels. Each time she arrived at a new brothel, she had to turn over her documents for the duration of her time there, she said.

The worker had to pay for her own food and medicine. Although she never experienced violence, the bosses would become angry and they would speak harshly if she didn’t complete her work, she said. They threatened to blacklist her so that she couldn’t get another job in any other brothels and couldn’t earn any money, she said. The worker described Hu as the boss of the San Jose brothel, but since the worker had only just arrived the day before being arrested, she said she had no experience with Hu.

The worker said she typically made $120 per client, of which the boss would keep $40, and the “house” would deduct additional money for her food, housing and as a house tip.

The brothel owners sent the girls’ earnings back home for them through an unknown method. The owners took a cut of 10% to 15% of the amount being transferred, she said.

Police rescued six people from the brothels. The investigation is ongoing and is also looking into more than $2 million in proceeds from the brothel operations that the couple allegedly laundered.

Davies is scheduled to return to Santa Clara County Superior Court on June 26.





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Man who allegedly profited off sex trafficking more than 100 women faces 10 felonies | News


David Davies led a quiet life in his Palo Alto home for more than 20 years, but an investigative report by the Milpitas Police Department and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service alleges he and his current wife trafficked more than 100 women in Santa Clara County over six years as part of a nationwide operation.

Davies, 57, and his wife, Larong Hu, 38, have been charged with 10 felony counts that include conspiracy, pimping and pandering to procure another for prostitution. They were arrested last week at their Milpitas home after a two-year investigation.

Davies, whose LinkedIn page shows that he has been employed for 16 years as a principal engineer at San Jose-based software company Broadcom, owns a home in Palo Alto near Eleanor Pardee Park, according to county records. Neighbors said they were surprised by the arrest. He had lived in the home since 2002 with a five-year gap when he and his former wife were separating, neighbor Carli Scott recalled.

The wife and their children continued to live in the home until about 2018, when Davies returned and became the sole occupant for about 18 months to two years, she said. Despite his long presence in the neighborhood, little was known about him, she added.

“He was not close to anyone in the neighborhood,” she said.

Scott said she never noticed anything unusual such as a brothel at the one-story, four-bedroom house.

“I’m sure I would’ve noticed if people were coming and going,” she said. “It’s been a shock to everyone in the neighborhood. There are just six homes on this street. He kept pretty much to himself.”

This summer he began renovating the house, and it was clear it was empty, she added.

The investigation into Davies and Hu was launched more than two years ago by a complaint regarding a brothel they allegedly ran at a Milpitas apartment building. Milpitas police sought to infiltrate the brothel but were unsuccessful because only people with “referrals” were allowed in, according to the report, which was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The brothels also moved from apartment to apartment, making it difficult to bust the inhabitants.

Police learned through a trail of social media posts on sex websites, advertising in a regional newspaper and texts and emails that the couple’s alleged sex-trafficking operation actually began in 2015. Women were largely procured from the People’s Republic of China but also from South Korea and eastern Europe. Once they arrived, the women were placed on a scheduled circuit of travel from brothel to brothel in different cities across the U.S. The workers stayed at the locations for one week, were not allowed to leave the location and performed sex acts for money with as many as 10 to 15 customers each day, according to the investigation.

The report doesn’t say how the couple linked to the other prostitution operations throughout the country and shared the women on the circuit. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, which is involved in the investigation with the Milpitas Police Department, said they can’t comment because the investigation is ongoing.

The investigation narrative does offer a glimpse into how the operation worked, however. Over six years, Davies and Hu allegedly set up five known brothels in apartments in Milpitas and San Jose. The first was in 2015 when they rented an apartment at 501 Murphy Ranch Road in Milpitas. The couple often used a “straw renter” who leased the apartment on behalf of the brothel organization, the report states. The straw renter is a person who doesn’t live in the apartment but receives some financial incentive or other benefit.

The couple allegedly advertised the women on sites such as WeChat, a Chinese-based social networking platform, and a dedicated website owned by Hu and Davies. The website advertised prices for sex acts and lengths of the “dates” and showed images of scantily clad women.

Davies and Hu also placed ads promoting “new girls every week” between the ages of 19 and 24 in the Sing Tao Daily, an Asian-oriented newspaper largely circulated in the South Bay Asian community, according to the report. Police were able to track brothel apartment locations through those ads.

The brothels accepted payments through Venmo and PayPal accounts that were linked to Hu and her Gmail account.

Investigators linked Davies to the website through an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which was registered to him. They also found multiple text messages between the couple regarding managing and displaying the images of the young women on various known sex websites, according to the report. Police also tracked Davies to a San Jose brothel through GPS data, according to the report.

The yearslong operation was cracked open after the FBI in 2018 seized the website Backpage.com in a sex-trafficking investigation by the Justice Department. Through data collected in that investigation, the Diplomatic Security Service investigators found a “lengthy conspiracy” between Davies and Hu in advertising and operating sex brothels in Santa Clara County from 2015 to the present.

Milpitas police conducted video surveillance of some of the locations and collected evidence such as condoms, in quantities consistent with the number of men seen going in and out of the apartments, from trash dumped by the brothel manager.

Davies and Hu would sometimes close down one brothel and move it to another apartment in the same building, the report states. At one point, they switched apartments with another man; police think both apartments were being used as brothels.

They also allegedly tried to undermine at least one rival brothel operator in Milpitas. In an unrelated investigation, detectives had discovered a brothel at 501 Murphy Ranch Road in another apartment. Video captured Davies and Hu walking through the apartment building and putting notes on apartment doors. After the couple left, police found the typewritten notes, which alerted tenants that a sex brothel was being run out of the rival’s apartment and told them to notify San Jose police.

“After reviewing this material, it was clear that David Davies and Larong Hu were attempting to eliminate brothel competition by getting the brothel, located at Unit #125, closed,” the investigative report noted.

The couple also allegedly ran brothels at apartments in San Jose at 25 Rio Robles East and 320 Crescent Village Circle. One of the sex workers who was arrested in April at the Crescent Village location told investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the federal Diplomatic Security Service how the women were procured and coerced to work.

The woman had come to the U.S. to work and pay for her mother’s extensive medical bills, she told investigators. She had traveled to the U.S. with a tour group and paid for her own transportation. While in China, she had found group message boards and chats about massage work prior to arriving in the U.S.

She eventually found a job at a legitimate massage business, but she was lured into the sex work by the group messages on WeChat. The group chats have “bosses,” who would indicate the specific amount of money to be paid for work, would provide good working conditions and would send money back to China for the women.

The worker said that once employed, she couldn’t leave the brothels since the “bosses” would not pay the workers until the completion of the scheduled “dates” with the customers. They also took her passport and identification with the explanation that the documents were kept safe from theft in the brothels. Each time she arrived at a new brothel, she had to turn over her documents for the duration of her time there, she said.

The worker had to pay for her own food and medicine. Although she never experienced violence, the bosses would become angry and they would speak harshly if she didn’t complete her work, she said. They threatened to blacklist her so that she couldn’t get another job in any other brothels and couldn’t earn any money, she said. The worker described Hu as the boss of the San Jose brothel, but since the worker had only just arrived the day before being arrested, she said she had no experience with Hu.

The worker said she typically made $120 per client, of which the boss would keep $40, and the “house” would deduct additional money for her food, housing and as a house tip.

The brothel owners sent the girls’ earnings back home for them through an unknown method. The owners took a cut of 10% to 15% of the amount being transferred, she said.

Police rescued six people from the brothels. The investigation is ongoing and is also looking into more than $2 million in proceeds from the brothel operations that the couple allegedly laundered.

Davies is scheduled to return to Santa Clara County Superior Court on June 26.





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Man who allegedly profited off sex trafficking more than 100 women faces 10 felonies | News


David Davies led a quiet life in his Palo Alto home for more than 20 years, but an investigative report by the Milpitas Police Department and the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service alleges he and his current wife trafficked more than 100 women in Santa Clara County over six years as part of a nationwide operation.

Davies, 57, and his wife, Larong Hu, 38, have been charged with 10 felony counts that include conspiracy, pimping and pandering to procure another for prostitution. They were arrested last week at their Milpitas home after a two-year investigation.

Davies, whose LinkedIn page shows that he has been employed for 16 years as a principal engineer at San Jose-based software company Broadcom, owns a home in Palo Alto near Eleanor Pardee Park, according to county records. Neighbors said they were surprised by the arrest. He had lived in the home since 2002 with a five-year gap when he and his former wife were separating, neighbor Carli Scott recalled.

The wife and their children continued to live in the home until about 2018, when Davies returned and became the sole occupant for about 18 months to two years, she said. Despite his long presence in the neighborhood, little was known about him, she added.

“He was not close to anyone in the neighborhood,” she said.

Scott said she never noticed anything unusual such as a brothel at the one-story, four-bedroom house.

“I’m sure I would’ve noticed if people were coming and going,” she said. “It’s been a shock to everyone in the neighborhood. There are just six homes on this street. He kept pretty much to himself.”

This summer he began renovating the house, and it was clear it was empty, she added.

The investigation into Davies and Hu was launched more than two years ago by a complaint regarding a brothel they allegedly ran at a Milpitas apartment building. Milpitas police sought to infiltrate the brothel but were unsuccessful because only people with “referrals” were allowed in, according to the report, which was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court. The brothels also moved from apartment to apartment, making it difficult to bust the inhabitants.

Police learned through a trail of social media posts on sex websites, advertising in a regional newspaper and texts and emails that the couple’s alleged sex-trafficking operation actually began in 2015. Women were largely procured from the People’s Republic of China but also from South Korea and eastern Europe. Once they arrived, the women were placed on a scheduled circuit of travel from brothel to brothel in different cities across the U.S. The workers stayed at the locations for one week, were not allowed to leave the location and performed sex acts for money with as many as 10 to 15 customers each day, according to the investigation.

The report doesn’t say how the couple linked to the other prostitution operations throughout the country and shared the women on the circuit. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, which is involved in the investigation with the Milpitas Police Department, said they can’t comment because the investigation is ongoing.

The investigation narrative does offer a glimpse into how the operation worked, however. Over six years, Davies and Hu allegedly set up five known brothels in apartments in Milpitas and San Jose. The first was in 2015 when they rented an apartment at 501 Murphy Ranch Road in Milpitas. The couple often used a “straw renter” who leased the apartment on behalf of the brothel organization, the report states. The straw renter is a person who doesn’t live in the apartment but receives some financial incentive or other benefit.

The couple allegedly advertised the women on sites such as WeChat, a Chinese-based social networking platform, and a dedicated website owned by Hu and Davies. The website advertised prices for sex acts and lengths of the “dates” and showed images of scantily clad women.

Davies and Hu also placed ads promoting “new girls every week” between the ages of 19 and 24 in the Sing Tao Daily, an Asian-oriented newspaper largely circulated in the South Bay Asian community, according to the report. Police were able to track brothel apartment locations through those ads.

The brothels accepted payments through Venmo and PayPal accounts that were linked to Hu and her Gmail account.

Investigators linked Davies to the website through an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which was registered to him. They also found multiple text messages between the couple regarding managing and displaying the images of the young women on various known sex websites, according to the report. Police also tracked Davies to a San Jose brothel through GPS data, according to the report.

The yearslong operation was cracked open after the FBI in 2018 seized the website Backpage.com in a sex-trafficking investigation by the Justice Department. Through data collected in that investigation, the Diplomatic Security Service investigators found a “lengthy conspiracy” between Davies and Hu in advertising and operating sex brothels in Santa Clara County from 2015 to the present.

Milpitas police conducted video surveillance of some of the locations and collected evidence such as condoms, in quantities consistent with the number of men seen going in and out of the apartments, from trash dumped by the brothel manager.

Davies and Hu would sometimes close down one brothel and move it to another apartment in the same building, the report states. At one point, they switched apartments with another man; police think both apartments were being used as brothels.

They also allegedly tried to undermine at least one rival brothel operator in Milpitas. In an unrelated investigation, detectives had discovered a brothel at 501 Murphy Ranch Road in another apartment. Video captured Davies and Hu walking through the apartment building and putting notes on apartment doors. After the couple left, police found the typewritten notes, which alerted tenants that a sex brothel was being run out of the rival’s apartment and told them to notify San Jose police.

“After reviewing this material, it was clear that David Davies and Larong Hu were attempting to eliminate brothel competition by getting the brothel, located at Unit #125, closed,” the investigative report noted.

The couple also allegedly ran brothels at apartments in San Jose at 25 Rio Robles East and 320 Crescent Village Circle. One of the sex workers who was arrested in April at the Crescent Village location told investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the federal Diplomatic Security Service how the women were procured and coerced to work.

The woman had come to the U.S. to work and pay for her mother’s extensive medical bills, she told investigators. She had traveled to the U.S. with a tour group and paid for her own transportation. While in China, she had found group message boards and chats about massage work prior to arriving in the U.S.

She eventually found a job at a legitimate massage business, but she was lured into the sex work by the group messages on WeChat. The group chats have “bosses,” who would indicate the specific amount of money to be paid for work, would provide good working conditions and would send money back to China for the women.

The worker said that once employed, she couldn’t leave the brothels since the “bosses” would not pay the workers until the completion of the scheduled “dates” with the customers. They also took her passport and identification with the explanation that the documents were kept safe from theft in the brothels. Each time she arrived at a new brothel, she had to turn over her documents for the duration of her time there, she said.

The worker had to pay for her own food and medicine. Although she never experienced violence, the bosses would become angry and they would speak harshly if she didn’t complete her work, she said. They threatened to blacklist her so that she couldn’t get another job in any other brothels and couldn’t earn any money, she said. The worker described Hu as the boss of the San Jose brothel, but since the worker had only just arrived the day before being arrested, she said she had no experience with Hu.

The worker said she typically made $120 per client, of which the boss would keep $40, and the “house” would deduct additional money for her food, housing and as a house tip.

The brothel owners sent the girls’ earnings back home for them through an unknown method. The owners took a cut of 10% to 15% of the amount being transferred, she said.

Police rescued six people from the brothels. The investigation is ongoing and is also looking into more than $2 million in proceeds from the brothel operations that the couple allegedly laundered.

Davies is scheduled to return to Santa Clara County Superior Court on June 26.





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