A Orlando man and his girlfriend were arrested in connection with an alleged human trafficking ring, a Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation official said.
Christian Pena Fernandez, 30, and Rachel Gonzalez, 24, were booked into the Orange County Jail on Tuesday.
Pena Fernandez is being held on no bond and Gonzalez, who was allegedly aware of the operation but did not play as large a part in it, on a $52,000 bond.
Pena Fernandez faces charges of human trafficking, racketeering, solicitation to commit prostitution, deriving proceeds of prostitution and aiding and abetting prostitution.
Gonzalez, faces charges of racketeering, deriving proceeds of prostitution and aiding and abetting prostitution.
Detectives investigating prostitution in the area noticed Pena Fernandez was tied to a few people officers knew engaged in prostitution, Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation Sgt. Dave Allmond said. MBI and Seminole County detectives started investigating him about a year and a half ago.
Pena Fernandez would allegedly post ads and notices on websites like Backpage.com and Craigslist, soliciting women to work as escorts, Allmond said.
He would then post ads advertising the escort services and take the women as far as Miami for work, Allmond said. They found allegations of violence in at least one case.
Over the investigation, detectives connected him to more than 20 women. All were adults, most in their late teens and 20s, Allmond said. Detectives believe there are more victims they do not know of, Allmond said. They would like to speak with them, Allmond said, in part, to connect them to help.
“We’re not only investigating the bad guys. We try to connect the victims with social services to get them off the streets,” Allmond said.
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