CALIFORNIA— On September 4, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced a settlement against a Pomona motel in regards to a human trafficking case.
The release states that “a Pomona motel has agreed to take steps to curtail prostitution and human trafficking on its premises, in her office’s first use of California’s consumer protection laws to confront human sex trafficking in Los Angeles County.”
In the case filed on July 30, the DA alleges that Pomona Lodge Inc. was a public nuisance, violated California’s Red Light Abatement Law and engaged in unlawful business practices. The settlement was signed on August 27 under Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Christopher K. Lui and states the motel will install security cameras at the motel on Holt Avenue, cease renting rooms by the hour and post the Human Trafficking Awareness notice, as required by law.
“This settlement makes it more difficult for human traffickers to conduct their illegal enterprises in Los Angeles County,” District Attorney Lacey said. “It also serves as a warning to property owners that as we shut down human trafficking operations, we will hold accountable the people who silently gave refuge to these criminals, disregarding their victims and benefitting financially from these crimes.”
Investigation on the motel began in August of 2018 when police received several reports of illicit activity, leading the DA to launch an undercover investigation at the motel. The owner was ordered to pay $9,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs in the settlement. The terms of the stipulated judgment go into effect immediately and remain in effect for the next four years.
The investigation also found a desk clerk, 25-year-old Ravirajsihn Zala, was charged in case KA119444 with two felony counts each of human trafficking of a minor for a commercial sex act and pimping. Zala is accused of renting rooms to sex workers and demanding a portion of their earnings from their commercial sex transactions. His trial is slated to begin later this year. If convicted as charged, he faces up to 14 years and eight months in state prison.