Prosecutors in a human-trafficking trial underway in Delaware County Common Pleas Court may finishing presenting their evidence Wednesday.
Today will be the sixth day of evidence in the trial of three Mandarin Chinese-speaking people — Qing Xu, 57, and her husband, Xiaoshaung Chao, 57, both of Columbus, and Qing’s sister, Estella Xu, 55, of Pomona, California — who are accused of human trafficking and promoting prostitution at three massage parlors they operated in central Ohio. One was in Powell.
Prosecutors also estimated that closing arguments could take place Thursday. The jury would begin deliberations soon after.
Prosecutors say they may call their last witness Wednesday and then rest their case.
Qing Xu, Xiaoshaung Chao and Estella Xu are each charged with:
• Behaving in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, with a specification that the defendant knowingly committed crimes that furthered human trafficking.
• Eight counts of promoting prostitution, a fourth-degree felony, also with an added specification for human trafficking. Authorities have alleged that the women working at the massage parlors were providing sexual services for male clients.
• Three counts of practicing medicine — massages — without a license, a fifth-degree felony.
• Three counts of money laundering, a third-degree felony.
During the trial, interpreters have been needed to translate testimony for the three defendants, who do not speak English, and for seven women who worked at the massage parlors. Visiting Judge Joseph Timothy Campbell has had to stop proceedings frequently to remind attorneys or witnesses to slow down for the interpreters.
Authorities have alleged that the women were forced to live at the massage parlors and were not permitted to leave. Defense attorneys have said that all the women came to Ohio legally.
The trial began Aug. 11.
The jury is comprised of seven women and five men.
The massage parlors were shut down by authorities during a raid in January.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.
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