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Auburn hotel: Police asked us for help

Prostitution arrests involve Sacramento area women
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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A sweep that netted more than a dozen arrests linked to prostitution allegations received full cooperation from the hotel, the Auburn Holiday Inn manager said.

The arrests were outside the 120 Grass Valley Highway hotel and followed a request for assistance from the Auburn Police Department, hotel general manager Giggy Shahi said.

“Rest assured, we would never allow that type of activity to occur,” Shahi said. “They asked and we wanted to help clean up the community. We definitely worked to help them.”

Auburn Police teamed with outside law-enforcement agencies during a two-day operation at the 120 Grass Valley Highway address on the edge of Downtown and just off Interstate 80 that resulted in prostitution and pimping arrests of 15 people. Information released by police on prostitution suspects indicates they are from the Sacramento area and not from Auburn.

Authorities said the mid-December arrests were part of a human trafficking investigation inside city limits, with a focus on rescuing minors being commercially sexually exploited.

Also part of the operation were Placer County special investigations unit, county probation and California Alcoholic Beverage Control personnel.

Stand Up Placer works with men, women, boys and girls caught up in human trafficking. Jenny Davidson, Stand Up Placer CEO, said that hotels are usually eager to keep prostitution out of their corridors, rooms and parking lots.

Stand Up Placer teaches staff to have heightened awareness of potential signs of prostitution that can range from a woman or women arriving looking drugged or fearful to possible trafficking victims appearing to be kept against their will, Davidson said.

Hotel guests can also be aware of signs of prostitution and human trafficking, she said. Like hotel staff, they should not attempt to deal with the situation themselves but instead contact law enforcement - or staff to alert authorities, Davidson said.

“The public sees things the front desk may not notice,” she said.

In the corridors, a guest could hear or witness a fight or see “john” arriving and leaving from a side door. “Crown” or “dollar signs” as tattoos can indicate a person is being trafficked, Davidson said

Stand Up Placer, which provides safe shelter, legal assistance and counseling for sex trafficking victims, continues to see an increase in demand for services. During the first six months of 2019, 146 people were helped - up from 142 for all of 2018.

Davidson said organized criminal elements are increasingly seeing sex trafficking as an easier way to make money than with guns or drugs because victims can be “sold” over and over again.

Auburn Police this week released more arrest records from the trafficking investigation.

Arrested Dec. 15 at 120 Grass Valley Highway were Lajanay Markeisha Weaver, 27, of Sacramento, on suspicion of disorderly conduct-prostitution; Christina Maria Rhymes, 24, of Sacramento, on suspicion of disorderly conduct-prostitution and child endangerment, and Amanda Jean Cory, 29, of Modesto, on suspicion of pandering-pimping.