Sex-trafficker sentenced to more than nine years

Monday,

One of the leaders of a sex-trafficking ring that brought Chinese women to Edina and Richfield for commercial sex was sentenced to more than nine years in prison, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

Sonam Tsering, 37, of Plymouth was sentenced Tuesday to 114 months in prison after a jury convicted him of receiving profits from prostitution, promoting prostitution and sex trafficking. Hennepin County prosecutors proved that Tsering and Zhaxi Taxing brought the women to Minnesota and worked them out of apartments in Edina and Richfield. They advertised the women in on-line publications.

The sentence was at the top end of the recommendation of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Earlier this month, Taxing was sentenced to five years on probation and 180 days in the Hennepin County workhouse.

The Tsering case is part of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office’s two-year-old initiative working with police and other county agencies to crack down on sex trafficking and offer help to women in the commercial sex industry who want to get out.

For instance, during the Super Bowl in February, prosecutors worked with a sex-trafficking taskforce and 45 cases were referred to the office and were charged. Of those, 24 have been sentenced for felony crimes, eight are pending sentencing and 10 still are active and working their way through the court system. In two other cases, bench warrants were issued because the defendants did not appear for court hearings and one was dismissed because the defendant returned to his foreign country.