A Bullhead City woman accused of human trafficking charges will be allowed to travel to and from California after a decision by a Mohave County Superior Court judge this week.
Attorneys for Amanda Yamauchi, 47, asked for a continuance of a pre-trial conference scheduled for Jan. 14, while requesting that Yamauchi be permitted to travel to California. The purpose of her travels, according to court records, will be to work with California Child Protective Services in caring for her child.
The father of that child, California resident Kenneth Hadley, filed for emergency legal decision-making for the child after Yamauchi’s arrest in September.
Yamauchi was among the suspected ringleaders in an alleged prostitution ring that spanned seven massage parlors throughout Mohave County. Yamauchi and six others were arrested Sept. 20 after more than a year of investigation by the Lake Havasu City Police Department, the Bullhead City Police Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Undercover agents visited each of the suspected massage parlors last year, according to police, and uncovered alleged acts of prostitution by Chinese nationals who may have been coerced into providing sexual favors to clients in exchange for money.
Investigators last year suspected the use of forced labor at each location, with Asian women transported from one location to the next each week. The women worked 12 hours per day, seven days per week, according to Homeland Security officials, in conditions that were described as “deplorable” and “unsanitary.” The alleged victims received payment for their services only in the form of tips offered by clients in exchange for sexual favors, officials said. They were permitted only to travel from their hotel rooms to the suspected businesses and back, according to the Department of Homeland Security, and business owners would visit at various times to retrieve the money for their services.
Three of the businesses involved in the alleged sex trafficking ring were located in Havasu. Five other businesses and one residence were searched in Bullhead City. When officers raided the locations, they seized about $128,000, as well as $30,000 in gold coins and jewelry.
Yamauchi was charged with money laundering, prostitution, sex trafficking, human trafficking, unlawfully obtaining labor of services, money laundering, placing a person in a house of prostitution and operating a house of prostitution. She was released from custody on $250,000 bond in November.
Yamauchi is next scheduled to appear before Mohave County Superior Judge Billy Sipe Feb. 19 for a pre-trial conference.