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Utah massage parlor owner to stand trial for alleged sex trafficking

SALT LAKE CITY — A massage parlor owner will stand trial for his role in an alleged sex trafficking ring in which young girls were forced into prostitution.

During a preliminary hearing in 3rd District Court this week, prosecutors presented evidence that Luis Daniel Arano-Hernandez coerced a 17-year-old girl and her mother to be prostituted at two Reiki massage parlors.

Arano-Hernandez, 29, threatened the girl with physical harm and deportation, according to prosecutors. She testified that he arranged for and required her to obtain false ID cards to show she was 18. She also testified that he told her to not contact police after a customer raped her at his business.

Arano-Hernandez is charged with three counts of aggravated human trafficking, a first-degree felony; pattern of unlawful activity and exploitation of prostitution, first-degree felonies; two counts of aggravated exploitation of prostitution, a second-degree felony; two counts of exploitation of prostitution, a second-degree felony; two counts of identity fraud, a second-degree felony; and one third-degree felony count of identity fraud.

Agents for the Utah Attorney General’s Office SECURE Strike Force arrested Arano-Hernandez and four other men last November after an eight-month investigation into sex trafficking at massage parlors in Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and Millcreek. Authorities say the men are in the U.S. illegally.

The four others entered into cooperation agreements against Arano-Hernandez and were sentenced according to those agreements, the attorney general's office said.

Dennis Romboy

Twitter: dennisromboy