Human trafficking case moves ahead; defense argues not enough evidence
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A Burleigh County judge determined there is probable cause to move ahead with human trafficking charges against two Bismarck spa owners.
On Jan. 22, a preliminary hearing was held for Jiang Jennings and Lance Jacobson, who are both charged with two counts of human trafficking.
Judge Bruce Romanick stated he was unable to determine if there was probable cause to move ahead with the charge.
Romanick filed paperwork on Wednesday stating he determined probable cause for both charges against both defendants and the case would move forward.
On Thursday, Jennings’ attorneys filed a motion questioning who the three women were that police claimed were trafficked. Also, how Jennings coerced the individuals and what labor was forced.
According to court documents, an element of the human trafficking charge includes the use of debt bondage.
The state says Jennings and Jacobson would make workers work at the spa until they could pay for a plane ticket to return home.
Bismarck police say Jennings was responsible for recruiting masseuses to work at the Hong Kong Spa in Bismarck. Police say Jacobson would arrange for their transportation to Bismarck.
The affidavit states the masseuses would have to pay to stay the night at the spa.
A jury trial is scheduled in April.
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