A couple, a local man and his wife, a Chinese national, were charged this week on various felony charges including Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree, Prostitution, Exploiting a Trafficked Person, Labor Trafficking in the First Degree, People Trafficking and Being an Undesirable Alien amongst others.

The charges allege that Benito Obak and his wife Yuqin Xiao knowingly used a company licensed under Obak, a Good Mood Massage Parlor, for prostitution, for promoting prostitution and for labor trafficking. Labor trafficking means that they used or attempted use of force, domination or threats to control another person, to force a person or persons to work for them.

According to information accompanying the charges, a call was made to the Anti-human Trafficking Office on August 1st reporting that two female Chinese nationals working at Good Mood Massage Parlor needed help.  Later on that same day, two Chinese women walked into the office to file complaints.  Their complaints were translated by a translator as both could not speak or write English.

The complainants, Shi Jing and Jiang Haucui reported that they worked for Yuqin Xiao, whom they knew as the owner of the massage parlor.  Both reported that when they first came to work for Xiao, they were informed by Xiao that she made more money providing sex services to customers.  They also alleges that they were threatened that their work permits will be terminated if they did not provide sex services.

Both alleges that Xiao herself was also providing sex services as well as massages to her customers. Jiang Haucui reported that if she refused to perform sex services, Xiao would get mad, curses and threaten her.  If she still refuses, Xiao would take over and perform the sex services.

Both Shi Jing and Jiang Huacui also alleges that Xiao threaten to hurt them here in Palau and “do something bad to their families in China.”

In addition to being charged with Prostitution, Promoting Prostitution, Labor Trafficking and Exploiting Trafficked Persons, Yuqin Xiao was found to have been convicted of Bribery in 2017 and was declared an “undesirable alien” by President Remengesau Jr. in Serial No. 17-396.  By law, as a person convicted of a felony, Xiao should have been deported.  It is not yet known if she was deported and returned or if she had never left.

Furthermore, Xiao does not have a valid work permit and is also charged with Working Without a Permit.

However, Social Security Administration records shows that Yuqin Xiao has been working and getting paid by Good Mood Massage Parlor.

Warrants of arrests have been issued for both Benito Obak and Yuqin Xiao.

Both defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.