Human Rights First’s Most Wanted Traffickers: Shu Gang Li and Wei Li Pang
By Gabriella Rufo
As part of its anti-trafficking campaign seeking to disrupt the slavery exploitation network, Human Rights First is calling for accountability and justice for individuals who benefit, or have benefitted, from modern day slavery. Human trafficking is a human rights violation that involves holding another person in compelled service by force, fraud, or coercion. Traffickers profit from this practice by controlling their victims and exploiting them for labor and/or sex, generating an estimated $150 billion dollars in profits a year.
Husband and wife, Shu Gang Li and Wei Li Pang, also known as James Li and Linda Pang, are wanted by the FBI for their mutual participation in transporting persons in interstate or foreign commerce for illegal sexual activity. Between 2006 and May 2007 Li, Pang and other accomplices purportedly transported at least five women with the intent to submit them to prostitution in massage parlors. Li and Pang co-owned and supervised operations at “Asian Massage Health Center” in Olathe, Kansas, as well as “Oriental Massage” in Mission, Kansas, where this activity occurred.
Li and Pang are Chinese nationals who were granted permanent resident alien status and lived in Overland Park, Kansas City, Missouri during this time. Li was charged with a four-count indictment and a federal arrest warrant was issued for him in March 2008. Pang pled guilty to a two-count charge in December 2008. When Pang evaded her sentencing on July 20, 2010, she was also issued a federal arrest warrant. Currently, the pair is said to be traveling together, though their whereabouts are unknown.
Human Rights First is working to reduce the incidence of trafficking by promoting policies to increase the risks, penalties, and punishments for those who exploit other human beings. While there are many important laws and policies in place to address human trafficking and protect victims of these horrific crimes, traffickers often operate with relative impunity. Please join us in calling on the U.S. government to bring this exploiter and others like him to justice.