sex trafficking

Plano Short-Term Rental Used as Brothel, Arrests Made: Dallas Police

Dallas Police arrest two women after searching a home in a sex trafficking investigation, others were questioned and released

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A brothel operating at a short-term rental home in Plano was a topic of discussion among shocked neighbors Friday after the arrest of a woman who police accused of operating it.

"We’re a really quiet neighborhood with lots of children," resident Judy Lombardi said. "I’m in shock. Everybody is in shock. How this could happen right across the street?"

Dallas Police said they received tips in July about a sex trafficking ring operating in North Dallas.

The department's Special Investigations Division began looking into it and investigators later found the ring operating at the house in Plano on Las Palmas Lane.

A brothel in a quiet Plano neighborhood was shut down by police from two cities. The prostitution operation began in Dallas but moved to a short-term rental house in Plano. Ken Kalthoff reports.

On Thursday, Plano and Dallas Police executed a search warrant and arrested 41-year-old Brandy Cliff on a charge of aggravated promotion of prostitution.

A 22-year-old woman was also arrested on an assault warrant out of Hays County.

Dallas Police said several other people at the home were questioned and released.

Those other women were evidently victims of sex trafficking.

Bianca Davis is the Chief Executive Officer of a group called New Friends New Life which advocates against sex trafficking.

"It’s another example of how human trafficking literally can happen any and everywhere. If we’re looking for white vans in a parking lot, then we’re going to miss it," Davis said.

New Friends New Life works with police to help victims with jobs and counseling for recovery.

"These partnerships make sure that when the victim is rescued or recovered they are provided with resources as opposed to being revictimized because of what they were forced to do in that situation," Davis said.

Neighbors said they noticed unusual activity at the house since Sunday.

"This coming, going trafficking that we saw, what you would suspect of being a drug house but it was totally different," neighbor Austin Cook said.

Lombardi watched what happened during the bust Thursday afternoon.

"The police all came and they had guns out and they went into the house and then they started bringing girls out one at a time and the set them on the curb," Lombardi said.

Lombardi said between 10 and 15 girls came out of the home in various states of undress and that police covered them with towels.

Police explained what was happening to the neighbors.

"Starting in Dallas and then moving in here to Plano, that was very interesting. I think the police did a great job of getting in here and cleaning this up very quickly," Cook said.

In a statement to the media, Dallas Police said the investigation is ongoing.

As in some other North Texas cities, Plano is in the midst of a debate about regulation of short-term rentals.

Opponents of short-term rentals in Plano residential neighborhoods are using this incident as an example of why the business should be banned.

"It's about the safety of our children and safety of our families," said Plano resident Bill France.

France also leads the Plano, Texas Neighborhood Coalition, a chapter formed to stop short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods in Plano.

"Most of these short-term rentals don't live in Plano, they don't even live in Texas and it's a perfect incubator for crime and criminal activities," said France.

France has attended several city council meetings lately to protest short-term rentals.

Right now, there are no regulations or registration required for them in Plano.

It is a topic for an October 10th Plano City Council Meeting.

The city says outside attorneys will explain the state of the law on short-term rentals and will give legal advice on what the city should do.

While the property has been listed on Airbnb, the company says the home was not reserved using Airbnb.

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