California child, senior care operators accused of human trafficking ring

ByBrandon Behle and Wayne Freedman KGO logo
Saturday, September 8, 2018
Bay Area child, senior care operators accused of human trafficking ring
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The family of four that owns Rainbow Bright Daycare and senior care facilities in the Bay Area faces 59 counts of human trafficking, rape and labor abuse.

DALY CITY, Calif. -- A Bay Area family of four faces 59 counts of human trafficking, rape and labor abuse. They're charged with running a human trafficking ring out of a Northern California child daycare center and two residential senior care facilities they owned and operated across the Peninsula.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the arrests and charges Friday morning against the owners of Rainbow Bright.

The defendants -- Joshua, Noel, Gerlen and Carlina Gamo -- remain in jail under a combined $9 million bail.

According to Becerra, the crimes happened from Westmore High School in Daly City and five other neighborhoods in Pacifica and South San Francisco.

While serving the arrest warrants, Becerra said authorities also recovered 14 illegal assault weapons including three "ghost guns" without serial numbers. Officials told ABC sister station KGO-TV that one pistol was found unsecured and wrapped inside a blanket at the child daycare facility, allegedly within easy reach of children.

"Rainbow Bright was cheating," said Becerra. "Not just the workers of their pay, not just the workers of their dignity, but you and me as taxpayers."

It totals $8.5 million, said Becerra, who went on to say the defendants targeted the Filipino community, including recent immigrants.

"The workers were forced to live on the premises," he said. "They were locked outside in the rain when the owners were not home. One defendant is being charged with three counts of rape against a female employee."

It also states that the defendants prevented employees from leaving by threatening to turn them over to immigration officials, taking their passports, and in extreme cases raping them.

"No worker in the United States should live in fear or be subjected to violence, abuse or exploitation at the hands of their employer," said Becerra. "The charges against the Gamos family members are despicable. We must not turn a blind eye to abusive labor practices. Report it, and we will investigate and prosecute."

KGO-TV spoke with one former worker on Friday. John Paul Velez fits the employee profile. He worked for the accused 10 years ago in a senior center.

"I was surprised," he said. "Especially with the human trafficking. And 24 hours? How could you work 24 hours?"

Becerra said his office has identified hundreds of victims and expects more.

"It was the workers who brought this case to light," he said. "And the workers who were the greatest victims of Rainbow Bright and its operations."

Officials said the arrests were part of a year-long investigation by multiple agencies.