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Published February 07, 2014, 03:52 PM

Missouri man accused of prostituting woman from China at Bismarck hotel

BISMARCK – A Missouri man is accused of prostituting a 41-year-old woman from China at a Bismarck hotel, and police are investigating whether it may be a case of human trafficking.

By: Mike Nowatzki, Forum News Service, INFORUM

BISMARCK – A Missouri man is accused of prostituting a 41-year-old woman from China at a Bismarck hotel, and police are investigating whether it may be a case of human trafficking.

Marvin Rex Lord, 67, of Festus, Mo., was arrested Thursday on suspicion of facilitation of prostitution, Sgt. Mark Buschena said.

The woman, also listed as being from Festus, was arrested and charged with Class B misdemeanor prostitution in Bismarck Municipal Court.

Forum News Service isn’t naming the woman because police are investigating whether she may be a victim of human trafficking. Buschena said it appears the woman came to the United States on a visa from China, but he didn’t know her legal status.

Buschena said police set up an undercover operation after being called to the hotel Thursday afternoon by a clerk who suspected Lord was engaged in prostitution because he was meeting men in the lobby, walking them up to his room and then waiting in the lobby until they left.

An investigator contacted Lord by phone and was instructed to go to his room, where the investigator was then propositioned with sex for money, Buschena said.

Police arrested Lord and the woman and took them to the Burleigh County Detention Center.

Lord was expected to be charged Friday afternoon in Burleigh County District Court.

Facilitation of prostitution is normally a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. But it can be charged as a Class C felony carrying up to five years in prison if prosecutors believe the suspect forced the person into prostitution, if the prostitute is the suspect’s spouse, child or ward, or if the prostitute is less than 16 years old.

Prostitution reports are rare in Bismarck. Police received only one report in 2010, two reports each in 2008, 2009 and 2011, and three reports in 2012, Buschena said.

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