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City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto Targets Sex Trafficking Along Notorious Figueroa Corridor

Posted on 09/12/2023
A "Human Trafficking" word cloud which includes the words "abuse, slavery, crime, exploitation, labor, violence," among others against a dark blue background.

LOS ANGELES - Today, City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto announced that her office has filed a lawsuit against the owners and operator of the New Gage Motel in South Los Angeles. The City Attorney’s office is seeking a permanent injunction to eradicate the alleged brazen prostitution and violent criminality that have permeated this property since as early as 2017. Located at 6310 South Figueroa Street, the 16-unit motel is situated along one of California’s most notorious prostitution tracks - the Figueroa corridor - and has a near-constant circulation of sex workers, customers, and/or pimps or traffickers. Feinstein Soto’s civil action seeks to enjoin, abate and prevent this nuisance as defined under California’s Red Light Abatement Law, the Public Nuisance Law, and the Unfair Competition Law.

“Prostitution and violence are thriving at the New Gage Motel, and this property has participated in and played an active role in facilitating the sex trafficking operation that has engulfed this corridor for far too long,” said City Attorney Feldstein Soto. “The community has had enough, and today we are taking bold, decisive action to put a stop to it.”

According to the complaint, since at least 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD”) has conducted more than a dozen vice investigations at the New Gage Motel, leading to 16 prostitution-related arrests, including one that involved the sex trafficking of a minor. As recently as last month, LAPD investigations continued to reveal that the motel was being used as a hub for prostitution. In addition, the property has been a magnet for violence and lawlessness, with armed robberies, assaults with deadly weapons, and brutal muggings taking place during the last four months alone.

In March 2022, to stem the illicit activity, prosecutors from the City Attorney’s Office and officers from LAPD met with representatives from Rish Investments, Inc., owner and operator of the New Gage Motel. Chief Executive Officer Rajesh Patel and Chief Financial Officer and Secretary Hitandra Bhakta were asked to implement a variety of physical and managerial measures to abate the nuisance. Specific requests included prohibiting hourly room rentals, installing a gate around the driveway to control access, installing security cameras in common areas and giving LAPD access to them, employing daily security patrols, and hiring new management to enforce these best practices.

More than a year later, the owner and operator of the New Gage Motel — now including Gazi Monirul Islam, who became involved in motel operations last year, have failed to implement or sustain most of those measures, while the activity has grown more violent and volatile. To abate the alarming nuisance once and for all, the City Attorney’s lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and civil penalties against the defendants to change the way they manage and equip the property. In addition, the lawsuit seeks to enjoin and prevent violations of the Unfair Competition Law at the property based on unlawful business practices used to operate the New Gage Motel, and to impose civil penalties stemming from these unlawful business practices.

This litigation is being managed by Deputy City Attorneys in the newly formed Public Rights Branch of the City Attorney's Office. City Attorney Feldstein Soto created the Public Rights Branch to protect and enforce the rights of California residents in a wide range of legal matters including unfair or fraudulent business practices, consumer protection, environmental justice, nuisance abatement and intellectual property.

Civil case #23STCV18514: 
The People of the State of California vs. Rish Investments, Inc., a California corporation; Gazi Monirul Islam also known as Gazi M. Islam and Gazi Islam, an individual doing business as New Gage Motel.