EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Officials announced four people have been charged for their alleged involvement in an enterprise that transported women across the country for prostitution.
According to U.S. Attorney Gerard M. Karam, each defendant, Anton Panin, 40, of Florida, Jennie Lawson, 37, of Pennsylvania, Tracey Lawson, 57, of Pennsylvania, and Viktoriia Zakirova, 32, of Florida have been charged with conspiring to transport women in interstate and foreign commerce with the intent the women would engage in prostitution and conspiring to persuade women to travel to engage in prostitution.
Investigators say Panin and Zakirova recruited women in Russia and other Eastern European countries to travel to the United States to work as prostitutes for XO Companions. Once in the U.S., XO Companions workers traveled throughout the country to meet with clients in major cities.
Additionally, the four operated a password-protected website through which clients could
view schedules, view services offered, reserve times, and provide reviews, police said.
Detectives also noted Panin and the Lawsons are being charged with money laundering.
The maximum penalty under federal law is five years of imprisonment for prostitution-related conspiracy and 20 years of imprisonment for money laundering, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.
If you believe you are a victim in this case, please contact Homeland Security Investigations at 866-347-2423 or email SexTrafficking_Outreach@hsi.dhs.gov.