Five South Koreans were found guilty in a New York court of involvement in a sex-trafficking ring involving a string of brothels across the northeastern United States, officials said.
The five owned or managed brothels in Washington, New York and Connecticut that operated under the cover of massage parlors, spas and acupuncture clinics going by names such as "Magic Health Salon" and "OK Spa."
The five were convicted of conspiring to transport women across state and foreign borders to engage in prostitution and were among 31 people arrested in August last year and charged with immigration and trafficking offences.
The five, named as Sun Daneman, Hyang Ran Kim, Seng Hee Ryan, Jae Shim, and Tae Nam Thompson, face between five and 10 years in jail and are due to be sentenced in March next year.
An investigation began more than two years ago after a South Korean couple who owned a chain of brothels in New York City attempted to bribe an undercover detective to avoid being raided.
The resulting investigation turned up a network of brothels stretching from Rhode Island in the north to Washington, prosecutors said. At one location, investigators discovered more than 2,000 condoms hidden in picnic coolers.
According to prosecutors, the trafficking ring found women in South Korea who wanted to move to the United States and either smuggled them in through Canada or Mexico or provided them with false immigration documents.
The women would incur debts running into tens of thousands of dollars and would be forced to work as prostitutes to pay off their debts.
Adapted from: "Five South Koreans convicted in US over sex-trafficking ring." New York AFP. 10 November 2007.
Search the entirety of the site for resources or updates.