US authorities have charged 21 people across America, including 10 Thai nationals, for their involvement with an international sex-trafficking ring. Gregory Brooker, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, claims the bust “required years of hard work” (Reuters). Thai and US citizens running the ring lured Thai victims with promises of visas and the American Dream (NY Times). Once the victims arrived in the US, the terms of their deal changed substantially and effectively enslaved them to the ring (NY Times).
According to an unsealed indictment report, most of the trafficked women knew prostitution would be a component of their arrival to the US; however, they were all unaware of the debt bondage system they were entering (NY Times). The debts, up to $60,000, increased with actions such as forced breast augmentation and kept victims imprisoned within the ring until repayment (Reuters). The sex-trafficking ring’s finances ultimately led IRS investigators to the criminals (Reuters). Authorities estimated that the multi-million dollar operation has hundreds of victims across major US cities, although there is not an official number (Reuters).
Tags: Human Trafficking, sex trafficking, Dovydaitis