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    Porn, Prostitution, Sex Industry US cracks South Korean sex trafficking ring
    By Michelle Nichols
    NEW YORK (Reuters) - A sex trafficking ring that smuggled South Korean women into the United State to work as prostitutes in cities including the nation's capital has been cracked and 31 people arrested, officials said on Wednesday. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said another 70 women were being questioned to see if they were victims of the ring that shuttled prostitutes among brothels in places such as Washington, Philadelphia and New York. Prosecutors said ring members gave South Korean women who wanted to work in the United States false immigration documents to enter the United States, or smuggled them into the country through Canada or Mexico. By the time the women arrived in the United States they owed the traffickers tens of thousands of dollars, which they were forced to pay off by working as prostitutes. "Human traffickers profit by turning dreams into nightmares. These women sought a better life in America and found instead forced prostitution and misery," U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia told a news conference in New York. "This exploitation is not a back alley business -- it happens on Main Street in Stamford, Connecticut, it happens in residential areas of our nation's capital, it happens in the West 20s (streets) of New York City," he said. The arrests were made in at least nine states on Tuesday following raids on at least 19 brothels. Brothel owners and managers kept most of the money paid by customers and credited the rest against the women's debts, authorities said.

    "The women are in some instances told or led to believe that, if they leave the prostitution business before paying off their debts, they will suffer a range of harms," they said in a criminal complaint. "The women are sometimes threatened with harm to their families in Korea." Trafficking investigations have quadrupled in recent years and the value of assets seized rose to $27 million in 2005 from almost zero in 2003, said Julie Myers, an assistant secretary of Homeland Security. A 2005 U.S. State Department report found that up to 800,000 people are trafficked internationally each year.

    Associated Topics

    Human Trafficking

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