On the fast-moving circuit of international sex trafficking, say police, women regularly shuttle in and out of Boston
By Ric Kahn, Globe Staff | January 7, 2007
"Trafficking in human beings is nothing less than a modern form of slavery," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said.
In one typical scenario, advocates say, the international journey begins with commercial-sex headhunters who use phony promises of jobs in restaurants or health spas
to prey on women from impoverished locations desperate to find an American payday to help their families back home.
After being smuggled illegally onto US shores, the women are hit with the tab: thousands of dollars in fees.
Queens a staging area
On the East Coast, the ethnic enclaves within the New York City borough of Queens such as Flushing and Jackson Heights
have become major recruiting centers for traffickers, according to law enforcement officials and advocates.
In August, federal authorities charged more than 30 Korean nationals with operating a sex-trafficking operation
along part of the Northeast Corridor: New York, Philadelphia, Washington. A chain of brothels, and a transporter for the enterprise, were based in Queens.
In the more than 40 arrests in Allston/Brighton alone in 2005, records show, the aberrant morphed into the widespread: foreign-born women, listing far-away home addresses
including many in Queens -- arrested for prostitution in illicit massage ventures and needing interpreters in court because they could not speak English.
You have to wonder whether ABC's dreadful new sitcom, "In Case of Emergency," got its name after somebody at the network said: "We should only put this show in our lineup only in case of emergency."
"Emergency" centers on four people who knew each other in high school but are now in their late 30s and facing the low points of their lives.
Jonathan Silverman (he was NBC's "Single Guy" for two merciless seasons) is the central character,
Harry, a divorced father who writes greeting cards for a living. He's also very, very lonely,
which is why he finds himself, in the opening scene, in a Korean massage parlor.
He's there for more than a massage.
Who should appear to administer this "massage" but Kelly (Kelly Hu), valedictorian of Harry's class in high school,
sporting a fake Korean accent and a tight red dress (most of her clothes seem to be tight).
Obviously, something went horribly wrong in her life, but will the show be on long enough for us to find out? Let's hope not.
and Keep Your Man: Using Sex Secrets of an American Geisha
Py Kim Los Angeles, December 4, 2006
SEX SECRETS OF AN AMERICAN GEISHA is based on author Py Kim Conant's research with literally hundreds of single and married Asian women
and American men pursuing interracial relationships, as well as on her own personal experience finding - and bedding and wedding, in the most Machiavellian fashion - her American husband.
While investigating the lives of Japanese Geisha (and Korean Kisaeng),
Py Kim found a deep well of untapped wisdom in the Geisha's centuries-old feminine practice that could be applied to 21st century women
wishing to learn how to attract, satisfy, and keep a man happy and in love for a lifetime.
Brothel Posing As Spa Shut Down In Fairfield, Police Say
December 28, 2006
A house of prostitution that posed as a health spa has been shut down in Fairfield, Conn., police said Wednesday.
Following a two-year investigation,
police said they closed down the Seven Star Oriental Health Spa and arrested its owner on charges of promoting prostitution.
An Oakland man accused of helping import Asian women for prostitution in San Mateo County and Colorado pleaded not guilty
to four counts of pimping and pandering while his alleged cohorts face similar charges in federal court.
Authorities believe Korean and Chinese women seeking transport into the United States worked at the brothels to pay off their expenses.
Ri Luo, 41, ran an escort service in Pacifica and Foster City that was actually a front for a prostitution ring
that extended down the Peninsula and Colorado, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Kwor “Tommy” Chou, 29, of Colorado, was arrested with Luo Nov. 21 by the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force
but only the Oakland man was extradited last week to appear in the local court.
Local prosecutors are trying to extradite Chou, too, but he posted bail in Colorado already and hasn’t been heard from since.
In January, the Pacifica Police Department began investigating a possible brothel run out of an apartment on the 200 block of Gateway Drive based on Internet ads from Craigslist and other sites.
Police have busted 42 prostitutes for using forged documents to get a U.S. visa.
Police in Seoul also detained a broker identified as Kim (47) on charges of faking a variety of documents to help them get the visas.
According to police, Kim and his Korean-American accomplice had been mocking up bank account records,
job certificates and Family Register documents for their clients and training them for the visa interviews since September 2004, charging W4 million (US$1=W928) per person.
The two made profits of W1 billion in all by doing so. Half of their 500 clients succeeded in getting a U.S. visa.
Their clients included mostly 20-something women who wanted the visa to work in the sex trade in large U.S. cities.
"As far as we know, some 200 Korean women were caught for prostitution in the U.S. this year alone
and 100 of them were deported,” a police officer said.
"The number of cases where the U.S. Embassy seizes forged visa application documents rose to 200 a month. This is a serious stumbling block to Koreans being included in the U.S. visa waiver program.”
December 11, 2006
A reputed East Side brothel was hooked in an undercover sting Friday night and its steamy staff of four busted - but it didn't take long for the sleaze hall to reopen for business.
Shortly after, a car registered to a Flushing man arrived and three Korean women, none of whom apparently spoke English, got out and went inside.
Within the hour, men were once again knocking on the door of the raided den.
Before The Post departed, the woman in the bathrobe turned downright inhospitable, snapping at the reporter and threatening to call the cops - as if the house hadn't had enough of the men in blue during the raid.
Arrested Friday were Canny Lee, 51, whom police said was the madam, and Jin Sook Hinds, 31. Both were charged with promoting prostitution.
In addition, Mink Kim, 29, and Min Young, 29, were charged with "unauthorized practice of a profession" after offering a full-body massage and to masturbate an officer, police said.
The undercover cops said they were quoted going rates of $100 to $200.
December 11, 2006
A Longmont business purporting to offer massages to customers instead was selling sex from Korean immigrants paying off their relocation debt, police say.
Su Blizard, 54, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony pimping, arranging for pandering and keeping a place of prostitution.
Investigators say Blizard was the "madam" for the past five years at Spring Valley Spa, 380 Lashley St.
A language barrier prevented two women accused of prostitution from being arraigned Thursday morning in Municipal Court, officials said.
Hae Ja Kim, 41, of Nashville, Tenn., and Hyon Chu Chung, 55, of Wake Forest, N.C., were arrested Nov. 29 during a raid at the Hawaiian Spa massage parlor at 3527 Route 20 W. in Saybrook Township,
according to Ashtabula County Sheriff's Department reports.
The women appeared in court Thursday, but the proceedings were continued because the women speak Korean, not English. Judge Albert Camplese continued the arraignments for need of an interpreter and set a $10,000 personal recognizance bond on each woman.
December 09. 2006
Benton Harbor Police Chief Al Mingo said the women arrested in Wednesday's raid were part of an organized prostitution ring of Korean women
emanating from Battle Creek, Mich., Louisville, Ky., and Seattle.
Picked up on a felony charge of keeping a house of ill fame was Young Soon Yi, 50. Also, Mingo said Myeoung H. Snow, 47,
was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of prostitution and solicitation of prostitution.
Like Yi, Chong Suk Lemmer, 57, was arrested on a felony charge of keeping a house of ill fame, Mingo said. All three women were lodged in the Berrien County Jail.
in prostitution sting
Clayton County Police raided five spa house on Tara Boulevard
at once Thursday night in a prostitution sting.
“Prostitution is a problem on the Tara corridor,”
said Interim Chief Jeff Turner.
The women sat on a couch in the front waiting room,
whispering in Korean while the officers checked
the rooms and read over a packet of photocopied laws
to determine which were applicable.
There were four security cameras in the building.
In the office next the monitor was a stack of business cards
from taxi and limo services, a copy of “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul”
and a United States History written in Korean.
America's Most Wanted
Between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States every year.
And just as they are on foreign soil, many of them are forced into sex slavery.
In 2005, the FBI, Immigration Custom Enforcement Agents, and members of the NYPD teamed up
to conduct an investigation that resulted in the breakup of Korean sex slave rings
up and down the East Coast, and in California.
In all, they made 30 arrests and rescued 70 victims -- a small but important victory in a huge battle.
There have been many more raids like these over the years, and little by little,
people are working to solve the problem of sex slavery abroad and in the U.S.
Although the raids may not seem to put a huge dent in the problem,
experts say they actually prevent sex slavery in many cases. When a brothel owner sees
another pimp or madam receive a jail sentence, they grow wary of continuing their own business.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The global problem of human trafficking in the sex industry touched down
in Providence last night as a ranking police official outlined the growth
of brothels masquerading as massage parlors in the city in recent years.
Maj. Stephen Campbell, commander of the Providence police investigative bureau,
informed a rapt audience that there are about 75 to 100 South Korean women
providing sexual gratification to men in “10 to 11 brothels”
scattered across Providence.
Campbell said the women work, sleep and eat in the dingy massage parlors that are
run from storefronts near the State House,
downtown and on South Main Street.
He said his detectives have tried to question the South Korean women
who work in the local brothels,
but their work is difficult because most of the women don’t speak English,
and, even if they do, they are reluctant to speak to a police officer.
Prostitution Ring Ran
From Glendale To Tech Center
Nov 22, 2006 3:54 pm US/Mountain
(CBS4) DENVER New criminal complaints and affidavits were unsealed Wednesday
revealing women brought to Colorado from Korea were used as prostitutes
from Glendale to the Denver Tech Center.
CBS4 investigator Brian Maass first broke the story of the alleged
international prostitution ring Tuesday night.
The documents tell the story of a large, well-organized and profitable
human trafficking ring that imported Korean and other Asian women
to work as prostitutes all over the Denver area.
After 6 months of investigation, a posse of federal and local lawmen stormed
a house Tuesday in Highlands Ranch.
They arrested Wai Kong and his wife Kit Chi Ho and accused them of transporting
women for illegal sexual activity.
A third woman was arrested in Thornton.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, who spearheaded the initial investigation,
said the ringleaders knew what they were doing.
"We think it was fairly sophisticated in terms of the way they organized," Robinson said.
"The fact they were able to bring in that number of legal immigrants to
our community and have them involved in an illegal activity."
According to the documents, the ring's operators set up brothels
in apartments in Glendale, the Tech Center and Arapahoe County.
Those brothels were staffed by women imported from Korea, sometimes under false pretenses.
One said she was in the country on a student visa.
They said they performed acts of prostitution to help pay the ringleaders
from $8,000 to $18,000 for passports and visas that got them into the U.S.
The only way the fee can be paid is through acts of prostitution,
with very little money from the acts of prostitution going back to
the woman who is prostituting herself," Robinson said.
The sheriff said the ring was apparently doing plenty of business.
Male patrons told investigators they found the brothels through Internet ads
and they told authorities what was going on behind closed doors.
"It looked like they were pretty active," Robinson said. "We had quite a bit
of surveillance that showed they had people coming and going pretty consistently."
GPS tracking devices were placed on the suspects' van that showed daily trips
to the alleged brothels and to Denver International Airport to pick up
and drop off Korean prostitutes.
The three people arrested in Colorado are scheduled to appear
in federal court Friday for their first appearance.
A Highlands Ranch couple and a Thornton woman have been charged with
running a Korean prostitution ring out of three Denver-area "brothels,"
using women they flew in from out of state.
Authorities arrested Wai Chong Kong, 38, and his wife, Kit Chi Ho, 43,
both of Highlands Ranch,
and Kah Poh Cheah, 28, of Thornton, on Tuesday.
All three are Chinese, authorities said.
According to court documents, Glendale police received an anonymous
letter in March describing a Korean "sex slave, prostitution ring"
operating out of two apartments ? one in Glendale, the other
in the area of the Denver Tech Center.
The letter stated that the prostitutes were 19 to 25 years old
and that they were smuggled into the United States and forced to have sex with "Johns."
It also listed the Web site where the advertisement was located
and the phone number that the Johns used to make appointments with the prostitutes.
Many of the women selling sex in Toronto may be victims of human trafficking,
police officials say.
Acting Staff Insp. Mike Hamel of Toronto Police's sex crimes unit says many
of the estimated 2,000 people trafficked into Canada each year end up working
in the sex trade in Canada's largest cities, including Toronto.
Star reporters who called, at random, numbers in 10 such ads in local newspapers
were directed to apartment buildings in every case
from Jarvis St. downtown to Sandhurst Circle in north Scarborough to Keele St.
in west Toronto. Some brothels offer several locations to prospective clients.
Many openly advertise "full service," the trade's code word for sex,
for as little as $60, a fraction of what escorts normally charge.
"You can come to 3275 Sheppard or our other location at 2323 Eglinton Ave.
Same girls," says an Asian woman responding to a caller at the Scarborough building.
in San Francisco
will require public hearings
and a permit from the city's Planning Commission under an ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors in an initial vote Tuesday.
The law is intended to weed out spas that serve as fronts for brothels and is an effort
by city leaders to curb the illegal sex trade in San Francisco,
part of a growing $8 billion international sex trafficking industry.
Ma, who was on Tuesday's ballot as a candidate for state Assembly,
introduced the legislation shortly after federal agents raided 10 Asian massage parlors in San Francisco in the summer of 2005.
During the raid, federal agents arrested 29 people for alleged ties to a South Korean sex trafficking ring and removed 104 Korean masseuses in California's largest sex trafficking bust.
Despite ban, Yokosuka sex trade flourishes ‘Massagy girls’ finding no shortage of clients
near base Hana Kusumoto recently spent a Friday night in the entertainment district near
Yokosuka Naval Base to explore the status of the sex trade a year after the Defense Department
banned solicitation of prostitutes.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan ? If you’re an American man without a girl on your arm, walking
from Yokosuka's main train station to the nightlife district is a “massagy-girl” gantlet.
What the girls sell costs $30 to $170 and involves some form of “happy ending.”
One South Korean girl works in an upstairs parlor where customers order from a printed menu
that offers a variety of sexual favors, from use of hands only to full sexual intercourse.
She works there because there are no other jobs for her in Japan, she said.
A Chinese “massagy” girl on the corner said she came to Japan because she wanted to marry
a Japanese man.
She did, she said, and flashed a thumbs-up.
All sex service shops are illegal in Kanagawa prefecture, where Yokosuka Naval Base is.
But neither military restrictions nor Japanese law has made a dent in the Honch’s “massage” business,
the South Korean sex worker told Stars and Stripes. And most of her customers are American sailors, she said.
“They come to forget their stress,” she said from behind a curtain. “I give massage so they can relax.”
Three South Korean masseuses were arrested, two on expired visas, according to the police.
They told police that sailors keep the shops in business.
They said they each take in the yen equivalent of $5,000 to $6,000 a month.
Half goes to their manager ? a 39-year-old Korean man, according to police.
San Francisco Is A Major Center For International Crime Networks That Smuggle And Enslave
FIRST OF A FOUR PART SPECIAL REPORT by Meredith May Friday, October 6, 2006
"Human trafficking is a multibillion-dollar business. In terms of profits, it's on a path to overtake drug and arms trafficking," said Barry Tang,
an Immigration and Customs Enforcement attache with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in South Korea.
"There's a highly organized logistical network between Korea and the United States with recruiters, brokers, intermediaries, taxi drivers and madams."
The United States is among the top three destination countries for sex traffickers, along with Japan and Australia.
Once in the United States, traffickers most often set up shop in California, New York, Texas and Las Vegas.
Yuki, 25, who fears for her safety and only gave her first name to The Chronicle during an interview in Seoul,
said she was trafficked from South Korea to a karaoke bar in Inglewood (Los Angeles County), where she was assured that she would simply be serving drinks to men.
Once there, she was ordered to sell $3,000 worth of drinks each month. When she failed, she was sent to the "touching room," a private suite where men could have their way with her for $400.
Kim, who also withheld her last name, told The Chronicle in an interview in South Korea that she was forced to pay $4,400 for plastic surgery to open her eyes and make her nose thinner and pointier, "like Marilyn Monroe."
In South Korea the sex industry accounts for 4 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
The South Korean government passed an anti-sex trafficking law in 2004 that for the first time made it illegal to buy or sell women.
During their trip to South Korea, Chronicle reporter Meredith May and staff photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice found that while the public sex industry has slowed,
parts of the business has gone underground and is still alive and well.
Slideshow produced by Dan Jung. Chronicle photos by Deanne Fitzmaurice
A YOUTHFUL MISTAKE
Sunday, October 8, 2006
At 1 a.m., the bell rang. You Mi Kim rushed with eight other Korean masseuses to the barren front lobby of Sun Spa in San Francisco. The women lined up on an L-shaped couch in their lingerie and waited for the customer to choose.
Don't pick me, don't pick me," You Mi thought, forcing a smile.
Less than a year earlier, she'd been a college student in South Korea, only to be tricked into leaving her home by sex traffickers offering promises of a high-paying hostess job. Desperate for a way out of her $40,000 debt, You Mi bit. Now, she was at the end of yet another 15-hour shift of forced sex.
The man examined You Mi's petite frame, her brown eyes and her dark hair, which fell like silk to her shoulders.
He pointed at her.
You Mi led him from the lobby to one of the four upstairs massage rooms and told him to shower in the bathtub behind a curtain in the corner.
"This is my first time," he said.
It was a line You Mi heard daily inside Sun Spa.
The man was athletic, muscular. After showering, he led her to the bed and stretched out on his stomach. You Mi began massaging his shoulders.
Suddenly, he jumped off the bed, declared he didn't need a massage and yanked off her white camisole.
He threw her to the mattress and forced himself on her, pulling her hair and twisting her small body in so many ways that she screamed in pain.
Then the man's eyes went blank. He began choking her. She heard sounds of pleasure escape his throat. He seemed to be enjoying it.
The manager burst through the door. "What's going on?" she shouted in Korean.
"Help me!" You Mi gasped.
The man released his grip. The manager turned her attention to the customer.
"I'm sorry she disappointed you," she said, refunding his $50. A disgruntled john might tip off the police.
The man pocketed the money, turned and walked out the front door.
Of all the degradations You Mi endured while forced to work as a California sex slave in 2003, this was the worst. In an instant it became clear: Her life amounted to $50. The manager ordered her back to work.
After her attack, You Mi did the only thing she could think of to survive. She wiped away the tears and smiled for her next customer.
For nearly a year, You Mi was caught in a sex-trafficking triangle -- starting in South Korea, one of the world's leading importers and exporters of sex slaves, and stretching to the exploding Asian outcall market of Los Angeles and then to the Asian massage-parlor mecca on the West Coast: San Francisco.
She would be forced to have sex with dozens of men a week in seedy massage parlors, apartments and hotel rooms. She would live under the watchful eye of guards and surveillance cameras, reminded constantly that her family back in South Korea would be harmed if she ran.
She would work in brothels with blacked-out windows and double metal security doors, allowed outside only under the escort of crooked taxi drivers working for the traffickers who drove her to sex appointments. She would also be trapped culturally, unable to speak more than a few basic sentences in English, unaware of where she was and dependent on her captors for food and shelter.
Monday, October 9, 2006
A small sedan pulled up to a run-down motel in Tijuana just before midnight, and a middle-aged Korean American woman behind the wheel ordered You Mi Kim into the backseat.
It was time to "jump" over the border.
Since arriving from South Korea four days earlier, You Mi had been holed up in the motel, waiting to slip into the United States and start what she had been told was a high-paying hostess job in California. She hoped to earn enough to get her out of the $40,000 shopping debt she had recently piled up while a university student.
You Mi had not anticipated an illegal border crossing when she signed up for the job. Worse, she didn't know that she was a pawn in an international sex-trafficking ring -- and that someone was waiting in the United States to buy her.
You Mi got into the car. The driver headed north toward the checkpoint, blending into the 24 lanes of idling traffic inching toward the United States.
Unbeknownst to You Mi, the driver was a "jockey," hired by South Korean sex traffickers to drive women through the busy San Ysidro checkpoint with fake travel documents.
It was February 2003. By then, agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were already on the lookout for Asian drivers, after recording an unusual spike in Koreans coming through border crossings in California, Texas and Washington state.
It was another sign that Asian sex-trafficking networks were becoming increasingly global, branching out from the shadows of sex tourist hot spots in Bangkok and Seoul to install big operations in American cities, particularly Los Angeles and San Francisco.
If You Mi were discovered, agents would handcuff her and take her to a holding cell beneath the road. They would take her fingerprints and deport her.
About 300 feet from the yellow Border Patrol booths, You Mi felt eyes on her.
Roving agents with long screwdrivers, flashlights and guns approached the Korean women in the long line of travelers. You Mi tried to focus her gaze on vendors selling sombreros, guitars and frozen fruit-juice bars to passengers in the cars.
The agents leaned through the window near You Mi.
"I.D.! I.D.!" they demanded. She froze, forgetting the information on the fake visa given to her by sex traffickers masquerading as job brokers.
One agent ordered You Mi's driver to pull out of line for a more thorough search in the secondary inspection portico, near the deportation processing offices.
You Mi watched in terror as agents ordered passengers out of the cars ahead of hers to search their luggage and travel papers.
While waiting, You Mi's driver made a cell phone call to the trafficker who had delivered You Mi to the Tijuana motel.
"Is she still carrying the visa?" he asked.
"Yes, we have it," the driver said.
"If possible, get out and run back toward Mexico. Is there someone watching you guys?"
The driver hung up in a panic. She was cursing herself for accepting a job that she thought was easy money. By now, You Mi was crying with fear.
You Mi's driver ignored the broker's advice. She turned on the ignition. Slowly, she pulled out of the secondary area and headed for the United States. She chose the only exit booth with a female guard, and drove through with nonchalance, as if she had been given clearance to go. Nobody stopped them.
Ten minutes later, the driver pulled off the freeway to a gas station just inside the U.S. border, where a Korean man and a black car awaited.
You Mi had made it to the United States, yet she was anything but free.
At the gas station, the driver took You Mi's fake visa back.
"Good luck," she said, and sped off.
The man at the gas station summoned You Mi to his car, and they headed for Koreatown in Los Angeles, to meet her future boss.
But first, the driver told You Mi, he wanted to stop at a motel and have sex with her.
All the lies and confusion of her journey thus far had You Mi primed for a fight, but she controlled her anger and came up with a strategy. She threatened to report him to the boss if he made any trouble.
Her ploy worked. At 4 a.m., they arrived in Los Angeles, and the man called the boss. Awakened from sleep, he instructed them to go to a motel and call back in five hours.
Although You Mi insisted on two hotel rooms, the driver reserved only one, promising not to touch her.
He slept. She stayed awake, bracing for him to attack her. Finally, the boss called at 9 a.m. and said it was time to meet.
On the way, You Mi got her first glimpse of Koreatown in daylight. There were no high-rises, no neon jungle, no fashion plates crowding the sidewalks. The short, squatty architecture reminded her of South Korea's most outdated neighborhoods. She saw broken-down cars in front yards, garbage in the gutters and homeless people passed out in doorways.
The room-salon sex bars common to South Korea were there, only tucked away behind barbershops and other stores, accessible only to those in the know. There were no glass windows with women on display, like those in You Mi's hometown of Busan. Rather, the women were advertised in the free Korean-language newspapers available on nearly every corner in Koreatown.
Koreatown's sex industry pulsed just as strongly as Busan's, but you couldn't see it from the street. Most of the women in Los Angeles worked in something called an Asian apartment massage parlor, a scaled-down, secretive version of a brothel, where a trafficker operates a massage parlor out of an apartment with one or two masseuses.
At a coffee shop, You Mi looked at her new boss -- round face, round stomach and pudgy fingers stuffed into gold rings. He said she owed him $11,000 for her journey -- $4,000 more than she agreed to in South Korea.
You Mi was tired, beaten down. But she figured that she would be making money pretty fast, so $4,000 more wouldn't be too much of a burden. She agreed.
The boss brought her to an apartment in a cream-colored building with palm trees out front. He told her that she would be sharing an apartment with women who worked for his wife's underground company, Jenny Outcall, which sent women in unlicensed Korean taxis to meet with men who called for sex. He assured her that her hostessing job would be different.
Even though You Mi had to share a bedroom with two other women, the apartment seemed enormous compared with her family home in South Korea. She had never seen a home with two bathrooms, and was awed by the view of the hills from the balcony.
Finally, she was a woman on her own in the big city. Although she'd had some bad experiences on her trip, she felt she had gotten through the worst of it and was finally going to begin correcting the mistakes of her youth.
She changed into a skirt suit to get ready for job interviews. She used makeup to try to cover her acne, which had broken out from the stress of the trip and her money troubles. Her boss drove her to meet several room salon owners, but they all turned her down, saying she was too awkward, too nervous, too pimply.
The boss sent You Mi to a dermatologist, and added the $500 worth of acne creams to her debt.
After four days, he let down the hammer, telling You Mi she wasn't going to find a job in a room salon with her acne and her naivete. He offered her a job in his wife's outcall service, and warned You Mi that she was getting into serious debt trouble and needed to figure something out fast.
You Mi felt queasy. The thought of outcall work terrified her. In South Korea, she had had only a few clumsy sexual experiences with boyfriends, so she didn't know what the men would want her to do.
After weeks of ignoring the warning signs, after hoping against hope that the job she signed up for was nonsexual, You Mi was forced to accept the truth. She sobbed.
Her credit card debt was $40,000 and her trafficking debt was $12,000, and she had no money to get back to Korea. She didn't want to burden her family for a bailout. She didn't even know where she was in California, or who could help her.
An outcall worker sharing the same apartment with You Mi, a 28-year-old married woman on her third trip to the United States for sex work, held You Mi to comfort her.
"Why are you here?" she asked, confused by You Mi's turmoil.
You Mi explained she thought she'd be pouring drinks as a hostess in a Korean room salon, making lots of money.
October 6 2006
Police officers Wednesday night capped a two-month undercover investigation with
a raid on Nirvana Health Spa and the arrests of 11 people on prostitution-related charges, police said yesterday.
Special Services supervisor Sgt. Thomas Mattera said the eight women arrested claimed to be Korean nationals.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has been contacted to determine whether the women are in the country legally, Mattera said.
Six of the women were charged with prostitution and conspiracy to commit prostitution. Two others were charged with permitting and promoting prostitution.
Nirvana workers charged with prostitution and conspiracy are:
Sum Duk "Cherry" Park, 39, of 41-54 149th Place, Flushing;
Chalhye "June" Kim, 47, of 15731 19th Ave., the Bronx, N.Y.;
Keum Hae "Lea" Ko, 41, of 41-41 Union St., Flushing;
Kil Cha "Angie" Park, 38, of 4174 Berkly St., Milk Cross, Ga.;
and Kyong Suk "Jenn" Ju, 36, of 72-34 Calamus Ave., Woodside, N.Y. Each woman was held on $15,000 bond.
Chung Mi Shin, 49, of 20-25 Vista Drive, Del Vina, Calif., was charged with promoting prostitution and conspiracy.
She was held on $15,000 bond.
September 28, 2006
South Korean call girl Lee Hyun-mi faces a tough choice.
Since the clampdown, Lee faces the choice of applying for a government program to take her out of the sex trade,
turning to a broker for an overseas prostitution ring or
joining a growing union movement for sex workers seeking to legalize their profession and improve work conditions.
Prostitution has been illegal in South Korea since 1948,
but until recently authorities turned a blind eye to the booming sex industry
that belies South Korea's reputation as a straight-laced Confucian society.
Prostitution is a lucrative industry in South Korea.
About 20 percent of adult males in South Korea bought sex four times a month on average while 4.1 percent of women in their 20s made their livings as sex workers,
according to the most recent Korean Institute of Criminology survey conducted in 2003.
It found that the sex trade, with Amsterdam-style windowed bordellos and fronts in barber shops,
raked in revenue of about 24 trillion won ($25 billion) a year in the world's 11th largest economy.
Some prostitutes scoff at the government program, saying it offers too little money to help them pay off their debts or start businesses and too little support once they are out,
according to postings on Internet sites for the sex workers' labor movement.
The campaign against prostitution at home has forced many Korean sex workers to pack up and head overseas,
often to the United States where they accumulate huge debts to their traffickers and face a harsh life.
In August, U.S. authorities broke up a Korean prostitution ring operating in East Coast cites
such as New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Korean prostitution rings were also busted in
California earlier this year.
Sex Workers Filling Albuquerque Jail
SEPTEMBER 25, 2006 07:04
When I heard the rumor by chance that young Korean women are held in custody in Albuquerque, what I thought
of at first was “Where is Albuquerque?” However, the curiosity why Korean women are locked up in a small city
unknown to us in New Mexico was soon satisfied.
“Operation Cold Comport,” which was supposed to crack down on Korean sex trade shops, were launched on
August 15 by 1,000 armed policemen in eastern cities including Washington D.C. and New York. It is said that
during the operation, arrested women were sent into custody. Among 70 Korean women arrested, 15 out of 19
women who failed to be released on bail are in custody.
Albuquerque is a city of 500,000, which is built in the middle of a vast wilderness in New Mexico. The Detention
and Correction Center that I visited on September 18 was in the middle of its downtown area unlike my
imagination. However, security and guard were heavy, just like other correctional facilities. On the fourth floor of
the building, seemingly the tallest one in the city, were Korean women in custody.
Three Korean-born women were released from jail Saturday morning after being arrested on prostitution charges the night before when police say they traded sex for money at a Rock Hill massage parlor.
Shirley Kim, 46, Yun Kelley, 64, and Kum Jones, 58, all of 1406 Forest Point Lane, Apt. 206, were charged with aiding, abetting and soliciting prostitution,
according to a York County Sheriff's Office report.
Brothel raids expose problem of slavery in U.S.
Sept. 2, 2006, 6:28PM
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
NEW YORK ? Raids that uncovered more than 70 suspected sex slaves focused on 20 brothels in the East,
but they illustrated a long-ignored national problem found in towns large and small, experts say.
"It's a very overwhelming subject for a lot of people to recognize that there is slavery at this time in our country,"
said Carole Angel, staff attorney with the Immigrant Women Program of the women's rights advocacy group Legal
Momentum in Washington.
Prostitution Exports Expand to Include Male Variety
In the midst of the already plenty disgraceful news of the pan-pacific expedition
into the U.S. of Korean sex trade workers, now even Korean host bars (with male prostitutes)
have been uncovered in China.
August 30, 2006 ? Women's groups are enraged about the first-ever sex expo in Seoul, a four-day
event beginning tomorrow with promises of strip shows and lingerie exhibits.
"We will release a statement to condemn the event as obvious commercialization of women," said an
official at the Korea Women's Associations United. The official said the group and other women's
groups would ask the Seoul Metropolitan City Government today to retract its approval for the event
and the use of the center.
90 percent of them are Korean
Investigation Team for Overseas Prostitutes
The Los Angeles Police Department said that more than 8,000 Korean women were working as
prostitutes in the U.S. It added that out of the 70 to 80 women arrested for prostitution a month,
90 percent of them are Korean.
Aug 28, 2006
About 70 women are being interviewed to determine their roles in an alleged sex slave ring.
The raids on the alleged brothels netted 31 South Korean nationals, who smuggled women into the country with promises of the American Dream
and then forced them into prostitution to pay back their travel bills, according to two U.S. attorneys and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The 70 Korean women, believed by federal agents to be prostitutes, are not in a detention facility,
but are being kept in a non-disclosed location, said Marc Raimondi, ICE spokesman.
"They're being interviewed and their cases are being evaluated to see if they are victims ... or willing sex workers," Raimondi said.
Time to Drop the Massage Parlor Ads
By Deborah Howell Sunday, August 27, 2006; Page B06
The Post runs "massage parlor" advertising almost every day in the Sports section.
The ads are small and discreet in content, but not always candid: The money for those ads doesn't come from masseuses trained in Swedish, shiatsu or deep-tissue massage.
And men don't go there for back rubs.
My inquiries into The Post's acceptance of these ads began after a Page 1 story on Dec. 15 by Laura Blumenfeld caught my eye.
Her story started in a local *Korean-run massage parlor, where she talked to both the manager of the club and one of the "johns" who come there for sex.
For years, stories in The Post and other newspapers have pointed out that massage parlors are often thinly disguised houses of prostitution.
Then on Aug. 17, The Post published a story by Allan Lengel reporting that federal agents had broken up a sex-slave trafficking ring along the East Coast
that allegedly coerced *Korean women into working as prostitutes in massage parlors and spas, some in upscale Washington neighborhoods such as Cleveland Park and Glover Park.
work as prostitutes in brothels
Kyo Hwa Adler DOB: 3/21/1953
Sun Im An DOB: 1/15/1962
Ji Hyun Bang DOB: 6/2/1976
Aeok Boydston, a/k/a "Big Sister Lillie" DOB: 5/8/1957
Un Sun Brown DOB: 6/27/1950
Eun Sook Chim, DOB: 5/14/55
Kim Chong, a/k/a "Big Sister Lora" DOB: 5/20/1960 or 5/1/1960
Woman charged in federal sex bust
Updated: 8/17/2006 12:25 PM
CHARLOTTE -- A Charlotte woman is behind bars Thursday morning following allegations that she was operating a "sex slave ring."
Federal authorities say 53-year-old Mee Soon Hayes lived in the Ballantyne area of Charlotte but ran a brothel in Baltimore. Her arrest is part of a crackdown that shut down 20 brothels along the East Coast.
Hayes was one of 31 people arrested for their part in this massive sex slave ring, an operation that allegedly smuggled women from Korea into the United States and then forced them to be prostitutes.
In all, more than 70 people were set free.
One of the most difficult things in this is to develop a trust with the victims who have been so terribly exploited over the course of this crime,・said U.S. attorney Michael Garcia.
Federal authorities say Hayes was a running a business called the Moonlight, a Baltimore salon that doubled as a brothel. All 20 of the brothels that were busted acted as salons, massage parlors or acupuncture clinics. The arrests this week end a 15-month investigation.
Hayes is currently being held in the Mecklenburg County jail.