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31 Arrested in Reputed Korean Sex-Slave Trafficking Along East Coast 12/01/09 12:47 AM

31 Arrested in Reputed Korean


Sex-Slave Trafficking Along East
Coast
By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 17, 2006; B08

Federal agents broke up a sex-slave trafficking ring


along the East Coast that coerced Korean women into
working as prostitutes in massage parlors and spas,
some in upscale Washington neighborhoods such as
Cleveland Park and Glover Park, authorities
announced yesterday.

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs


Enforcement and the FBI arrested 31 people Tuesday,
including 19 in New York and four in the District.
They also raided 18 businesses, including one in
Baltimore and five in Washington, three of them
downtown.

In all, 23 Korean women in Washington and 44 in


New York, Baltimore, New Haven, Conn., and
Philadelphia were rounded up and interviewed to
determine whether they were involuntarily part of the
ring that forced some women into prostitution to pay
off tens of thousands of dollars in fees for being
smuggled into the United States, authorities said.

"This law enforcement operation successfully shut


down an organization that cashed in human dignity
for profit and greed," ICE Assistant Secretary Julie L.
Myers said in a statement.

Federal indictments unsealed in New York yesterday


provided a glimpse into the highly profitable world of
prostitution and slavery, which in this case,
authorities said, stretched from South Korea to points
along the East Coast.

The charges, including conspiracy to engage in


human trafficking and interstate transportation of
women for the purpose of prostitution, resulted from

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31 Arrested in Reputed Korean Sex-Slave Trafficking Along East Coast 12/01/09 12:47 AM

hours of wiretapped conversations.

According to court documents, recruiters in South


Korea and the United States arranged travel to the
United States for Korean women interested in making
money for their families.

The women were provided false immigration


documents or were turned over to handlers in Canada
or Mexico, who smuggled them into the country, the
documents said.

Once they arrived in the United States, the women


often were transported to Flushing, N.Y., where they
were told they would have to work as prostitutes to
offset their costs for being smuggled into the country,
authorities said.

According to the indictments, five middlemen in


Flushing took orders from the East Coast for Korean women and charged for procuring and delivering the
women. The business operators often asked for specific physical attributes, and some in Washington said
that some of the women were "too tall" or "not satisfactory," according to recorded conversations.

Owners took a big cut of the customers' fees and sent some of that money to South Korea to pay for the
smuggling fees, authorities said.

Business operators often took away the women's identification and travel documents and led them to believe
that they would be turned over to U.S. authorities or that their families would be harmed if they fled before
paying off their outstanding smuggling fee.

The businesses raided in Washington included the OK Spa, 2428 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 14K Spa, 1413 K St.
NW; Downtown Spa, 1018 Vermont Ave. NW; Royal Spa, 520 10th St. NW; and Cleveland Park Holistic
Health, 3520 Connecticut Ave. NW. Attempts to reach the businesses by phone for comment were
unsuccessful.

Massage parlor operators in Washington who were arrested Tuesday included Tae Nam Thompson, 56; Eun
Ja Park, 38; Seng Hee Ryan, 33; and Young Hui Kim, age unknown. More arrests were expected, authorities
said.

Investigators intercepted numerous phone conversations along the East Coast.

At the Downtown Spa in downtown Washington, the massage parlor operator told a middleman in New
York that the workers "were tired because they served 15 customers the previous night" and "she only had
six girls working at the time, but needed eight girls because she would get up to 70 customers on a
weekend," according to court documents.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company


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31 Arrested in Reputed Korean Sex-Slave Trafficking Along East Coast 12/01/09 12:47 AM

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