NEWS:U.S. charges three in Pacific prostitution scheme

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 06:28:23 -0800 (PST)


U.S. charges three in Pacific prostitution scheme
         
            WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three people have been charged with
luring women from China to an island chain in the western
Pacific and forcing them into slavery and prostitution at a
karaoke bar, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
            It alleged the three suspects, who face up to life in
prison, recruited as many as 19 Chinese women to the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands from 1996 until
January by promising them jobs as waitresses in a restaurant
they owned.
            The islands are a U.S. commonwealth in Micronesia.
            Kwon Mo Young, Kwon Soon Oh and Meng Ying Yu were charged
with violating federal civil rights and sexual exploitation
laws. They have been arrested and are currently in the U.S.
territory of Guam. Their nationalities were not disclosed.
            After arriving in Saipan in the Mariana Islands, the women
were taken to an apartment above the restaurant and learned they
would have to work as bargirls and have sex with the customers,
according to the charges.
            The defendants threatened any woman who resisted with
violence or even death, Justice Department officials alleged.
            The Justice Department said the charges were the first
stemming from a task force created by Attorney General Janet
Reno in April to crack down on illegal worker exploitation and
modern-day slavery in the United States.
            The Justice Department also brought the case as part of an
investigation of complaints of civil rights violations in the
islands, including the trafficking of women and children in the
international sex trade.


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