NEWS:Providence club owner lured Asian women to U.S. for prostitution

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Mon, 30 Nov 1998 08:57:41 -0800 (PST)


Police: Providence club owner lured Asian women to U.S. for prostitution
November 24, 1998

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Prostitutes at a Providence brothel that
masqueraded as a health club were lured from Southeast Asia and were paid
only the tips given by their patrons, city detectives allege.

``This was like slavery,'' said Sgt. Nicholas Cardarelli, commander of the
Special Services Division, which raided Club Osaka on Saturday.

Detectives arrested club owner Seng Uk Han and six alleged prostitutes,
seized $14,981 in cash, and confiscated plastic bags stuffed with condoms.

The prostitutes had been lured to the United States by Han's girlfriend,
who is currently in South Korea, police said.

The six women arrested along with Han had been in Providence from two weeks
to six months, police said.

The Asian women were fed and housed by Han but ``they didn't get paid. They
just got tips,'' Cardarelli said.

The women were told their work paid for the cost of bringing them to the
United States, in some cases $10,000, Cardarelli told the Providence Journal.

``They worked 16- to 18-hour days,'' Cardarelli said.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Club Osaka was part of a
nationwide prostitution ring.

Han, 36, was charged Monday with transporting for indecent purposes,
pandering and deriving support from prostitution. He is being held at the
state prison at the request of the Immigration and Naturalization Service,
police said.

The women were charged with soliciting for prostitution. Five of them were
being held at the state prison at the request of federal immigration
officials.

Club Osaka opened last year.

According to police, patrons were taken through saunas and a shower, and
then paid between $60 and $200 for sex acts that were performed in a
massage room.

The Saturday raid occurred after undercover officers who went to
investigate the club were solicited for sexual acts, Cardarelli said.


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