News/US: Prostitutes Smuggled Into U.S., Court Told

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Subject: News/US: Prostitutes Smuggled Into U.S., Court Told
From: A. Jordan (annj@hrlawgroup.org)
Date: Wed Jul 21 1999 - 17:38:51 EDT


>Edited/Distributed by HURINet - The Human Rights Information Network
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>## author : msk@cis.org
>## date : 14.07.99
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>[This article has been excerpted.]
>
>Prostitutes Smuggled Into U.S., Court Told By CAITLIN LIU
>
>Los Angeles Times, July 1, 1999: She was a young mother from
>Mexico, so desperate for money...she was willing to travel
>illegally to the United States to work as a prostitute.
>
>Yolanda Cruz, 20, the first witness to testify against one
>of the alleged participants in a Long Beach prostitution
>ring uncovered by police in January, told a U.S. District
>Court jury Wednesday...she was performing sex acts for $60
>several times a day.
>
>She identified the defendant, Vu Tieng-Phou, as the man who
>collected money from her clients, kept records of the
>transactions and communicated with her, mostly through hand
>gestures. Cruz, who speaks only Spanish, testified through a
>translator.
>
>Phou has been charged with one count of conspiracy and one
>count of harboring illegal immigrants. If convicted on both,
>he could receive 20 years in prison, said Assistant U.S.
>Atty. Wendy O. Clendening.
>
>Last year, the ring recruited several women and girls from
>Mexico to work as prostitutes and smuggled them across the
>border, prosecutors said. The women and girls lived and
>worked together in various houses in the Los Angeles area,
>including one in Long Beach.
>
>Cruz said she was enticed into prostitution by promises...
>she would earn $15 per customer, which equaled her weekly
>salary as a cleaning woman in Mexico.
>
>Defense attorney Steven M. Cron sought to show...Cruz's
>testimony might be affected by the fact...federal
>prosecutors agreed not to bring charges against her in
>exchange for her cooperation.
>
>The second man charged in connection with the ring, Sammy
>Cheung, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of conspiracy and
>harboring illegal immigrants, Clendening said. His
>sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 27.
>
>Earlier Wednesday, Judge A. Howard Matz denied a motion by
>prosecutors and a public defender to close the court for a
>17-year-old witness, who had also worked as a prostitute for
>the ring. The attorneys had argued...the girl might be too
>intimidated to testify truthfully and clearly in front of a
>courtroom audience.
>
>But Matz responded...closing the court was "not fair to the
>defense and inconsistent with rights of the press." The
>teenager is expected to testify today.
>
>
>


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