U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) indicted 17 people for a Thai-American sex trafficking operation according to a ICE press release Wednesday.
11 of the 17 indicted individuals were arrested. The arrests took place Tuesday in several U.S. states including in Hawaii, Minnesota, Georgia, California and Illinois. One other person had already been arrested in Belgium in August. News of the indictments and arrests was unveiled after a federal indictment was unsealed late on Tuesday.
Out of the 17 people indicted, five are Americans and the remaining 12 are Thai citizens. The indictments and arrests targeted a criminal organization responsible for trafficking hundreds of Thai women into sex slavery in the U.S.
The victims were forced to work as prostitutes in illegal brothels throughout the U.S. in many major cities including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Phoenix, and Minneapolis. Working hours for the victims were often times 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whenever a victim left the premises of where they were working, they always had to be accompanied by someone who worked for the international criminal organization
“This case demonstrates the Justice Department’s determination to hold traffickers accountable and to help the survivors of this appalling practice reclaim their freedom and dignity. As part of our nationally recognized Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team Initiative, the District of Minnesota is playing a crucial role in those vital efforts, and I want to commend all of the team members whose cooperation led to today’s action,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said about the case.
Criminals running the Thai sex ring misled women into joining their organization by having “promised women in Thailand a chance at the American dream.” The Thai women were then forced to work until the thugs deemed they could repay their “bondage debt” worth somewhere between $40,000 and $60,000.
ICE, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been on a tear lately, targeting many dangerous foreign criminals within the U.S. 19 known human rights violators were picked up for their global crimes by the federal authority in September.
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