Canadian and U.S. police broke up an international prostitution ring which had bought impoverished southeast Asian women and forced them into the sex circuit.
Following several raids in Toronto and San Jose, Calif., the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service announced Sept. 11 that they had arrested dozens of Thai and Malaysian women and several suspected leaders of the prostitution ring. The women will face prostitution charges and be deported, while the leaders are "probably looking at lengthy jail time in Canada," said RCMP Cpl. Rick Watt.
The sex ring originated in southeast Asia, where young women were sold into slavery for around $18,000. They were smuggled into North America and forced to work in brothels, massage parlors and escort agencies to pay off their "immigration debts."
The police said despite the bust and more predicted arrests, the complexities of Asian prostitution rings meant they were far from victorious.