The total number of women trafficked by the organization could reach the thousands, authorities said. S., the women were forced into working at all hours of the day, up to seven days a week, to pay down “bondage debts” of up to ,000 apiece.Like the original indictment, the new charges describe a mafia-like enterprise with members playing multiple roles — from traffickers who owned and sometimes traded victims’ bondage debts, to “house bosses” who ran daily operations at houses of prostitution, “facilitators” who fraudulently married some high-level members of the conspiracy to help them gain immigration status, and money launderers who helped keep the business afloat.Once in the United States, the victims were placed in houses of prostitution where they were forced to work long hours – often all day, every day – having sex with strangers.The victims were isolated from the outside world; they often had no freedom of movement and were not allowed to leave the prostitution houses unless accompanied by a member of the criminal organization.Wilaiwan Phimkhalee is charged with running a brothel that employed Thai prostitutes in forced labor.
The probe identified seven Minneapolis-area locations used as houses of prostitution during the conspiracy, which began in 2009, according to federal prosecutors.
Thailand's first female tourism minister has vowed to crack down on the country's infamous sex industry in the wake of several police raids."We want Thailand to be about quality tourism," Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told Reuters.
"We want the sex industry gone."The Thai government is to focus on appealing to more female tourists, as well as expand the wedding and honeymoon sector and eco-tourism.
The police are accused of turning a blind eye in exchange for cash."Experts say it will be hard to rid Thailand of an industry that is so entrenched and that provides pay-offs to untold numbers of officials and policemen," Reuters reports.
Police raided dozens of brothels in several major cities in search of underage and illegal workers last month, but only one was shut down.