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Korean Sex Workers Exploited In L.A.; 'Madam' Eun Suk Sun Faces Charges In Korea - Los Angeles

By Dennis Romero Fri., Apr. 5 2013 at 9:08 AM
Categories: Sex Crimes
So get this:

Eun Suk Sun allegedly ran a house (or, rather, apartment) of prostitution right here in L.A.'s Koreatown. But it isn't American authorities who want to take her down for it. Nope, it's Korean officials. And their wish might come true:

You see, Korean authorities allege that the women exploited by Sun's operation were also South Korean nationals.

So they want to try the 37-year-old in her homeland, American officials say.

They issued a warrant in May, 2011, for Sun's arrest, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Koreans are getting their shot because Sun came to America in 2003 on a "visitor's visa" and then allegedly overstayed her welcome, living stateside illegally, ICE says.

So, just like that, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations agents turned her over to South Korean law enforcement Thursday at Seoul Incheon International Airport, the American authorities said.

Korean officials accuse her of hiring the victims for prostitution in Koreatown in 2010. Federal authorities are calling her a "madam."

She was arrested by ICE in January, subjected to deportation proceedings, and then fully repatriated to South Korea this week.

South Korean woman deported back from US after running a prostitution ring

AFP | Updated: April 05, 2013
LOS ANGELES: A South Korean woman wanted in her home country for running a US-based prostitution ring has been arrested in California and handed back to authorities in Seoul, officials said Thursday.

Eun Suk Sun, 37, the subject of a South Korean warrant issued in May 2011, was flown from Los Angeles to Seoul under escort by officers from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

She is accused of operating a prostitution business in LA's Koreatown district that employed other Korean women. She was arrested in January for alleged immigration offenses, said an ICE statement.

"If the charges in this case prove true, this fugitive's actions degraded the local community and the lives of the women she exploited for her own enrichment," said Timothy Robbins of ICE's enforcement arm.

In the last six months, South Korean and US authorities have coordinated the repatriation of 18 criminal fugitives to Korea and the return of three fugitives wanted in the United States, ICE said.

Tampa police say massage business facilitated sex trafficking

Thursday, March 21, 2013 2:36pm
TAMPA — When uniformed police showed up at Ocean Spa Massage, several women ran out the back door.
Tampa police believe those women were victims of human trafficking.
On Thursday, the agency returned to the South Tampa business with a search warrant in hand.
Inside, they found three adult women. Two spoke only Korean, so a translator from MacDill Air Force Base helped.

The women were not cooperative, and police do not believe they are licensed massage therapists.

"This is not a legitimate business," police Chief Jane Castor said at a news conference outside the bright purple building, at 3631 Henderson Blvd.

The officers had already seen the adult websites advertising the business: private parking and "very kind caring nurturing Asian hands," one site states. On another, anonymous writers give reviews of the sexual acts they participated in at Ocean Spa.

Kathy Cusmano, who works next door, says she often saw men park behind the business. It was common knowledge in the area that the spa was not legitimate, she said.

The three women interviewed Thursday were not immediately arrested, and police did not release their names.

It is unclear where the young women previously seen at the business were on Thursday, Castor said.

Inside the spa, police found multiple rooms, showers and a kitchen with a refrigerator and food. There were also mattresses in the back — an indicator that people are living in the business, police said.

Authorities say that massage businesses are sometimes the sites of human trafficking and prostitution. Often, these workers do not have massage therapy licenses.

State officials, along with the Florida State Massage Therapy Association, have been working to combat this crime through legislation and by taking away licenses from people who obtained them fraudulently.

This investigation started with an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers in October.

Undercover police officers twice went to Ocean Spa and were offered sex acts for money, Castor said.

A Florida Department of Health inspection in late 2012 discovered multiple mattresses and personal belongings in a back room.

"We're trying to get to the bottom of where (these women) came from and why they're here," Castor said. "We're continuing the investigation."

‘Eden’ Depicts Sex Trafficking in the United States

True Story Inspires Tale of Sex Trade; in a Twist, a U.S. Marshal Is the Bad Guy
Published: March 19, 2013
Enough films about human trafficking have been made in recent years that the outlines of “Eden” should be painfully familiar. But that familiarity doesn’t cushion this movie’s excruciating vision of under-age women conscripted into sexual slavery by a criminal enterprise from which there is seemingly no escape.

Illegal alien pleads guilty to sex trafficking South Korean women

March 31, 2013
A South Korean man, who entered the U.S. on a temporary visa and then illegally remained in the United States, pleaded guilty to transporting female illegal aliens into the state of Mississippi for financial gain in connection with a sex trafficking organization, according to federal officials in a press statement released Friday.

The guilty plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs agents and officers from the Biloxi, Miss., Police Department.

According to court documents, Moonseop Kim posted an advertisement on the Internet offering Korean female escort services in September 2012. Undercover officers with the Biloxi police responded to the ad and conducted a sting operation which resulted in the arrest of the 54-year-old Kim and a Korean female.

ICE investigators subsequently discovered Kim was connected to a multi-state prostitution ring operating out of Atlantic City, N.J., and that Kim and the female had both overstayed their visas and were illegally in the country.

"Criminals who sexually exploit illegal aliens for financial gain often use intimidation or force to threaten these vulnerable women into compliance," said ICE's New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Raymond R. Parmer Jr.

"[ICE] actively works with state and local law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice anyone who victimizes or exploits others for illegal profit," said SAIC Parmer, who oversees a five state area of operations that includes Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Kim is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in June. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Kim faces deportation back to South Korea following the completion of his prison term in the United States.

Police checking illegal drug use in sex bribery scandal

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- Police investigating the possible sex bribery scandal invloving high ranking officials now suspect illegal substances may have been used by those who frequented the villa where the events took place, sources said Saturday.

Sex for influence

The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
Saturday, Mar 23, 2013

In a widening sex-for-favors scandal, Vice Justice Minister Kim Hak-ui tendered a letter of resignation on Thursday. While denying being involved in the scandal, Kim said his name being mentioned in connection with it made it impossible for him to continue to do his work as a vice minister.

But his resignation reaffirmed that background checks by the Park Geun-hye administration on those selected for top public posts were seriously flawed. The presidential office, though informed of his alleged involvement, concluded the allegation was groundless and proceeded with his appointment to the vice ministerial post.

His departure followed that of Hwang Chul-joo, a vice chairman of the Korea Venture Association, who had been selected to head the Small and Medium Business Administration. Hwang withdrew from the post last week because of a rule requiring high public officeholders to dispose their equities if they related to their new duties. He did not want to part with his holdings in a venture amounting to 70 billion won. It was disclosed that he had not received a detailed explanation about the rule.

Police had long been looking into an allegation that a construction company executive arranged banquets and sexual services for former and incumbent government officials and other influential figures in return for influence when a daily recently reported the newly appointed vice justice minister was involved in the scandal.

An investigation started when a woman pressed charges of rape and extortion against the company executive last year. She also told police that a number of CD-ROMs showing high-ranking officials having sex with women had been found in a car she had lent to him. More than 10 women, including housewives and graduate school students, were allegedly employed to provide sexual services in a remote villa in Gangwon Province.

Allegations were made that the company executive used the CD-ROMs to blackmail the officials for business favors. Police said they were in the process of confirming the allegations.

The provision of sexual services in return for business favors is not a simple, innocuous scandal. It is a criminal act into which police investigators will have to delve deeply. Quite a few already voice concern that the investigation into the scandal, which has come in the early weeks of the new administration, may be scaled down.

But all those criminal suspects must be brought to justice. As President Park Geun-hye noted earlier, public trust in the entire officialdom will plummet even if one single public servant is found to have been involved in a serious corruption case.

Police to summon key figures in growing sex-for-favors scandal

By Cho Chung-un
The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
Thursday, Mar 21, 2013
Police to summon key figures in growing sex-for-favors

SEOUL - Police will question a local contractor and other key figures allegedly involved in a snowballing sex-for-favors scandal.

The construction firm executive is suspected of arranging banquets and sexual services for high-ranking officials and public figures in return for their influence.

Officials at Korea's National Police Agency said Wednesday that they summoned three witnesses overnight and secured statements on the businessman's illegal lobbying activities and secretive meetings.

"We have secured the necessary testimonies from the three witnesses," an investigator said.

The 51-year-old man surnamed Yoon is accused of filming officials and others having sex with women he hired for the purpose. Sources say that he might have used the footage to blackmail the officials for business favors.

The police said they would also question those influential figures mentioned by the witnesses on Thursday if possible and investigate whether they peddled their influence for Yoon to win construction contracts.

Investigators will also summon women who were reportedly hired by Yoon for sexual services for questioning. Officials added that they would also focus on securing the videos, reportedly filmed by Yoon, saying they could not yet confirm their existence.

"The existence and the whereabouts of the videos is (our) urgent interest," an official said.

The scandal sent shockwaves around the country early this week as it reportedly involves a number of influential figures including an official who serves in a vice ministerial post and the head of a general hospital.

The ruling Saenuri Party urged the police to thoroughly investigate the case.

"If the police try to scale down or cover up the case because it (allegedly) involves (a) high-ranking official, the police will lose its authority and the people will be outraged," said Saenuri spokesman Lee Sang-il.

Local reports claimed that Yoon hired about 10 women, including a housewife, a businesswoman and a musician, to perform sexual services for officials. They were allegedly often invited to Yoon's luxurious country house in Wonju, Gangwon Province or karaoke sessions between 2008 and 2011. Actresses and models were also invited to parties at the house, reports quoting neighbours said.

The case came to the attention of police after a woman filed a complaint against Yoon and his colleague for rape and extortion late last year. The woman surnamed Kwon told police that her assistants found a number of CD-ROMS in a car she had lent Yoon that showed big name officials and women having sex. The police asked Kwon to submit evidence to back up her claims but she said she had destroyed the discs. The prosecution dropped all charges against Yoon last month aside from one relating to an unregistered air gun.

Kwon claimed that she had lent Yoon 1.5 billion won (S$1.6 million) in cash and that he had threatened to release another video of him raping her while drugged after she asked to be repaid.Police to summon key figures in growing sex-for-favors scandal

Alleged S Korean 'madam' deported from US

A South Korean woman wanted in her home country for running a US-based prostitution ring has been arrested in California and handed back to authorities in Seoul, officials said Thursday.

Eun Suk Sun, 37, the subject of a South Korean warrant issued in May 2011, was flown from Los Angeles to Seoul under escort by officers from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

She is accused of operating a prostitution business in LA's Koreatown district that employed other Korean women. She was arrested in January for alleged immigration offenses, said an ICE statement.

"If the charges in this case prove true, this fugitive's actions degraded the local community and the lives of the women she exploited for her own enrichment," said Timothy Robbins of ICE's enforcement arm.

In the last six months, South Korean and US authorities have coordinated the repatriation of 18 criminal fugitives to Korea and the return of three fugitives wanted in the United States, ICE said.

Korean nightclub madam sentenced in immigration case

February 24, 2013 · Updated 3:16 PM
Mirror staff reports:

The madam of a nationwide Korean prostitution ring headquartered in Federal Way was sentenced to prison on charges of immigration fraud.

Auburn resident Miyoung Roberts, 42, operated the Blue Moon nightclub on Pacific Highway South. On Friday, she was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release, according to U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan's office.

Between 2009 and 2012, Roberts arranged illegal immigration for more than 24 Korean women who traveled around the United States to work at similar nightclubs. According to the attorney's office, Roberts had "earned a reputation for being a successful room salon madam."

Roberts also counseled the women, who served as "bar girls," on how to avoid detection by immigration authorities. She set up apartments for the women and supervised some of the women's prostitution activities, according to the attorney's office.

Roberts had gained U.S. citizenship through a fake marriage, and in an attempt to arrange a fake marriage for someone else, she recruited an undercover agent who was working on the case.

Eight people were indicted in January 2012 for their roles in the prostitution ring. Chang Kim, the owner of the Blue Moon in Federal Way, will be sentenced next month. Kim faces five criminal counts involving $15,000 in bribes he allegedly paid the undercover officer in the case.

Federal authorities shutter Macon massage parlor; 3 named in 43-count indictment

A 43-count federal indictment and Valentine’s Day raid have shuttered a Macon massage parlor after more than four years of undercover investigation.

Local and federal authorities served a search warrant at Sedona Tanning Salon, 1922 Riverside Drive, at about 9 p.m. Thursday, said Michael Moore, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Federal grand jurors indicted the business’ owner and two other women Friday morning, he said.

Owner Hyeon Joo Chae, who also is known as Huyn Joo Choi, was arrested by U.S. marshals and was being held at the Bibb County jail without bail Friday, according to jail records.

Chae, 44, of Atlanta; Kye Wol “Kim” Dyreson, 72; and Ki Un “Love” Jordan, 49, are charged with conspiracy to use an interstate facility to promote prostitution and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the indictment.

Chae and Dyreson additionally are charged with use of an interstate facility to promote, manage and carry on prostitution. Chae also is charged with money laundering and failure to file a factual statement about an alien, according to the indictment.

The investigation was launched in 2008 following a string of raids at Macon and Bibb County massage parlors, said Macon police Maj. Charles Stone. Arrests were made at the then-Soft Hands Massage & Spa during the raids.

Since then, authorities have been conducting surveillance and undercover operations at Sedona, which was known as Soft Hands Massage & Spa until 2010, Moore said.

During the investigation, authorities didn’t find any evidence of human trafficking at the business, he said.

Using other statutes, prosecutors have built a case. None of the prostitutes from the business were indicted.

“When it comes to cleaning up the mess, it doesn’t matter which broom we use. We just want to make sure that we sweep these places out of business,” Moore said.

The conspiracy

According to the indictment:

Chae bought the building on Riverside Drive, just south of Ingleside Drive, in June 2007 to provide a place for prostitutes to perform massages and sexual services for male customers in exchange for money.

In May 2009, Chae created a corporate entity, Hong Ik Inc., and served as the company’s chief executive officer and chief financial officer. The company also was indicted by the grand jury Friday.

Dyreson acted as the manager, greeting customers, accepting their payments, preparing bank deposits and directing prostitutes’ activities.

Jordan helped Chae and Dyreson deposit the money into bank accounts controlled by Chae.

The business operated seven days a week and was open 12 to 17 hours each day.

Prostitutes worked as independent contractors, offering massages, showers and sex acts for a fee. Some of the prostitutes were citizens of South Korea.

The business accepted cash and credit cards as payment for services.

It charged a house fee of up to $65 and an additional fee for prostitution services that was negotiated between customers and prostitutes.

Bank deposits, consisting of payment for prostitution services, were in excess of $600,000.

Chae paid nearly $30,000 for advertising to promote the business.

As part of the prosecution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is seizing Chae’s Atlanta condominium.

“We are not (just) going to prosecute the people who commit the crime, we are not going to let them profit from it,” Moore said.

Some of the charges listed in the indictment carry maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, Moore said.

The FBI, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also participated in the investigation.

‘Health spa’ offers well-endowed prostitutes at premium prices

PROSTITUTION rings and brothels are taking advantage of the craze for all things Korean by offering Korean prostitutes at premium prices.

Metro Ahad, in an exclusive report, said that a health spa operating in Bukit Bintang which was a front for a brothel, offered the services of Korean prostitutes at RM600 an hour.

In comparison, sex workers from China are priced at RM240 an hour while those from Indonesia charge RM200.

It is understood that Korean sex workers command premium prices because they are still new to the Malaysian “market” and they are hard to come by as they rather service other Korean clients and prefer working in entertainment outlets owned by their countrymen.

The newspaper also revealed that many Korean prostitutes were “part-timers” usually tourists or students looking for extra income.

The pimps at the health spa promoted the Korean sex workers as women with big breasts, claiming they had received hormone injections, the paper said.

Young actress Zeehan Husin revealed the seedy underbelly of show business, where top directors still coerced new actresses into having sex with them for roles in movies.

The 30-year-old Pasir Mas native said a famous film director had asked her to sleep with him in return for the leading role in his new film.

“It was a good thing that I was still thinking straight, so I rejected him nicely.

“Although he was embarrassed and found it hard to accept, he respected my decision.

“However, to this day, I have never had a role in his films,” she told Kosmo!, adding that she believed other newcomers might have also been victimised.

She added that behind the glamour of film-making and show business, there were also a lot of backbiting and lobbying.

“If we don't know how to carry ourselves, show business can be filthy for those who are starting out,” she said.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with a >, it denotes a separate news item.

Korean prostitutes flock to Taiwan after crackdown

By Beth Main.
In the last six months the 'Korean Wave' has emerged in Taipei not only as cute hats and upbeat dance tracks but in the more sinister underbelly of society. The once Taiwanese dominated prostitution scene in Taipei has now been taken over by a wave of South Korean immigrants.
Since the 2009 suicide of 26-year-old South Korean actress Jang Ja-yeon after she was forced into prostitution, Korea has been cleaning up its act and cracking down on all forms of prostitution and pornography. This has forced sex workers out of Korea and they are now elbowing for space in Taipei.

The women enter on tour visa's and remain in Taipei for three or four weeks at a time, earning over 10,000 TWD (2,100 yuan) for every customer.
Russians used to be the most common 'foreign' prostitutes in Taiwan, so much so that getting called Russian on the streets of Taipei is close to being an insult.

Many of Taiwan's online pornography resources have also been drowned by the Korean Wave and are featuring more and more Korean actresses.

Alabama not immune to worldwide commercial sex slavery, abuse

January 10, 2013
By Kristen Padilla
Chong Kim, a Korean-American, thought she had found love. She was 18 and was excited to find a man who could potentially be the one of her dreams. But once he gained her trust, Kim’s dream became her worst nightmare.

Her nightmare began when this man, who had pretended to be her boyfriend but was actually a recruiter for sex traffickers, abducted her and took her out of state to an abandoned warehouse where she was imprisoned.

Kim was in shock and thought she had been taken to another country.

“Even I was naïve to believe that this was (not) happening on our own soil, in the U.S.,” Kim said in a podcast interview with New Hope Digital, a branch of national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU). “They would break us into submission, and by doing that we would go through tortures, beatings, being raped and sodomized not only by ourselves but also in front of the other girls. … It was a way to break us into submission. If we did not comply, then either we or someone we cared about would be harmed.”

Sex trafficking is the most lucrative form of human trafficking, boasting a $34 billion industry, which includes pornography, strip clubs, brothels and prostitution.

“Today, sex trafficking is a high-tech, globalized, electronic market, and predators are involved at all levels,” according to Prostitution Research and Education, a nonprofit organization that does research and provides information to researchers, survivors, the public and policymakers.

Approximately 12.3 million women and children worldwide are abducted, coerced or forced to serve as sex victims annually, catering to men of all walks of life. In the United States, this is becoming a growing problem as well, with anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 people trafficked in and out of the U.S. annually, according to the Polaris Project.

To bring this number home, the National Human Trafficking hotline received 106 calls from Alabama between December 2007 and October 2010, according to “Invisibility: A study of commercial sexual exploitation in Jefferson County, Alabama.”

In 2004, the U.S. Department of State released a report called Trafficking in Persons, which indicated that 600,000 to 800,000 individuals are trafficked across international borders each year. Eighty percent are women and young girls, and almost 50 percent were under the age of 18. The majority of this number was trafficked for sexual exploitation.

“Just because you’re seeing a face of a girl smiling doesn’t mean she’s really smiling. She may be a little child, and she may be even related to you and you don’t even know it,” Kim said. “She may be abducted; she may be the little girl that you saw two, three years ago on the missing report on the news or at Wal-Mart.”

The National Human Trafficking hotline number received 106 calls from Alabama between December 2007 and October 2010. In 2009 alone, there were 33 calls from Alabama and 13 of those were from Birmingham, according to the report “Invisibility: A study of commercial sexual exploitation in Jefferson County, Alabama.”

Since opening its doors on Jan. 28, 2011, The Well House, a Birmingham shelter for trafficked women, has rescued between 33 and 50 women. Six of these were from out of state, one was a foreigner and the rest were from Alabama.

“[Sex trafficking] is so prevalent and profitable because of pornography,” said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “Pornography creates the demand, which sex trafficking fills.”

In a petition on www.change.org to close the adult section on backpage.com, a pornography website, it gives three examples of sex trafficking cases that were linked to backpage.com. In 2010, a Georgia man was arrested outside the Nashville area for pimping two 17-year-old girls, engaging them in online pornography on backpage.com. Four days prior to this arrest, four people in Denver were arrested for forcing a teenage girl into prostitution, advertising her services on this site. In 2009, a South Dakota couple was arrested for selling underage girls for sex on backpage.com.

Most victims of sex trafficking are women and girls, although some are men and young boys. Victims are usually runaways or throwaway teens, teenage girls who are coerced by a boyfriend into meeting his friends who then gang rape her repeatedly, women who are given a date rape drug and raped, immigrant women and/or children and teens who disappear from neighborhoods, according to the WMU’s “Release and Restore” CD. Victims are forced into prostitution, pornography, sex acts with individuals, brothels and/or strip clubs.

“The largest misconception I see is that prostitution is a choice,” said Tajuan Lewis, founder and director of The Well House. “No woman in her right mind chooses to prostitute herself.”

And if anyone should know, it’s Lewis.

“I am a former prostitute and drug addict,” she said. “It took me 25 years to realize I was a victim.”

Lisa Thompson serves as a liaison for the Salvation Army’s Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking and has witnessed this same misconception.

“[I]n the eyes of many, victims of sexual trafficking are ‘just prostitutes,’” she said in an interview published on New Hope Digital. “In the past, such attitudes meant that many victims of sex trafficking were never identified as such.”

Those attitudes have kept many Christians in recent days at arm’s length from prostitutes and other women performing sex acts, Thompson said.

But Lewis said these are exactly the women to whom Jesus ministered during His ministry.

“Somebody told me not too long ago … ‘Have you read the Bible? … Jesus was friends with prostitutes. His great, great, great … grandmother [Tamar] was a prostitute,’” she said. “How can we turn our backs on them any longer?”