Prosecutors yesterday indicted 15 people suspected of involvement in a Taipei prostitution ring that allegedly trafficked sex workers to Taiwan from Eastern Europe and China.
Law enforcement agencies targeted the ring in December 2015, and yesterday announced the indictment after an investigation that spanned more than a year.
One of the defendants, Cheng Tsung-te (程崇德), 80, allegedly passed the business to a woman named Ku Chiao-feng (顧巧鳳), 57.
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office indicted the two in terms of the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪).
“Members of an international trafficking ring headed by a Taiwanese man, Wang Ming-hui (王明輝), were also indicted in connection with this case,” Taipei Deputy Chief Prosecutor Chang Chieh-chin (張介欽) said.
Wang worked with other trafficking networks in China, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia to bring sex workers to Taiwan by producing forged documents for the women to enter the nation as tourists, wives or caregivers, investigators said.
Members of Wang’s operation were charged with contravening the Human Trafficking Prevention Act (人口販運防制法) and other offenses under the Criminal Code.
Media reports said the alleged prostitution ring was profitable and known for attracting lots of clients by offering more than 100 sex workers daily.
Ku allegedly advertised two big “stars” working for her, a blonde Ukrainian woman called Jabe and a long-haired woman from China known as Sunny Day.
Investigators said that Wang helped Jabe obtain a tourist visa, while Sunny Day entered Taiwan on a 15-day independent traveler visa available to Chinese nationals.
Ku was allegedly in charge of daily business operations, which involved leasing offices in Taipei, establishing a call center to take clients’ orders and dispatching drivers to deliver sex workers to different locations, investigators said.
Cheng mostly worked in the background, but allegedly handled the money and accounts, prosecutors said, adding that the two made more than NT$20 million (US$657,895 at the current exchange rate) over the past decade.
The National Immigration Agency also assisted on the case, since some women were migrant workers from Southeast Asia contracted to work as home caregivers, but had been recruited into the sex trade after quitting.
The prostitution ring allegedly exploited the women, in one case paying an Indonesian woman NT$700 for a job that cost her client NT$7,000, she said in an interview with the agency.