The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently reported that it has arrested three individuals on charges of trafficking prostitutes to a variety of clients, including politicians and military officers. The criminal network operated brothels in the area around the nation’s capital and in Boston, catering to an affluent clientele that included elected officials, business executives, and government contractors with access to classified materials.
Acting US Attorney for Massachusetts, Joshua Levy, described the network’s clientele as representing virtually every profession. He further stated that the illegal activities of the brothel network have been ongoing since at least July 2020. However, the DOJ has finally taken action, filing charges against the accused.
The three individuals charged in the case are Han Lee, 41, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Massachusetts; and James Lee, 68, of Torrance, California. The charges against them include conspiracy to coerce and entice individuals to travel in order to engage in illegal sexual activities. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison for their involvement in the illegal operation.
The DOJ’s criminal complaint alleges that the three defendants ran high-end brothels out of luxury apartments in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts, as well as in the Washington suburbs of Fairfax and Tysons, Virginia. Levy described the commercial sex ring as having been built on a foundation of secrecy and exclusivity, aimed at catering to a wealthy and well-connected clientele.
Prosecutors claimed that the defendants enticed Asian women to travel to the brothels to engage in prostitution, offering their services through two websites that ostensibly offered nude Asian models for professional photography. Clients were required to go through a strict verification process in order to be eligible for appointment bookings, including providing personal information and references.
The DOJ has emphasized that its investigation into the sex buyers is ongoing and active. Accordingly, search warrants are being executed in Massachusetts, Virginia, and California as part of the effort to uncover the full scope of the prostitution network.
The high-end brothel network’s operation has shed light on a larger issue of commercial sex trafficking, as the network’s clients were individuals from various industries and professions. While the three defendants have been charged in connection with the operation, the DOJ’s ongoing investigation may reveal that there are potentially hundreds of individuals who engaged the services of this commercial sex ring.
The case remains a stark reminder of the prevalence of sex trafficking and exploitation, especially within affluent and powerful circles. As the investigation progresses, the DOJ will continue to work towards uncovering and bringing to justice all those involved in the illicit trafficking of individuals for commercial sex. This development serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the insidious nature of human trafficking and to underscore the importance of combating it at every level of society.