Federal agents broke up a sex-slave trafficking ring along the East Coast that coerced Korean women into working as prostitutes in massage parlors and spas, some in upscale Washington neighborhoods such as Cleveland Park and Glover Park, authorities announced yesterday.
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI arrested 31 people Tuesday, including 19 in New York and four in the District. They also raided 18 businesses, including one in Baltimore and five in Washington, three of them downtown.
The charges, including conspiracy to engage in human trafficking and interstate transportation of women for the purpose of prostitution, resulted from hours of wiretapped conversations.
According to court documents, recruiters in South Korea and the United States arranged travel to the United States for Korean women interested in making money for their families.
The women were provided false immigration documents or were turned over to handlers in Canada or Mexico, who smuggled them into the country, the documents said.
The businesses raided in Washington included the OK Spa, 2428 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 14K Spa, 1; and Cleveland Park Holistic Health, 3520 Connecticut Ave. NW.