Monday, August 03, 2009

Brazil busts US casino prostitute ring - Agence France-Presse - 2nd August 2009

Nine Brazilians and three US citizens have been arrested on charges of sending at least 200 Brazilian prostitutes to Las Vegas casinos, Dominican Republic resorts and to France.

The 12 suspects were arrested on Friday as part of a six-month international operation dubbed "Harem," the head of the federal police in Sao Paulo state, Leandro Daiello Coimbra, said.

US and Dominican Republic law enforcement officials and Interpol were involved in the bust.

The nine Brazilians and one of the US citizens were arrested in Brazil, in raids in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba. The other two Americans were arrested in the United States.

The gang, based in Sao Paulo, recruited Brazilian women, many of whom already worked as prostitutes, for work abroad as luxury sex workers, officers said.

The activity generated about $US8 million ($9.7 million) a month.

Ten bank accounts suspected of receiving the funds from the women, who earned about $US40,000 ($48,500) a month, were frozen.

The 12 suspects risk up to eight years in prison for organising prostitution, deriving earnings from prostitution, human trafficking and belonging to a criminal enterprise.

Another three suspects were being sought in the Dominican Republic and in France. (Credit: Agence France-Presse)

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