Taiwan, U.S. bust cross-border prostitution ring

Taipei-Taiwan and the United States recently busted a cross-border prostitution ring and arrested three Taiwanese suspects allegedly involved in sending Taiwanese women to other countries to engage in the sex trade.

At a press conference Thursday, Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) officer Dustin Lee (???) said the bureau received information from the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) last September that a number of Taiwanese women may be involved in prostitution in the U.S.

The CIB immediately took action under the Taiwan-U.S. Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PCSC) mechanism, Lee said.

Three Taiwanese suspects were arrested in early February in Taipei as a result of the investigation, including the alleged mastermind -- a 31-year-old woman surnamed Lin (?), he said.

Investigators found a guide on U.S. airport procedures, accounting books and customer records at Lin's residence, he added.

The three allegedly used social media to recruit women, promising high salaries. They then took advantage of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to send the women to the U.S., an initial investigation showed.

Under the VWP, citizens of participating countries can travel to the U.S. for tourism and stay up to 90 days without needing to obtain a visa.

Around 50 Taiwanese women, aged between 25-35, were sent to California to engage in prostitution from January 2018 to February 2020, according to the police investigation.

The women received NT$7,000 (US$245) per transaction, the investigation showed.

The syndicate had also sent Taiwanese women to Canada and Australia, Lee said.

The three suspects were turned over to Taipei District Prosecutors Office but were freed after posting bail ranging from NT$50,000-150,000, he added.

They are likely to be charged with "offenses against sexual morality" under the Criminal Code.

Meanwhile, Vinh Nguyen, a security official at AIT, thanked all participating agencies for busting the syndicate and said he hopes the two sides can build on their existing strong foundation and deepen anti-crime cooperation.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel