Federal prosecutors in Boston on Wednesday announced three arrests tied to a “high-end brothel network” operating over the internet and in apartments in Boston and northern Virginia outside of the nation’s capitol.
The clients included politicians, lawyers, military officers, doctors, and tech and pharmaceutical executives.
“Pick a profession; they’re probably represented in this case,” acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Joshua Levy stated during a press conference. “They are the men who fueled this commercial sex ring.”
“This commercial sex ring was built on secrecy and exclusivity, catering to a wealthy and well-connected clientele,” Levy said. “And business was booming — until today.”
Prosecutors charged three people so far with conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity.
The three charged include: Han “Hana” Lee, 41, of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Junmyung Lee, 30, of Dedham, Massachusetts; and James Lee, 68, of Torrance, California.
Han Lee and Junmyung Lee are to appear in federal court in Boston today. James Lee will appear in court in Boston at a later date, Levy’s office said in a press release. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The brothel network used two websites — bostontopten10.com and browneyesgirlsva.blog. The sites advertised nude models for professional photography, according to an affidavit unsealed on Wednesday.
“The three individuals behind these websites facilitated the movement of predominantly Asian women across the United States for sex trafficking and a commercial sex ring, exploiting them in the process,” Levy stated.
The “clients” were allegedly instructed to respond to a survey and provide details online, including their driver’s license, employer information, and credit card information.
The operation was run like a private club with a required monthly fee.
Levy explained that buyers would receive a text message with a “menu” of the different services and women. One menu included in the affidavit shows rates ranging from $240 for a 30-minute “girlfriend experience” to $840 for 120 minutes of sex without a condom.
Levy said the network ran contrary to sex trafficking on the street.
“This is not that operation,” he said. “This is an operation over the internet, and with a clientele that is not going to be driving around the street necessarily for this.”
Prosecutors allege that network dates back to at least July 2020, with multiple brothels located in Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts, as well as in Fairfax and Tysons, Virginia.
According to the affidavit, there could have been hundreds of buyers using the network.
Federal investigators have identified some of the alleged customers through surveillance, phone records, and interviews, Levy said.
The buyers are neither named nor charged at this point, but Levy emphasized that the investigation is just getting started.
Authorities are executing multiple search warrants in Massachusetts, California, and Virginia.
“Today’s charges should make one thing clear: No one is above the law,” Levy said. “Doesn’t matter where you live, doesn’t matter what your job is, how much money you have, engaging in commercial sex rings … is illegal.”
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