Asian Prostitution Ring Busted by Feds

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BOSTON, Mass. -- Five people, two in New York and three in Massachusetts, were arrested by federal authorities on March 31 on 14 charges, including sex trafficking and interstate travel in aid of racketeering, according to the indictment and a public statement the Sampan obtained from the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, District of M.A.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which joined forces with other federal authorities and local police officers, including the Boston, Quincy and Burlington police departments. The operation led to the arrests of Hong Wei, also known as “Ms. Chen,” 37, and Xiang Hua Zhang, a.k.a “Darren,”both of Flushing, N.Y., and three men from M.A.— Jing Liang Chen, a.k.a “Mike,” 30, Yu En Jin, a.k.a. “Eric,” 26, and Dong Kai Chen, 41.

According to the indictment, from August of 2004 through February of 2010, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to entice Asian women to travel to Massachusetts for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. The conspiracy involved the use of advertisements in various print publications and online classified sites such as Craigslist and the Boston Phoenix, seeking the services of Asian women to work in the defendants’ brothels.

The women, who generally arrived at the South Station Bus Terminal in Boston, were transported by the defendants to various apartments where they reportedly engaged in prostitution. The apartments were located in Boston, Quincy, Stoneham, Wellesley, Newton, Woburn, Malden, Peabody, Somerville, Burlington, Watertown and Medford. Sampan reports that some of the women were not in the United States legally when they were harbored in the brothels, and some were forced to work in the brothels.