Stop Sex Trafficking by Ending Shell Companies

In February, Dallas police busted a ring of illicit massage parlors. Four people were arrested on charges of aggravated promotion of prostitution at three locations in Dallas, Lewisville and Commerce. While the case is ongoing, detectives reported that many of the women working at the parlors may have been victims of human trafficking.Research on illicit massage businesses suggests that the enterprises can be fronts for human trafficking. Women are recruited in their home countries under false pretenses. They borrow up to $40,000 to obtain travel documents, which they are then required to work off over time. They work 12 hours per day seven days per week, and they often live in the same locations as they work. The women, most from China, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, are rotated every couple weeks to other illicit massage businesses in the network.These illicit massage businesses trap tens of thousands of women in sex slavery. The estimated 9,000 illicit massage businesses in the U.S. take in $2.5 billion annually.These criminals can't just deposit millions of dollars in cash into their bank accounts, pay the human traffickers who bring them victims, and enjoy their money. Modern anti-money laundering systems would catch them and alert authorities. Rather, they must clean their dirty money and disguise it as licit proceeds.In the recent Dallas case, Dallas police were able to detect the laundered money, identify the owners, and arrest the alleged perpetrators. Two of the owners opened a bank account with their names on it and deposited more than $6 million of undeclared income into casino accounts to disguise the money as gambling winnings. Detectives were able to uncover this irregularity.  Continue reading...

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