Taipei, Nov. 18 (CNA) The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) busted a sex trafficking organization that forced women from Vietnam into prostitution in Taiwan, in a raid in Greater Taipei last week in which 18 suspects were arrested and 11 victims were rescued, the bureau announced Monday.
At a press briefing, Ho Ming-hsien (何明賢), a deputy chief of an investigations division at the CIB, elaborated on how the crackdown was achieved.
He said that an investigation team was formed under the Taipei District Prosecutors Office after the bureau was tipped off that members of a criminal ring were engaged in sex trafficking at rented suites in Taipei, New Taipei and Taoyuan.
During its probe, the team found that the ring was headed by a 53-year-old Taiwanese man surnamed Chen (陳), whose sons and daughter, as well as a daughter-in-law, were all members.
The group was joined by a 34-year-old Vietnamese spouse, who was in charge of luring her compatriots from low-income families in Vietnam to travel to Taiwan for work in massage parlors.
After their arrival, however, the women were forced into prostitution, Ho said, adding that the ring prevented the women from running away by seizing their passports and their earnings from sex deals, threatening them with death, and beating them up if they tried to escape.
Once it had collected sufficient evidence, the district prosecutors office launched a large-scale raid last Thursday by the CIB, investigators from the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, and police from Taipei and New Taipei, on various locations in northern Taiwan where the alleged sex trafficking was being conducted.
During the raid, a total of 18 people involved were arrested, including Chen and four members of his family, the Vietnamese broker surnamed Nguyen, and a Taiwanese man surnamed Yang (楊) who worked as an accountant, on charges of assault, issuing threats, offenses against personal liberty and violations of the Organized Crime Prevention Act, Ho said.
Police also rescued 11 forced sex workers and seized computers, guns, mobile phones and account books, he said.
Ho added that the ring, which began its illegal operations in January last year, generated earnings in excess of NT$20 million (US$655,800) from March to October this year.
The Chen family, Nguyen and Yang have been detained incommunicado, with the rest of the arrested suspects released on bail pending further investigation, Ho said.