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Taiwan, US break up international prostitution ring

CIB found information during raid on chief suspect's home in Taipei City's Wanhua District

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The CIB found a trove of information about the prostitution ring at the alleged mastermind's home in Taipei 

The CIB found a trove of information about the prostitution ring at the alleged mastermind's home in Taipei  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) acted on information supplied by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to arrest a woman who used the benefits of a visa waiver to send Taiwanese women to work as prostitutes in the United States, reports said Thursday (Feb. 18).

About 50 Taiwanese women aged between 25 and 35 traveled mainly to California between January 2018 and February 2020 to sell their bodies, CNA reported.

The scheme was masterminded by a woman named Lin (林), 31, who posted recruitment ads on social media promising high wages of up to NT$7,000 (US$250) per session for work as “companions.” The women entered the U.S. by using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) under the country’s visa waiver program, the CIB said.

In September, the AIT told the Taiwanese authorities that there was a possibility several female Taiwanese visitors had been involved in illegal activities, leading the CIB to launch an investigation.

Agents raided Lin’s home in Taipei City’s Wanhua District in February and found notes with information about how to pass through U.S. immigration and details of clients. Lin and two other suspects had reportedly expanded their activities to include Canada and Australia. They were released on bail ranging between NT$50,000 and NT$150,000 while awaiting trial.

At Thursday’s news conference announcing the case, AIT security investigation official Vinh Nguyen described the breakthrough as an example of the partnership between Taiwanese and U.S. law enforcement agencies.