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Prostitution network allegedly served military officers, politicians

Police car lights (Viorel Margineanu/Dreamstime/TNS)
November 09, 2023

The Department of Justice (DOJ) charged three individuals Wednesday for the alleged operation of brothels in Boston and Virginia that offered prostitution services to military officers, politicians, government contractors, and others.

A press release by the DOJ stated, “Three individuals have been arrested in connection with operating sophisticated high-end brothels in greater Boston and eastern Virginia. Commercial sex buyers allegedly included elected officials, high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, military officers, government contractors that possess security clearances, professors, attorneys, scientists and accountants, among others.”

The three individuals, 43-year-old Han Lee from Cambridge, Massachusetts; 30-year-old Junmyung Lee from Dedham, Massachusetts; and 68-year-old James Lee from Torrance, California, were each charged with “conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity,” according to the DOJ press release.

According to the DOJ, the three men involved in the prostitution ring “collectively established” the necessary infrastructure to operate brothels in multiple states, which the men used to “induce and entice” women, especially Asian women, to “engage in prostitution” in Virginia and Massachusetts.

“Throughout the course of our investigation, and as detailed below, agents have identified several customers through surveillance, phone records, customer interviews and other investigative methods,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) affidavit stated.

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According to the DOJ, the prostitution operation is believed to have used and as two websites to advertise the “prostitution network.” The two websites allegedly offered potential clients “appointments” with women in Boston or eastern Virginia.

“Both websites purported to advertise nude Asian models for professional photography at upscale studios as a front for prostitution offered through appointments with women listed on their websites,” the DOJ explained. “The websites listed the height, weight and bust size of women available for appointments and depicted nude and/or semi-nude photographs of each.”

The DOJ noted that both websites allegedly included a detailed verification process for “interested sex buyers,” which included clients filling out a form with their full name, phone number, email address, employer, and reference.

According to the DOJ, the clients of the prostitution network, which included military officers and elected officials, engaged in “commercial sex” with women at high-end apartments in Watertown and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in Fairfax and Tysons, Virginia. The clients are believed to have paid anywhere from $350 to $600 for various sexual services.

The DOJ noted that the investigation concerning the involvement of “sex buyers” in the prostitution network remains “active and ongoing.” The DOJ also explained that the charge of “conspiracy to coerce and entice to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity” can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years, three years of supervised release, as well as a fine of up to $250,000.