A group of Brazilian women ended up getting sold into prostitution brothels after traveling to South Korea to become K-pop stars.
The seven women, who are in their 20s and 30s, were reportedly lured by a man on social media to come to South Korea in early July. They were offered free, round-trip flights and a chance to become models or K-pop singers, CNN reports.
“(The) women were told they could be models, or that they would be supported to become K-pop singers,” a South Korean police spokesperson was quoted as saying.
According to the South Korean police, the women were forced into prostitution instead.
After having their passports confiscated, the women were locked in two houses in cities Ilsan and Paju. They were then sold to a massage parlor for 2 million won ($1,678) each.
One of the women was able to call her embassy in South Korea last month, asking to be rescued. The tip led to a police raid of a massage parlor in Ilsan, where three Brazilian women were rescued. Police rescued four more women from a house in Paju days later.
The rescued women, who appeared to be traumatized by the ordeal, were transferred to a safe house. The authorities have so far arrested five people on suspicion of arranging prostitution and trafficking women. They are still investigating the extent of the scheme, reports the Korea Times.
“We think that there could be more people involved in the operation and possibly someone above who was organizing,” the official said.
He added that it was rare to see South American victims in a sex trafficking case in South Korea.
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