DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - After a sting operation at a Dallas hotel earlier this month, law enforcement freed dozens of women sold for sex, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
This week, a federal grand jury indicted Helen Kim, the alleged proprietor of the prostitution ring, on racketeering charges.
"It takes a lot of coordination to ensure an operation like this goes without a hitch. I'm proud of the way law enforcement came together to fight for these young women," said Nealy Cox. "The defendant's willingness to demean women for financial gain is sickening. We cannot and will not allow this type of behavior to go unchecked in North Texas."
More than 50 officers from the Dallas Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security Investigations participated in the November 1 undercover operation.
Agents, stationed at the hotel bar and in rooms upstairs, posed as out-of-town businessmen prepared to pay for illicit sex.
According to the indictment, Kim, 58, had agreed to provide dozens of women for that very purpose.
In earlier conversations with a confidential informant and an undercover Dallas Police Department detective, Kim and her 36-year-old son allegedly negotiated private sexual liaisons with 20 to 25 women at a rate of $2,000 each, for a total of at least $40,000. The pair promised the "girlfriend experience," and even allowed the men to meet several of the women at a local Sushi bar.
During another meeting at a nearby Starbucks, Kim allegedly accepted an upfront payment of $5,000. She insisted the men should not talk publicly about the affair.
"The way this is set up," her son told the undercover officer, "it could be considered human trafficking."
At the November 1 sting, Kim accepted the remainder of the cash, paid in marked bills, and was taken into custody shortly thereafter.
Several of the women in her employ were taken to Mosaic House, a local shelter for women fleeing human trafficking. Many had been living at her purported "spas," Pink One and Illusion, impelled to cater to customers at all times of the day and night.
If convicted, Kim faces up to five years in federal prison.
Prosecutors have seized assets from her home and massage parlors.
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