A Chicago woman who admits she was a call-girl is denying any larger role in an international sex trafficking ring that saw hundreds of women shipped from Thailand and sold “like cattle.”
Thoucharin Ruttanamongkongul, 35, of Chicago, was convicted last month in St. Paul, Minnesota, following a federal investigation code-named Operation Bangkok Dark Nights.
Ruttanamongkongul, aka Noiy, was one of five people found guilty by a federal jury and among 39 originally swept up in the sex trafficking investigation. There were eight other defendants from Illinois charged in the original case.
The ring had operated for more than a decade, according to investigators, staffing sex houses in Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and numerous other U.S. cities.
Investigators said Thai women were imported to work long hours having sex with numerous men each day to pay off “bondage debts” they owed their traffickers for help coming to America.
They said the defendants fraudulently obtain visas for hundreds of women and lied to them about the size of their debts, often totaling more than $40,000 to $60,000.
U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald in Minnesota said foreign-born women from Thailand were preyed-upon by commercial sex recruiters and “sold like cattle.”
MacDonald called this one of the largest “modern-day slavery” cases ever. The women were advertised on websites that cater to prostitution customers.
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