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World - Asia/Pacific

Three in Guam charged with forcing Chinese women into sex slavery

November 18, 1998
Web posted at: 4:12 a.m. EST (0912 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Three people are in federal custody in Guam after they were arrested overnight for allegedly luring women from China to Saipan in the Mariana Islands and forcing them into slavery and prostitution.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. government because the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands is a U.S. territory.

The women were promised restaurant jobs, but when they arrived from China at their own expense they were held captive and forced to work as prostitutes, investigators said.

The three arrested are charged with violating federal civil rights and sexual exploitation laws.

The Justice Department said the charges are the first to result from the Worker Exploitation Task Force established by Attorney General Janet Reno in April.

The inter-agency task force was set up to combat the growing problem of modern-day slavery and worker exploitation in the U.S. and its territories.

Over the past three years federal authorities have brought 10 cases of involuntary servitude involving more than 150 victims.

This case is the fifth this year involving an arrest for international trafficking for human exploitation in the Commonwealth.

From CNN's Terry Frieden at the Justice Department

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