Published On: Sun, Dec 16th, 2018

Minnesota: Five convicted for sex trafficking women from Thailand, placing then across America

The Justice Department announced Thursday that five people have been convicted by a federal jury in St. Paul, Minn., for involvement in an international sex trafficking ring. This sex trafficking organization transported women from Bangkok, Thailand to big U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, and Houston.


“The defendants convicted yesterday participated in a massive yet brutally efficient criminal enterprise that trafficked hundreds of vulnerable Thai women for sexual exploitation and used sophisticated money laundering techniques to conceal and sustain itself,” Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s criminal division said in a statement.

Those convicted Wednesday were Michael Morris, 65, of Seal Beach, Calif.; Pawinee Unpradit, 46, of Dallas, Texas; Saowapha Thinram, 44, of Hutto, Texas; Thoucharin Ruttanamongkongul, 35, of Chicago, Ill.; and Waralee Wanless, 39, of The Colony, Texas.

The sex trafficking organization targeted women who were often from devastatingly poor backgrounds and deceived them into thinking they would have a better life in the U.S.

Once at the prostitution houses, the women were not permitted to leave unless a member of the organization was with them.

The women were ordered to have sex with strangers for up to 12 hours per day, with as many as 10 different men.

Traffickers also participated in money laundering and visa fraud to hide their profits, and to help victims obtain counterfeit visas. The information traffickers received about the victims and their families was then used to intimidate victims from leaving the organization.

Thirty-one individuals were also convicted in relation to the sex trafficking group.

“The cruel and illegal actions of the defendants tear at the fabric of our community, causing trauma, fear and anguish both seen and unseen,” said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. “Thankfully, due to the exceptional work of many law enforcement agencies and their representatives, the guilty will be held accountable for their actions and survivors will get help, support and justice.”


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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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