‘Beat Her to Death’: Brutal Sex-Trafficking Ring Busted in New York

By Emily Shugerman

New York prosecutors charged nine people Tuesday in what they claim was a multi-state sex trafficking operation that coerced women into prostituting themselves for the ringleaders’ gain—and viciously beat them if they worked for someone else.

According to the indictment, the nine participants recruited women—many of them immigrants from China without legal status in the U.S.—to travel to hotels across the country to engage in prostitution, then collected the proceeds for themselves. Prosecutors also claim the participants targeted women who worked for rival prostitution services, or operated independently, by hiring men to pose as customers and violently beat the women once they were inside their rooms.

The attackers allegedly used zip ties, wrenches and hammers in assaults meant to scare the victims out of working for other organizations, according to a detention memo. In one such attack, prosecutors claim, the attackers beat a woman in Overland Park, Kansas, so viciously that she could not walk for six months. Another woman sustained a serious eye injury that resulted in long-term vision problems.

Several members allegedly gave detailed instructions to the attackers via Chinese messaging platform WeChat, telling them to be more “vicious” in subsequent attacks and “go for the legs during the beating” to prevent the women from working.

“Beat [her] to death tomorrow,” prosecutors claim a participant texted one fraudulent john. “If she dares fight back, beat her more viciously. Get some results from the beating. Can’t waste the money.”

Another member allegedly instructed an attacker to “choke her by her throat,” and “strike her four limbs to death.”

“Beat her to the point where she can’t fight back,” the member allegedly wrote.

The nine defendants—who range in age from 23 to 41, and were allegedly based in Queens—were hit with a combined 20 charges, including racketeering, sex trafficking, Hobbs Act robbery and violent assault. Eight of the nine were arrested Tuesday, in an operation that involved the FBI, New York City Police Department, and nine local law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

“Human beings are not property, and the victims in this case, regardless of their immigration status, deserve to be free from violence and coerced sexual activity,” Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a press release. “It is our hope that today’s arrests will bring them some measure of justice for the horror that they have endured.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.