Massage parlor owner held 66 women captive to run brothel: prosecution

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A trial opened Monday in Ho Chi Minh City tried a massage parlor owner and five others for holding 66 women in captivity, forcing them into prostitution and extorting money from them.


According to the indictment, Phan Cao Tri, 38, opened the Tan Hoang Phat Company specializing in massage services in 2005 and went on to establish four parlors in the city's Thu Duc District as well as the southern provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai.


Together with his wife Phan Thi Yen, 31, and four managers and deputy managers of his parlors, Tri had young women sign on to work for him as masseuses.


The women later were forced to meet all demands of customers, including sexual favors, while receiving a monthly salary of VND670,000 (US$34.36), prosecutors said.


They were also prohibited from going out of the parlor and constantly watched by many security guards.


Those who wanted to quit the job after working for less than six months were asked to pay VND15-30 million ($769-1,538) in compensation to Tri, according to the indictment.


After some women raised the alarm in December 2008, police rescued 66 women who Tri and his accomplices had deprived of a total of VND169 million ($8,667).


Meanwhile, at the trial, some defendants said that masseuses were also forced to work from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., and that those who tried to escape or received complaints from customers were punished through fines and/or physical beatings.


The HCMC People's Procuracy has proposed a jail term of between 11 and 13 years against Tri; and between 3-11 years for others.


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