Police in Germany have busted a prostitution ring that is suspected to have opened seven brothels over the past five years this past Tuesday morning. About 200 female Chinese sex workers were arrested during the raid.
According to China.com.cn, at 6 a.m. on May 5, authorities launched a simultaneous search of 14 buildings in Frankfurt, Wetteraukreis and Munich, including seven “Chinese brothels.”
The main suspect, a 35-year-old Chinese woman, and her assistants were caught red-handed during the search.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect had opened seven brothels in residential areas in Frankfurt since August 2012, employing nearly 200 women, most of them Chinese nationals. Sex workers were ordered every employee to turn over half of their earnings.
The Chinese sex workers were allegedly brought to Germany under the pretense of getting married. A number of travel agencies run by Chinese immigrants in Germany are suspected of providing the required visa documents.
To solicit business, the ring set up a website. Clients were given information on how to reach the brothels once they made their booking.
To neighbors, the brothels were an open secret. “In the evening you can see the red light,” said Hesse, a radio broadcaster who lives close to one of the establishments.
Sex work is legal in Germany, and workers pay taxes and participate in the social welfare system under the protection of labor laws.
A Frankfurt prosecutor said there were 11 Chinese women working at the raided brothels who did not have legal residence permits and the brothel operator did not register 57 of the women as employees or pay the equivalent of €580,000 (approximately $650,000) in social security premiums required by law.
The brothel operator was found to have remitted revenue back to China and will face money laundering charges, police said.
Legal experts said that if found guilty, the suspect will face a potential sentence of 15 years in jail while the sex workers will be deported back to China.
By Lucy Liu