A Seal Beach man was convicted in a sex-trafficking scheme involving hundreds of women from Thailand, who federal prosecutors say were coerced into lives of prostitution, authorities said Thursday.
Michael Morris, 65, was convicted Wednesday of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, sex trafficking by use of force, fraud and coercion, conspiracy to commit transportation to engage in prostitution, conspiracy to engage in money laundering and conspiracy to use a communication facility to promote prostitution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Four other defendants were also convicted in the six-week trial in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Prosecutors say hundreds of women from Bangkok were lured to the United States to work in brothels across the country. The women were poor and spoke no or a scant amount of English and they were misled with promises of a happier life in the United States as well as a livelihood to provide money for their families in Thailand.
But they were forced to work long hours as prostitutes and their families were threatened to keep them from leaving, prosecutors said. The defendants also were involved in visa fraud to get the women into the country, including sham marriages.
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