Taoyuan District Court and Prosecutors Office in Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps
Taoyuan District Court and Prosecutors Office in Taiwan. Photo: Google Maps

A 52-year-old Taiwanese man was arrested on Sunday in Taoyuan, Taiwan, for allegedly operating brothels under the disguise of three Thai massage parlors and forcing 16 illegal runaway Indonesian women into the sex trade.

Acting on a tip-off, on October 7 officers from the Taoyuan County Specialized Team of the National Immigration Agency raided the locations near Jingfu Temple and detained seven male customers engaged in sexual services and six Taiwanese premises managers, including the alleged ringleader, the China Times reported.

The alleged ringleader, who had previously been arrested twice and fined NT600,000 for hiring illegal runaway migrants, was charged with operating a brothel and trafficking the 16 masseuses who had reportedly been forced into providing customers with unprotected sex for more than 16 hours per day.

A preliminary investigation showed the ringleader paid employment agencies NT$1,500 per head, particularly for illegal runaway Indonesian migrants as they were the most vulnerable and unlikely to seek help due to the absence of proper travel documents.

Each sex session took two hours and was priced at NT$1,600 (US$51), of which the ringleader took NT$1,000, leaving the women only NT$600. The women also had to pay rent and utilities at the premises and had to pay the managers if they wore no make-up or had disputes with their roommates.

They were not provided with condoms for protection. Police managed to recover a ledger, which indicated a monthly return up to NT$1 million. The ringleader was detained for allegedly operating a brothel and being involved in human trafficking and labor exploitation.