" Nowhere in official court documents do police allege this; at most, Mueller and Durnal are accused of exploiting Korean sex workers—a.k.a. By all accounts, these women flew to Seattle voluntarily and without chaperones, usually from other U. cities, in order to work temporarily at one of the area's booming Korean-escort agencies.The K-Girls were, in essence, independent contractors.The team also seized three websites: The Review Board (TRB), a web forum where Seattle sex workers and clients communicated; KGirls Delights.com, a directory of Korean sex-workers and escort-agencies in America; and The Loeg.com, a private site for local prostitution story-swapping.
That article, syndicated widely, said Korean women were "shipped from city to city about every month and typically not allowed to leave their apartments except to go to the airport." reported that the women were being "brought to America and forced into prostitution to pay debts" by a "major human trafficking ring." Reuters reported that victims were "forced to work as much as 14 hours per day." Police, meanwhile, continued to expand the reach of the case.
In early May, five months after the first arrests, six more men were added to the complaint against alleged League members.
Prosecutor Dan Satterberg described the situation as one of extreme coercion and criminality, calling the 12 Asian women recovered in the operation "true victims of human trafficking." News of the bust soon spread in sensational newscasts and lurid headlines. K.'s summed the story up like this: "Police smash prostitution ring and rescue 12 South Korean women forced into $300-an-hour prostitution by ex marijuana grower who pimped them out across the U.
S." A Bellevue paper claimed the Korean women were "required to work off their family's debts through sexual service." reported that police had thwarted "a widespread prostitution ring run by a group of men known as 'The League.'" Local news network KIRO 7 named photographer Michael Durnal and ex-marijuana entrepreneur Donald Mueller as the ringleaders, men who "sold women all over" America.
And part three looks at how policies designed to get tough on pimps and traffickers wind up threatening the very women they're supposed to save.