Chinese Man Sentenced To 19 Years For Sex Trafficking Into CNMI

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Man lured three women from China with false promised of jobs

By Ferdie De La Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, March 19, 2015) – A man who lured women from China to come to Saipan on false promises of jobs and then forced them into prostitution once they got here was sentenced Tuesday to 19 and a half years in prison.

Wei Lin, who was convicted of sex trafficking, was sentenced in federal court to 235 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release.

Lin, 32, a Chinese national, was given credit for time served.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona also ordered Lin to pay $7,172.39 in restitution to each of his three victims—a total of $21,517.17.

The restitution awarded to each of the three victims pertains to $1,750 for airfare, $4,000 cash collected, and $1,422.39 salary.

Manglona said there was clear and convincing evidence that Lin was the leader of the sex trafficking organization.

U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the NMI Alicia A.G. Limtiaco said in a statement yesterday that those who traffic women will find no refuge from law enforcement.

"We will aggressively prosecute anyone who tries to profit off the sexual exploitation of women," she said.

Limtiaco said human trafficking is a modern from of slavery and the sentence imposed on Lin reflects the seriousness of this heinous crime.

"It also sends a clear message that trafficking in persons will not be tolerated in the CNMI," she said.

At the sentencing, assistant U.S. attorney Garth R. Backe recommended 235 to 293 months, or roughly 20-25 years in prison.

The U.S. Probation Office recommended a life sentence.

Defense counsel Bruce Berline recommended a sentence of 60 months in prison with credit for time served with appropriate terms and conditions.

Berline said the sentences recommended by the U.S. Probation Office and the U.S. government were extremely severe punishments, on par with those handed for very serious offenses such as murder, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, aircraft hijacking, and offenses relating to weapons of mass destruction.

A superseding indictment charged Lin and co-defendant Yanchun Li with a count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and to benefit financially from a sex trafficking venture; three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion; and one count of financially benefitting from a sex trafficking venture.

In June 2012, Lin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and to benefit financially from a sex trafficking venture.

Li also pleaded guilty and was sentenced in February 2013 to 60 months in prison.

According to the indictment, Rosen Music Studio was a karaoke bar in Chalan Laulau that also provided sexual services for an added fee. Most, if not all, of the commercial sexual acts were performed outside the karaoke bar.

In exchange for a portion of the proceeds, Lin provided Rosen Music Studio with women to perform the sexual services.

Sex acts performed by these women generally took place in an apartment procured by Lin.

Lin paid co-defendant Li to, among other things, transport the women back and forth from the Rosen Music Studio to the Hong Apartment, and in some cases, to and from hotels.

The three Chinese women victims traveled to the CNMI in 2010 based upon Lin’s promises such as jobs at a new hotel that Lin was purportedly opening on Saipan.

The defendants collected from each of the three victims over $4,000, took their passports, and told them they would likely be killed by criminals if they go outside.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case with the assistance of the Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations.

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