Federal Jury Convicts 5 in Thai Sex Trafficking Trial
ST. PAUL (AP)-- Five people have been convicted in an alleged ring that sold Thai women for sex in the United States.
A federal jury in Minnesota found all five guilty Wednesday of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and other charges.
The defendants are 65-year-old Michael Morris of Seal Beach, California; 46-year-old Pawinee Unpradit of Dallas; 44-year-old Saowapha Thinram of Hutto, Texas; 35-year-old Thoucharin Ruttanamongkongul of Chicago; and 39-year-old Waralee Wanless, of Colony, Texas.
Prosecutors alleged the defendants, along with 34 co-conspirators, ran a sex trafficking operation that lasted more than a decade.
Government attorneys called it a case of "modern-day sex slavery," with Thai women forced to have sex with multiple men daily to pay off "bondage debts" owed to traffickers for help coming to the U.S.
Defense attorneys contended the women were willful participants.