5 charged with human trafficking at Massachusetts brothels

BOSTON (WHDH/AP) – Five people have been arrested in connection with trafficking women for sex at brothels in and around Boston.

The arrests were made Thursday in a joint operation by the FBI and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. The brothels were in Boston, Cambridge, North Reading and Quincy.

Pingxia Fan and Simon Shimao Lin, both of Boston, and Timothy Hayes, of Gloucester, were each charged with trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution, money laundering, keeping a house of ill fame and conspiracy.

Robert Mozer and Biqun Xiao, both of Deerfield, New Hampshire, were charged with conspiracy to traffic persons for sexual servitude.

Prosecuted called the prostitution ring a “sophisticated operation” with annual revenues hitting $5 million.

State prosecutors allege the defendants transported Asian women from Flushing, New York, to the various locations. In some cases, prosecutors say the victims were kept in high-end apartments containing only a mattress.

“Typically there would be 2-3 girls at one brothel at a time,” prosecutor Nancy Rothstein said. “There was no furniture there.”

The state says there are at least ten victims in the case, which remains under investigation.

The suspects were arraigned Thursday afternoon in Woburn District Court and Quincy District Court. They were granted bail.

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