High bail for couple accused of trafficking women for sex at Salem brothel

SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - A Beverly man and woman accused of trafficking women for sex at a Salem brothel that served as an alleged front for human trafficking and money laundering have been ordered held on $50,000 bail, Attorney General Maura Healey announced Friday.

Woonryong Heo and Hayun Nam, both 29, were arraigned Thursday in Salem District Court and pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution, and money laundering.

The couple was arrested Wednesday in Beverly after an investigation by Massachusetts State Police troopers assigned to Healey’s office.

During the course of the investigation, officials said authorities developed evidence indicating that Heo and Nam ran a “profitable and organized criminal enterprise” through a residential brothel, where they allegedly offered sexual activity between women and buyers in exchange for a fee.

The defendants are accused of recruiting women, advertising sexual services online, setting up appointments for sexual encounters, transporting the women, and in some cases bringing them to or from South Station in Boston and Flushing, New York.

If the two post bail, they will be required to remain on house arrest with GPS tracking, stay away from and have no contact with the victims, surrender their passports, and not travel out of state.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for March 14.

An investigation is ongoing.

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