OFW admits role in $31.5M prostitution ring in HK
A Filipino domestic worker from Antique was sentenced to 10 months in jail this afternoon (October 29) for her “minor role” in a $31.5 million online prostitution ring here in Hong Kong.
District Court Judge David Dufton convicted Jeanette V.G., a single mom who worked for her employer in Mid-Levels, after she pleaded guilty to one count of living on the earning from the proceeds of prostitution of others for almost a decade.
“The scale of the operations was very large. It spanned over nine years and profit reached $31.5 million,” Judge Dufton said in sentencing Jeanette.
The prosecution alleged that Jeanette’s employer maintained six websites that offered “sex services” involving prostituted women from Russia, Venezuela, the Philippines, Italy, and other countries who were just here in HK for a short time.
Jeanette admitted that, on the instructions of her employer, she answered calls from clients and then called an agent who arranged for the prostituted women to meet their clients in different Hong Kong hotels.
The phone numbers on the six websites were routed to three landlines in the flat of Jeanette’s employer.
Jeanette said she started calls from clients in May 2009 until the police raided her employer’s flat on May 15, 2018 and arrested her, her employer, and another domestic worker.
When she started answering calls from clients, Jeanette thought it was just a “massage service” but discovered on her second year that it involved prostitution.
Afraid that she would be terminated from her job as a domestic helper, Jeannette said she continued to work for the prostitution ring. She said she earned an extra $1,000 or $2,000 a month from her extra work and earned a total of $162,000 in the last nine years.
Beginning April 16, 2018 until the raid on the flat of Jeanette’s employer, the police conducted undercover operations to bust the prostitution ring.
Four undercover policemen contacted the prostitution ring and paid $5,000 to $7,080 for the services of prostituted women from Russia and Venezuela.
When the police raided the flat of Jeanette’s employer, they found a ledger showing these transactions.
“She asks the court for forgiveness for what she did. (Jeanette’s) role was limited to receiving phone calls from clients and passing the message to the agent. That was her role in this conspiracy,” Jeanette’s lawyer said.
Her son and daughter, who are now teenagers, and their municipal mayor, wrote Judge Dufton asking for leniency.
“Despite the distance, she never failed to guide them (her children) in their daily life,” Jeanette’s lawyer said.
Although she was sentenced to 10 months in prison, this would be shorted because Jeanette had already stayed in jail for around eight months while the case was being investigated.
Judge Dufton said the police had to go through the records of 37 bank accounts for the last nine years to determine the extent of the prostitution ring’s finances. Jeanette’s employer and fellow helper, who are insisting on their innocence, will be tried next year.