Two St. Paul brothers and their uncles have been charged after law enforcement officials broke up a family-run sex-trafficking ring that operated for nearly two years, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said Wednesday.
Choi called it “an evil conspiracy” that used Backpage.com and other websites to find customers for their young sex workers, the Star Tribune reported.
Also charged was one woman, the mother of the children of one of the brothers. WCCO has a list of the accused and the charges.
The five were arrested Monday morning, KARE 11 reported. Investigators were tipped to the operation by a woman who said her 15-year-old granddaughter was targeted by men who were selling women for sex at a home in the 600 block of Hawthorne in St. Paul, KARE reported.
Authorities said that 10 victims, some as young as 15, came to officials with stories of "unimaginable horror" about the ring, local media reported.
“Most importantly, I want to thank these courageous young women and girls who shared their stories with investigators,” Choi said at a news conference Wednesday morning.
The ring operators are suspected of placing hundreds of online ads and using eight e-mail addresses, 30 phone numbers and more than 100 credit card accounts to keep the operation running, the Pioneer Press reported. The operators preyed especially on "vulnerable" young women, the newspaper reported.
One woman reported being forced to face as many as 20 tricks in a night, at times without pay. Some said they were physically and sexually assaulted by the sex-traffickers charged in the case.