The Blue House case brought a brothel owner and three police officers to court, but two people in Chuuk who allegedly recruited for the brothel have never been arrested.
Until recently, the Federated States of Micronesia government didn’t have the legal infrastructure to prosecute human trafficking crimes like these, an FSM government spokesman said.
At least six Blue House victims have alleged they were lured to the Guam brothel by one of two people — identified as only a man named “Serco” and a woman named “Sainin” — according to testimony transcripts filed in federal court.
The recruiters allegedly promised the victims a job in a store or restaurant, but when they came to Guam they instead found the Blue House lounge, the transcripts state. The promise of a high-paying job was the bait that drew the women to the brothel, where they were forced into prostitution.
“The first time I heard about the job, I was kind of excited and happy to come to Guam and work and support my family,” said one Blue House victim, according to testimony transcripts filed at the District Court of Guam.
Once they were at the Blue House, brothel owner Song Ja Cha used physical violence, withholding food and the threat of arrest to control her victims. The Tamuning brothel was open from 2004 to 2008, and at least nine women were forced into prostitution there.
Cha was tried in the District Court of Guam in 2011, and another trial is expected in the Superior Court of Guam in the coming months. Three Guam police officers are co-defendants in the Superior Court case.
During the 2011 trial, U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney Jared Fishman said the Blue House preyed specifically on poor, uneducated Chuukese immigrants, who were susceptible to the false promise of a good job in Guam. Many of the victims testified during the trial, and their testimony is included in transcripts that were filed in the federal court a week ago.
Although multiple victims testified about “Serco” and “Sainin,” details about the alleged recruiters are limited. No last name for either person was provided in testimony.
“Serco” is the father of “Sainin.” He also is directly related to at least two of the Blue House victims, whom he allegedly helped recruit to work at the brothel, according to the transcripts.
All of the victims who alleged they were recruited by “Serco” or “Sainin” said they were promised a job in a restaurant or a store. Several of the victims testified that “Serco” was a “friend of Mamasan,” which was what the Blue House workers called Cha.
Although the allegations against “Serco” and “Sainin” are detailed in court documents, neither of them has been apprehended or prosecuted in Chuuk.
Marcellus Akapito, a spokesman for the Federated States of Micronesia president’s office, confirmed that neither of the recruiters has been arrested and that there is no open case as a result of their alleged actions.
“I am not aware of any ongoing investigation or a pending one by the FSM Department of Justice; I doubt that one has ever been conducted,” Akapito wrote in an email.
“The FSM has only (gotten) around to putting in place its trafficking in person legislation in March 2012.”
In March, the FSM Legislature adopted Public Law 17-38, which created the crimes of human trafficking, human smuggling and travel or identity document fraud. If those crimes had existed in 2008, when the Blue House case was uncovered, they could have potentially been used to prosecute the alleged recruiters.
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