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Yet almost none of it is true—and the little that is technically true is so lacking in context that it's utterly misleading.Almost everything that follows was known by detectives to their January raids and press conference, because it comes directly from court documents that they filed to establish probable cause for each defendant's arrest.
Local media reported that these men were part of a "large-scale sex trafficking operation" and offered headlines such as "Microsoft and Amazon Execs Busted for Promoting Sex Slavery." It was shocking, scandalous, horrifying.
" is what human trafficking looks like." But as more information about the case has become available, Satterberg's narrative starts to break down.
The reality—as evidenced by police reports, court documents, online records, and statements from those involved—is far less lurid and depraved.
This implies the women promoted on TRB had no control over their ads appearing there, did not want clients to review them, and generally did not want to be engaged in commercial sex.
On the contrary, the core of TRB's business model consisted of escorts posting advertisements , TRB "was really a wonderful thing that kept everyone safe. A lot of people used it as a reference system—have you seen this person and are they safe?
" Nowhere in official court documents do police allege this; at most, Mueller and Durnal are accused of exploiting Korean sex workers—a.k.a. By all accounts, these women flew to Seattle voluntarily and without chaperones, usually from other U. cities, in order to work temporarily at one of the area's booming Korean-escort agencies.
The K-Girls were, in essence, independent contractors.
And not only were many of the women who advertised on TRB openly listed as "independent," police have in their possession hundreds of emails that show the women actively managing their businesses.
For instance, the Certificate for Determination of Probable Cause against Phillip Dehennis, who was charged with "promoting prostitution"—more on that particular charge later—highlighted a string of emails between him and sex worker "Sabreena." According to Bellevue Detective Tor Kraft, Dehennis and Sabreena "agree on a 90 minute session with her to which she would throw in a neck trim (actual hair cut) at 'No charge.'" After they meet, Dehennis emails Sabreena to ask explicitly, "Would you like me to put a review on TRB? When Dehennis completes the review, he emails her again and asks her to check it for accuracy, to which Sabreena replies "thank you so much for the review! So what about the two men, Durnal and Mueller, whom KIRO 7 called sex-trafficking ringleaders who "sold women all over the country? Despite initially labeling both men "human traffickers," police present no substantial evidence in charging documents that local K-Girls were captive or unwilling.
And part three looks at how policies designed to get tough on pimps and traffickers wind up threatening the very women they're supposed to save.
The first wave of arrests came just after New Year's.
News of the bust played perfectly into the growing narrative from both activists and officials that sex trafficking—the use of force, fraud, or coercion to trap people in prostitution—is rampant in America, a pernicious form of what Barack Obama described in 2012 as "modern slavery." According to political lore, both girls-next-door and women smuggled across U. borders are at risk, their exploitation aided by online tools and the indifference of lusty patrons.