A New Hampshire woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to running a sex trafficking operation throughout northern New England through which she and her husband persuaded more than two dozen women living in China and the U. Derong Miao and her husband, Shou Chao Li, both 39 and of Concord, who in set up a prostitution ring using rented houses and motels in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, according to court documents.
Many of the women Derong recruited to work as prostitutes came to the United States on B-2 non-immigrant visas that allow foreigners entry for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment but not to take legitimate jobs. The prosecution version of events to which Derong pleaded guilty did not say how many women worked for her as prostitutes.
The Associated Press reported at the time of her arrest that 27 women had been enticed to work as prostitutes with the promise of earning thousands of dollars. The couple rented houses on Verrill Street and Brighton Avenue in Portland and in Manchester, New Hampshire, for short periods inaccording to court documents.
Derong also moved the women working for them from motel to motel every few days. The prostitution ring advertised on internet sites, including Back.
Although some of the Chinese women who worked for Derong believed when they first arrived in the U. Many also owed debts for their travel to the U. The couple was indicted by a federal grand jury on Nov. They have been held without bail since their arrests in December The case was delayed because of its complexity, the need for Chinese translators and the coronavirus pandemic. Derong, who used half a dozen aliases, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy and four counts of transportation for purposes of prostitution.
In exchange for her pleas, the U. She also agreed not to appeal her sentence to the First U. District Court of Appeals in Boston if it is not longer than four years and nine months. She faces up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 10 years in prison on the transportation charges.
If Derong had been convicted of the sex trafficking charges, she would have faced between 15 years and life in prison. Derong entered her plea in U. District Court in Portland.
A sentencing date has not been set. Derong is expected to be deported to China after she completes her prison term. More articles from the BDN. Rhode Island man diagnosed with rare tick-borne disease.
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