Texas woman sentenced for role in international human trafficking operation with location in Minneapolis
A Texas woman has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for her role in an international Thai sex trafficking organization.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 41-year-old Waralee Wanless was sentenced to 144 months (12 years) in prison Wednesday.
As proven during a six week trial and conviction by a federal jury, Wanless participated in a sex trafficking organization that coerced hundreds of women from Bangkok, Thailand to engage in commercial sex acts in cities around the United States, including Minneapolis.
The trafficking victims were forced to participate in the scheme through misleading claims of a better life in the United States. Once in the United States, the victims were sent to houses for prostitution.
The victims were isolated from the outside world, and their families in Thailand were threatened, according to the release.
The release goes on to say that the organization also engaged in widespread visa fraud to facilitate the transportation of the victims and engaged in sophisticated money laundering.
During the investigation, tens of millions of dollars were traced from the organization.
In total, 36 individuals have either pleaded or been found guilty in relation to this organization, and 30 have been sentenced so far.