, Sigurds Zitars, a retired accountant, was the only family member left in University Place, Washington.
Since 2006 "Sig" had been the clan's caregiver, after his mother developed dementia and his father and sister both took ill.
However, the picture that emerges from these documents bears little resemblance to the dramatic and dystopian tale that police publicly spun.
Begin with police's claim that The Review Board was a "sex trafficking website" where "prostituted women" were advertised and reviewed.
Instead of a story of stark abuse and exploitation, it's a story of immigration, economics, the pull of companionship and connection, the structures and dynamism that drive black markets, and a criminal-justice system all too eager to declare women victims of the choices they make. The first offers a glimpse at how this sexual economy actually operated, the motivations of its main actors, and how police came to "infiltrate" the scene.
Part two explores how the government's war on prostitution—rebranded as a war on sex trafficking—brands innocent men as sexual predators and sets dangerous new standards of disrespect for free speech and free association rights.
—for both sex workers and clients." That TRB worked as an advertising and review system designed to benefit both sex workers and their clients is not something detectives could have merely misunderstood.
King County Detective Luke Hillman had been posting undercover on TRB for years—interacting with many defendants in this case—before any arrests were made.
S." A Bellevue paper claimed the Korean women were "required to work off their family's debts through sexual service." reported that police had thwarted "a widespread prostitution ring run by a group of men known as 'The League.'" Local news network KIRO 7 named photographer Michael Durnal and ex-marijuana entrepreneur Donald Mueller as the ringleaders, men who "sold women all over" America.
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.
A website where deviant men promoted and reviewed these enslaved women.
"Because they had money," said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg at a televised press conference, these men "gained access to sexually abuse these vulnerable young women, then put their energies toward a campaign to encourage many more men to do the same." "The systematic importation of vulnerable young women for sexual abuse, exploitation, and criminal profiteering has been going on for years and it came to a stop this week," Satterberg added.