this was going on right around the corner from me. i walk pass this place to get Italian food. i never knew a thing until the feds showed up one day with the swat team. Freed from a nightmare 70 Asian sex slaves rescued in brothel bust By DAVID GAMBACORTA [email protected] 215-854-5994 THE CALLOWHILL Relaxation Center needed a girl with big breasts. No problem. The supplier had such a girl in mind and would deliver her to the center on Ridge Avenue above Callowhill Street in Philadelphia. The conversation last February was caught by a wiretap as part of a 15-month federal investigation into a sprawling syndicate that operated a chain of brothels from Rhode Island to North Carolina, enslaving women who paid thousands of dollars to come to the United States from Korea to seek opportunity but who wound up in a nightmare. The federal crackdown closed dozens of brothels up and down the East Coast that operated under the guise of legitimate businesses, netted 31 arrests and freed more than 70 sex slaves. Among the businesses closed were the Callowhill Relaxation Center and an operation called "Smile" on N. West End Boulevard in Quakertown. Another Pennsylvania location shuttered was "Good Natural," in York, next to the Briarwood Golf Club. The probe and arrests were announced Wednesday in New York by officials of the U.S attorney's office, Homeland Security and the FBI. Those arrested included brothel owners and managers, middlemen who worked as transporters and otherwise assisted the organization, and individuals involved in transmitting unlicensed money, or money launderers, officials said. The businesses pretended to be massage parlors, health spas and acupuncture clinics. According to transcripts, investigators recorded calls to suppliers made by Myong "Debbie" Moon, 46, and Jung Lim, known as "Big Sister Miko," from the Callowhill Relaxation Center. On Feb. 22, Debbie called the supplier and said she needed a girl with large breasts, and the supplier said he had such a girl in mind and would deliver her later that week, according to transcripts. Debbie later told the supplier that the girl was "working out very well." On or about Feb. 18, Big Sister Miko called the supplier to complain that one girl delivered to the center "was good, but the other not as good." The supplier agreed to take the girl who was not so good to another location. The extent of the local operation was disclosed in another conversation in which Big Sister said she had about 50 customers on weekdays and 60 on weekends, most of whom made appointments. Among those arrested was Eun Ja Park, 38, said to be a manager of the Quakertown location. At the news conference, Michael J. Garcia, U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York, said raids on the locations "show that this exploitation is not a back-alley business. "Human traffickers profit by turning dreams into nightmares," Garcia said. "These women sought a better life in America and found instead forced prostitution and misery." The syndicate held the girls as sex slaves by forcing them to work off tens of thousands of dollars of debt they had accrued for phony documents and transportation to the U.S., the feds said. Investigators said recruiters in Korea sought out women who wanted to make money to support their families. The recruiters took care of everything, supplying fake immigration documents, passports and visas, and transporting the women to the U.S. A network of transporters drove them to brothels along the East Coast. They were stripped of their identification and phony passports, thus cutting off any chance that they could flee the country. Besides, if they thought about running, the women were warned that they could be handed over to the police - or, worse yet, that their families in Korea could be killed. The probe began in May 2005, when a Korean couple who owned and operated a chain of brothels in Queens tried to bribe an undercover New York police detective. They offered him at least $125,000 to look the other way, investigators said. The couple was arrested in March along with two police officers who the feds say took the bribes. They will be tried separately on public-corruption charges. These arrests led investigators to tap the phone of one Tae Hoon Kim, also known as Tae Won, of Flushing, an alleged middleman and transporter. It was then that the feds realized they had a multi-state operation on their hands. The Callowhill Relaxation Center looks like any other abandoned factory building from a bygone era. More of a compound than a mere building, the center sits on Ridge Avenue and Hamilton Street, near 11th, wearing a suit of rust as it wastes away. Drug dealers and other degenerates disappear into a foul-smelling alley behind the building to conduct their trade. Passers-by can peek into a fenced-off area behind the center and spot pieces of rotted wood and packed trashbags. "This law-enforcement operation successfully shut down an organization that cashed in human dignity for profit and greed," said Julie L. Myers, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.