28 Aug 2006

Hearing in Marshall Islands over prostitution charges

2:10 pm on 28 August 2006

A hearing is to be held in the Marshall Islands this week to determine whether a Chinese national should stand trial after being charged with promoting prostitution.

Xu Xin is alleged to have forced her employees at the Mega Star restaurant and bar in Majuro, to have sex with customers, many of them from the crews of visiting fishing vessels.

Five women, who arrived in the Marshall Islands from China late last year to work for Xu Xin, say they were promised money but did not get it and were then forced into prostitution by her.

The five are facing deportation charges and our correspondent, Giff Johnson, says Xu Xin could be looking at a jail sentence if convicted.

"The maximum penalties in the Marshall Islands, on this particular charge of promoting prostitution is, for each charge, is two years in jail and a five thousand [U.S.] dollar fine so there are eleven charges pending relating to the prostitution charge."

Giff Johnson.