21 Feb 2003

Police in American Samoa investigate alleged prostitution ring

6:47 am on 21 February 2003

Police in American Samoa are investigating a possible prostitution ring allegedly operating at a nightclub in the village of Atu'u.

The investigation was prompted by a story in the Samoa News that quoted a former employee of the bar as saying that the owner, Willie Sang, had brought in seven girls from Samoa to to work as what the newspaper called "more than waitresses.".

The former employee said the girls were often mistreated with at least one being severely beaten for not obeying orders and all seven being poorly fed and treated like prisoners.

Willie Sang was charged with prostitution and child abuse last year when he operated another bar, but the charges were dropped and the case dismissed after the alleged victims recanted their testimonies.

Atu'u church and traditional leaders have twice petitioned the government to close down nightclubs in the area because of the social problems they cause.