5 Dec 2009

US court overturns ruling in American Samoa sex slaves case

10:07 am on 5 December 2009

A US appeals court has overturned a federal court ruling that two victims in an American Samoa sexual slavery case should be reimbursed based on how many sex acts they were forced to perform.

Last year in Honolulu, US District Court Judge David Ezra had sentenced Mr Fu Sheng Kuo and Ms Shengji Wang to incarceration and prosecutors filed a restitution motion.

The victims in the case were two Chinese women lured from China and held against their will until they escaped in 2007.

Federal prosecutors urged the judge to order the defendants to pay restitution for the women's captivity based on what the defendants were paid by brothel customers.

Ezra calculated the average charge was US$170 per sex act and ordered one woman be paid US$8,500 and the other US$11,050 for sex.

Now the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned the restitution formula, saying the formula used is based on the federal Human Trafficking Act, but that the defendants were not convicted under this act.

The appeals court returned the restitution back to the lower court in Honolulu for recalculation.