Local News

Fayetteville pair charged with human trafficking

Posted November 18, 2010

— Federal authorities have charged two Fayetteville residents as part of an international investigation into human trafficking.

FBI agents and U.S. marshals arrested Seok Wo Cho, 58, and Hye Kyung "Tae Hee" Chon, 44, on Wednesday morning outside DaVinci Internet Cafe, at 5548 Yadkin Road. Cho owns the business, which allows people to play sweepstakes games online and provides other services like sending faxes.

"This network operated behind the facade of businesses represented as legal enterprises, but their cover has been blown," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice Fedarcyk said in a statement.

The Fayetteville arrests are part of a federal investigation based in New York City, dubbed "Operation Seoulmate" that charged 21 people with transporting prostitutes between several states in the Northeast, North Carolina, California and Texas.

"Trafficking in human flesh and sexually exploiting women for financial gain is all too common and simply will not be tolerated," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

DaVinci Internet Cafe Feds says businesses were fronts for prostitution ring

Cho and Chon are charged with conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking and violations of the Mann Act, a federal law prohibiting the transportation of women across state lines for immoral purposes. Cho also faces money laundering charges.

A federal indictment states that they arranged to bring prostitutes to North Carolina and Georgia from New York and Korea. They spoke many times with others charged in the case about the prostitution business and how many clients they had, according to the indictment.

The indictment also states that Cho tried to send $25,000 in drug profits to Korea.

Cho and Chon were scheduled to make their first court appearance Friday morning in Raleigh.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • shortcake53 Nov 19, 2010

    wow, Youcanthandlethetruth, sounds like I hit a nerve!! Maybe you have something to worry about, I can make any conclusions I so choose. Your name says a lot about you.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Nov 19, 2010

    NEMOSTY & Serious, I'm talking about prostitution between "consenting adults". I totally agree with you guys about human trafficking...but we are not sure yet what the deal is with these people...it is only alleged.

  • YoucanthandletheTRUTH Nov 19, 2010

    Maybe some of us work in law enforcement or legal offices. Maybe some of us have had this happen to our only family members. Maybe some of us volunteer for organizations tracking down these criminals and seeking justice for the victims. How about you think of things like that before you open your mouth about "folks around here"! You have a lot of nerve jumping to conclusions like that!

  • UPTOP Nov 18, 2010

    Someone is paying for the service, how else would they be making money !!!!

  • shortcake53 Nov 18, 2010

    Seems to be a lot of folks around here very familiar with sexual slavery and such. Maybe some of these names should be investigated as well..................

  • giftsjubilee Nov 18, 2010

    blasernj and others.... see www.love146.org regarding sex trafficking and modern day slavery. Unfortunately USA has an appetite for this. Its not always your commonly known pimps. Live in workers, house keepers and such are commonly used as slaves. Yes, in the states runaways are easy targets and people hooked on drugs sell their children but SouthEast Asia it is most prevelant.

  • ghimmy51 Nov 18, 2010

    Seankelly15 just pulled your legs completely off.

  • shortcake53 Nov 18, 2010

    djofraleigh,exactly my point. Thank you.

  • abswitala Nov 18, 2010

    Places with a military base are known as hot spots for human trafficking world-wide. We should keep an eye on Fayetteville. I bet there is a bigger problem there than we realize. The FBI should keep digging.

  • blasernj Nov 18, 2010

    The thing that some of you call "prostitution" can be many things. There are the few who happily make a living selling their body. This is the small minority though. There are also the teens who have been tricked or psychologically torn apart and driven into it. Pimps will feed on runaways and abused teens and forcibly get them addicted to hard drugs and then they are bound to prostitution to get their fix. There is also the extreme case of girls who are actually kidnapped, usually from different countries, and then forced with the threat of violence to sell themselves for the profit of pimps. And yes, seankelly15, all types are prevalent here in NC, but in my opinion the second type is the most prevalent.