Promised a luxury lifestyle, a group of girls and women were lured into a depraved sex ring that left them branded with bar codes and treated like slaves.
A San Diego street gang has been accused of operating a vast prostitution ring that spanned 46 cities in 23 states.
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"The kind of sex trafficking described in this indictment is nothing less than modern-day slavery," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy as she announced racketeering conspiracy charges for 24 people.
The indictment alleges that women and girls were recruited from city streets or social media to join the sex-trafficking ring, then had to deliver their earnings to pimps in exchange for protection, food, housing, clothing and cars.
The US attorney's office said authorities have offered assistance to 60 female victims, including 11 children.
Members would post photos and videos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter advertising a high life of jewellery, champagne and parties.
But gang members would use threats or actual violence to force women into prostitution, and often tattooed gang monikers, pimps' names and bar codes on them.
In this Jan. 19, 1931 file photo, Chicago mobster Al Capone attends a football game in Chicago. Even today, the city has somewhat embraced the notorious criminal's influence on its history. In 2011, the Chicago Department of Transportation put up Capone hotspot signs throughout the city.
This is an undated handout file photo the FBI released in Dec. 30, 1998 showing reputed Boston mobster and fugitive James J. "Whitey" Bulger. Bulger, a notorious Boston gangster on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list for his alleged role in 19 murders, was captured near Los Angeles after living on the run for 16 years, authorities said Wednesday June 22, 2011.
This undated file photo shows Catherine Greig, the longtime girlfriend of Whitey Bulger. In June 2012, she was sentenced to 8 years in prison for helping Bulger stay on the run for more than 16 years. Greig and Bulger posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and 30 weapons in their apartment when they were captured in Santa Monica, Calif.
In this Feb. 22, 2005 file photo, Henry Hill -- low-level mobster turned FBI informant -- sits in the Firefly restaurant in North Platte, Neb., with a portrait of actor Ray Liotta portraying Hill in the movie "Goodfellas" hanging on the wall behind him. Hill, whose life as a mobster and FBI informant was the basis for the Martin Scorcese film, died June 12, 2012.
A 1983 file photo shows Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr. Calabrese died at the age of 75 in Dec. 2012, at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina. Calabrese was one of several reputed mobsters convicted in 2007 in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 decade-old murders. He was blamed for 13 of them and was sentenced to life in prison. It was Chicago's biggest underworld trial in decades and it produced sensational testimony, including a description from his brother of how Calabrese preferred to strangle victims with a rope and then slash their throats to make sure they were dead.
This booking photo shows fugitive mobster Michele Zagaria. Zagaria, on the run since 1995, was arrested in 2011 when he was found by the Italian Police in an underground bunker in southern Italy. He was a leader in the Casalesi clan -- one of the Italy's bloodiest mafia clans.
The barber chair where "Murder Inc." head Albert Anastasia was killed is on display at The Mob Museum in Las Vegas. In 1957, the mob boss was shot to death by masked gunmen in a barber shop inside the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York. Anastasia was one of the founders of the American Mafia, and was boss of the modern Gambino crime family during most of the 1950s. His murder is officially unsolved, many believe that Gambino had Anastasia killed so he could take over the family.
Reputed crime boss Vincent 'The Chin' Gigante (center) died while serving a 12-year sentence imposed in 1997 after he was convicted of racketeering and conspiring to kill other mobsters. Gigante famously feigned mental illness for decades to camouflage his position as one of the nation's most influential and dangerous Mafia leaders.
This undated file photo shows Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, who pleaded not guilty to extortion and conspiracy charges in federal court in Feb., 2011. The former New England Mafia boss was then sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for his role in the shakedown of Providence strip clubs. He was 85 when he went to jail.
Italian mobster Antonio Messicati Vitale, center, is escorted by Indonesian police officers in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. The convicted Italian mobster was believed to be an up-and-coming Mafia boss near Palermo, Sicily. Vitale was captured at his luxury villa in a joint operation by Indonesian and Italian police.
Jimmy Hoffa, Teamsters president from 1957-71, was an acquaintance of mobsters and adversary to federal officials. He disappeared from a Detroit-area restaurant in 1975. The day he disappeared, he was supposed to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain. In January, 2013, Tony Zerilli, another mobster who was in prison when Hoffa disappeared, told New York TV station WNBC he was informed about Hoffa's whereabouts after his release.
This file photo shows, from left, alleged Native Mob gang members Arthur Francis Cree, William Earl Morris, and Wakinyon Wakan McArthur, right. These three alleged members of a violent American Indian gang known for terrorizing people in the Upper Midwest were convicted March 19, 2013 in what authorities called one of the largest gang cases to come out of Indian Country.