10/01/2014 06:32 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Prostitutes Branded With Bar Codes And Treated As 'Modern-Day Slaves' By Sex Trafficking Ring

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.


"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.

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