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Big Island police uncover operation to lure women into prostitution

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 7:51 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2011


Big Island police say they have uncovered a potentially illegal online effort by an organization to lure women into prostitution by advertising a career in modeling on Oahu.

Two young east Hawaii County women were coaxed to Oahu earlier this month with the promise of a lucrative modeling contract, but after a few days of being photographed around Oahu, one of them learned that the photographer and the "modeling agent" intended to take them out of the state and possibly the country, Hawaii County police said.

One woman created a ruse to escape and flew back to the Big Island. She tried to open a missing person case for the other woman and told police about the pair's intention was to traffic them into prostitution, police said.

About an hour after making contact with the woman, Big Island detectives notified Honolulu police in District 1, the area of urban Honolulu from Liliha Street to Punahou Street. The officers intercepted the second woman as she and the two people from the modeling agency were checking out of their hotel. She was escorted to Honolulu Airport and flew back to the Big Island.

Hawaii police said the case was turned over to Honolulu police who were investigating. A Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman did not immediately have information on the case.

Police said the modeling advertisement was on a website offering free classifieds.

Big Island police warned the public about responding to modeling advertisements and urged the public to be wise when conducting business over the Internet. The department also said the public should be wary of potential threats to their safety and financial well-being from online solicitations. 

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