ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PRESS RELEASE
Case # 14HF2309
January 11, 2016
*Two co-defendants in this case are scheduled for pre-trial
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A man was sentenced Friday to six years in state prison for pimping multiple victims while operating multiple brothels in Southern California including a high-end, residential brothel in Irvine. Gin Woo Park, 44, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty Jan. 8, 2015, to five felony counts of pimping.
Co-defendant Heung Soon Kim, 57, Los Angeles, is charged with two felony counts of human trafficking, 13 felony counts of pimping, and 13 felony counts of pandering. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 40 years and eight months in state prison. He is out of custody on $750,000 on bail.
Co-defendant Miyoun Kim, 38, Newport Beach, is charged with six felony counts of pimping and six felony counts of pandering. If convicted. Miyoun Kim faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison. She is out of custody on $250,000 bail. Heung Kim and Miyoun Kim are both scheduled for pre-trial on Feb. 11, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-7, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
Circumstances of the Case
Park was convicted and Heung Kim and Miyoun Kim are accused of the following:
Heung Kim is accused of funding Park with money to operate multiple brothels in Southern California. Park operated multiple brothels and had several women who worked for him as sex workers.
Between December 2013, and Aug. 21, 2014, Park and Miyoun Kim are accused of pimping and pandering the women in the brothels by having the victims perform commercial sex acts for their benefit. On Dec. 1, 2013, Park and Miyoun Kim are accused of signing a lease for an apartment in Irvine, which the defendants are accused of turning into a residential brothel. They are accused of inducing several female victims to engage in commercial sex in exchange for money.
The Irvine Police Department (IPD) investigated this case and on Aug. 21, 2014, undercover officers from IPD contacted the brothel and arrested the defendants with investigative assistance from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF).
Members of the OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. IPD has since become a member of OCHTTF which is a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.
Deputy District Attorney Bradley Schoenleben of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.
Proposition 35 and HEAT
In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.
A component of the OCHTTF is the OCDA’s Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers. The HEAT Unit uses a tactical plan called PERP: Prosecution, to bring justice for victims of human trafficking and hold perpetrators responsible using Prop 35; Education, to provide law enforcement training to properly handle human trafficking and pandering cases; Resources from public-private partnerships to raise public awareness about human trafficking and provide assistance to the victims; and Publicity, to inform the public and send a message to human traffickers that this crime cannot be perpetrated without suffering severe consequences.
Under the law, human trafficking is described as depriving or violating the personal liberty of another person with the intent to effect a violation of pimping or pandering. Pimping is described as knowingly deriving financial support in whole or in part from the proceeds of prostitution. Pandering is the act of persuading or procuring an individual to become a prostitute, or procuring and/or arranging for a person work in a house of prostitution.
Penal Code Section 236.1 defines:
(1) “Coercion” includes any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process; debt bondage; or providing and facilitating the possession of any controlled substance to a person with the intent to impair the person’s judgment.
(2) “Commercial sex act” means sexual conduct on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.
(3) “Deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another” includes substantial and sustained restriction of another’s liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out.
(4) “Duress” includes a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to cause a reasonable person to acquiesce in or perform an act which he or she would otherwise not have submitted to or performed; a direct or implied threat to destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim; or knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim.
(5) “Forced labor or services” means labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, duress, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person.
(6) “Great bodily injury” means a significant or substantial physical injury.
(7) “Minor” means a person less than 18 years of age.
(8) “Serious harm” includes any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing labor, services, or commercial sexual acts in order to avoid incurring that harm.
(i) The total circumstances, including the age of the victim, the relationship between the victim and the trafficker or agents of the trafficker, and any handicap or disability of the victim, shall be factors to consider in determining the presence of “deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another,” “duress,” and “coercion” as described in this section.