And the option of sticking with sex work was the one that each of them chose, and continued to choose, every day
In Kim’s case, the plea offer came soon after her lawyer, Tom Conom, challenged the validity of testimony she gave to police after being arrested. Kim was questioned by Shearer and other authorities, along with someone identified as “FBI translator John Lim.”
According to a motion Conom filed with the King County Superior Court in March, Kim’s primary language is Korean and her understanding of English is “rudimentary” (an assertion that checks out-texts Kim exchanged with undercover detectives, later reproduced as evidence in police reports, reflect a far from fluent grasp of English). Yet during Kim’s questioning by police, the translator hardly translated anything, wrote Conom. A transcript of the interrogation makes clear that “Kim misunderstood many questions” and may not have even understood why she was under arrest.
According to the transcript, Kim’s responses during the interview were frequently unintelligible-including when she was asked if she understood her Miranda rights. And when she was asked, in English, whether she would like her rights read with translation, whether she would like to continue the questioning, or whether there was “anything about that you didn’t understand,” her reply was, “OK, yes.”
The officers proceeded with the https://hookupdate.net/escort-index/gilbert/ interrogation. Lim didn’t translate the Miranda rights or Shearer’s questions. No one sought clarification as to what Kim had intended her “OK, yes” to be a response to.
But even if the FBI’s Lim had been more helpful, Kim’s interrogation wouldn’t have passed legal muster. The law requires a neutral interpreter to be present, and the FBI was one of the partnering agencies in this investigation.
Villains, Victims, and Whores
Unfortunately, we are unable to hear directly from these anonymous women. But what we do know about them-from law enforcement, agency managers, clients, other sex workers, and online clues-suggests some ilies in Korea, some may have school or business plans they’re trying to save for, some may actively enjoy the work, some mers or other coercive individuals, some may be mired in credit-card debt, and some may simply have needed to get out of Korea and, without legal immigration status or great English skills, found prostitution their best or only option here.
“Many women choose sex work not because they love it but because it fits their needs better than other work,” noted Christina Slater, a Seattle sex worker who relied on TRB for advertising, in an April blog post. Slater said she met several K-Girls at a TRB meet-and-greet party and they “admitted to coming here with full knowledge…and free will.”
Whatever the individual motivations of the women caught up in King County’s investigation, or the degree of ambivalence they felt about prostitution, there’s nothing indicating they couldn’t have fled at any time had they wanted to. They certainly weren’t locked in their luxury apartments, forced to fork over money and passports, or prohibited from making decisions about the services they provided. If exploitation was happening, it wasn’t at the hands of Donald Mueller, Michael Durnal, or Jabong Kim.
If anything, the K-Girl agencies, “brothels,” and bookers allowed migrant sex workers to earn money in the safest and most comfortable way possible. So, too, did the systems set up by The League and The Review Board.
“The Review Board was valuable to a lot of sex workers,” said Capri Sunshine, a Seattle-area sex worker and SWOP-Seattle media coordinator, in a January statement. “It was free, undocumented workers without ID or credit cards could use it, and it was where most girls got the majority of their work. [Its closing] has a lot of negative ramifications for sex workers.”