14 Nov 2003

American Samoa sex trade trail ends with plea arrangement

4:47 pm on 14 November 2003

American Samoa's first prostitution trial has ended after all parties agreed to a plea arrangement.

The two main defendants were alleged to have forced young women from Samoa to have sex with male customers in a Pago Pago bar amid threats of deportation if they failed to obey.

A charge against two other defendants was dropped and they were freed.

Monica Miller reports.

"The main defendants, Chinese businessman Wei Lei Fang and his Western Samoan wife Luapene Sanerivi have pled guilty to reduced counts of promoting prostitution in the second degree and misdemeanor assault charges. This will lower their jail terms considerably. The couple were initially charged with nine counts each of promoting prostitution first degree and a count each of felony assault. Each of the prostitution charges carried a jail term of 5 to 15 years while felony assault carried a sentence of at least 5 years and or a fine of 5 thousand dollars. The couple will be sentenced December 5th."