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U.S. Busts Ring That Forced Russian Women Into Strip Clubs

U.S. authorities say they have broken up a Mafia-related operation that lured women from Russia and other Eastern European countries and forced them to work as dancers at New York City strip clubs.

Authorities said 20 men were charged on November 30 in connection with the bust, including seven purported members of organized crime groups.

U.S. prosecutors said members of the Gambino and Bonnano organized crime families were among those detained.

Prosecutors say the arrests are aimed at shutting down an operation that recruited women in Russia and other European countries and arranged for many of them to enter into sham marriages with U.S. citizens so they could stay in America and work as exotic dancers at adult entertainment clubs.

U.S. Homeland Security Department official James Hayes said the arrests "bring to an end a long-standing criminal enterprise operated by colluding organized crime entities that profited wildly through a combination of extortion and fraud."

He said the defendants used intimidation and threats of physical and economic harm to implement their scheme.

compiled from agency reports