Toronto police raid brothels

About two dozen women and nine men were arrested Wednesday night in raids on several Toronto-area brothels. Police say the women, mainly from Thailand, were in Canada illegally, part of an extensive organized-crime syndicate.

According to police, the women signed contracts with the syndicate to become prostitutes. Police say the syndicate brought the women to Canada and sold them to brothels, who paid $16,000 to $25,000 for each woman.

The women, aged 17 to 25, were allegedly given a quota of 500 customers. Until that quota was met, all money made by the women was kept by the brothel owners. The syndicate provided an estimated 30 to 40 women every three months to about 15 brothels in the Toronto area. Police say syndicate members could earn over $1 million a year.

The arrests were made as part of Project Trade, a probe by Toronto Police into organized-crime prostitution rings.