• Police in South Korea this week announced the arrest of five men accused of luring seven Brazilian women to South Korea with the promise of turning them into K-pop stars.
  • Instead, police said the women were sold into prostitution and sent to live at brothels.
  • Last month, one of the women managed to call the Brazilian Embassy in South Korea and the women were rescued.
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Seven Brazilian women said they were forced into prostitution after being lured to South Korea by men who promised to turn them into K-pop stars.

South Korean police announced this week the arrest of five men in connection to the alleged sex-trafficking scam, the Korea Times reported.

The victims, who are mostly in their 20s and 30s, told police that the men contacted them in early July, and paid for their round-trip tickets to South Korea.

Read more: A sexual-assault scandal has rocked South Korean K-pop, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg

“(The) women were told they could be models, or that they would be supported to become K-pop singers,” a police spokesman said, according to CNN.

But once they arrived in South Korea, their passports were taken away and they were taken to two brothels, where they were told they would need to work off their debt to the men, CNN reported. They were sold into prostitution for about $1,650 each.

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Police were tipped off to the scam last month, when one of the women secretly called the Brazilian Embassy in South Korea and said she needed to be rescued.

Police raided the two brothels and rescued all seven of the women, who are now staying in a shelter for migrant women.

Police continue to investigate and believe that the incident may be part of a larger operation.

“We think that there could be more people involved in the operation and possibly someone above who was organizing,” a police official said, according to CNN.