CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Dominican Republic woman who imported at least eight women to work as sex slaves and then forced them to perform sex acts to pay off debts and $200 per month rent has pleaded guilty to her role in the criminal enterprise.
Ramona Rivera Luna, 65, of Santo Domingo, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of transporting an individual in foreign commerce for the purpose of prostitution, and three counts of bringing illegal aliens to the United States for financial gain, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.
The madam made the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller in Charlotte Amalie.
According to court documents, Rivera Luna owned and operated The Embers
Guest House in Contant as a house of prostitution and arranged for female illegal aliens from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela to be smuggled into St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to live and work as prostitutes at her establishment. Rivera Luna admitted that she lured some of the women into coming to St. Thomas under the false pretense of providing them with legitimate employment as bartenders. Rivera Luna further admitted that she financially benefitted from this arrangement by requiring the women to pay her for their trips to St. Thomas and charging them rent and a percentage of the money they
earned from performing commercial sex acts at The Embers.
The investigation of this case was led by Homeland Security Investigations,
and assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement
Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and United
States Postal Inspection Service. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith Edwards
prosecuted the case.