Derong Miao, 39, a Chinese national, admitted on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, to prostituting as many as 27 women, according to reports, around Northern New England for at least two and a half year. She was accused of working with her husband, Shou Choa Li, also 39, to set up rented homes and hotel rooms for women who were brought over to the United States from China on B-2 immigrant visas.
Miao, who was arrested in December 2018 while living in Concord, New Hampshire, began importing the women in July 2016, using the Chinese messaging app called WeChat to lure them to the United States with promises of lucrative fees working as prostitutes in the three states and then, took money for operating costs. Miao used the now-defunct free online classifieds site, Backpage.com, to line up clients, and rented numerous homes, hotel rooms, and apartments, including at Portsmouth’s Motel 6 and Best Western, the Microtel in Dover, and homes in Manchester, and Portland, Maine, too. She then deprived women of their travel papers, food, clothing, and other items so that they could not leave.
Miao pleaded guilty to conspiracy and multiple counts of transportation for purposes of prostitution. As part of the plea deal, two sex trafficking by fraud or coercion and one transportation for purposes of prostitution will be dropped. Miao has been held in a Maine jail since November 2018 and faces up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
After completing her sentence, Miao is expected to be deported back to China.