EXCERPT: International Sex Trafficking in Boston, Mass., with foreign-born prostitutes. http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates/515/ Human Trafficking in Boston, USA Police and immigration specialists believe that many of these women are being rotated in and out of this and other U S cities by national networks of human traffickers. Boston police and task force members have conducted a series of undercover stings in Allston/Brighton and East Boston meant to topple the traffickers and free the women. The ethnic populations of Boston provide some customers -- and cover for the trafficking operations' in East Boston, it's largely Colombian males lording over Latinas. -- two leaders of a Mexico-to-New-York ring last year were sentenced to 50 years in prison But the trafficking threshold, except when children are involved, requires proof of force, fraud, or coercion. 'A modern form of slavery' " US officials estimate that up to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, put to work in places ranging from family homes to sweatshops to brothels. In one typical scenario, advocates say, the international journey begins with commercial-sex headhunters who use phony promises of jobs in restaurants or health spas to prey on women from impoverished locations. After being smuggled illegally onto US shores, the women are hit with the tab: thousands of dollars in fees. Two years before, members of the Carreto family of Mexico were indicted on charges that they lured young women from that country to work in brothels around New York City, including Queens. One of the men likened his job to "recruiting fillies for a race," according to court records. One of the women was forced to service more than 20 men a day, the records show. In East Boston, police say, turnover is so constant that Mondays there are known as travel days.Money flows from the women to their handlers, advocates say, to pay for food and rent and debt service and transportation to different cities where phone numbers in their pockets connect them to another string of strange addresses in which they are put right to work. Or worse. In court records, prosecutors in the Carreto case described the physical hold the traffickers held on the women, through rapes, forced abortions, beatings with belts and beer bottles. "Vicious," says sergeant detective O'Connell. A hold on bodies and minds Other times, advocates and law enforcement officials say, the shackles are psychological: threats to turn the women over to immigration authorities and have their stories splashed across international headlines. "They inculcate a fear about being reported, of being humiliated. The warnings can get even more cutthroat, such as pledges to kill the women or their families. Rather than solicit business in cyberspace, the Eastie M.O. includes having operatives distribute business cards containing phone numbers but no addresses on car windshields and to passersby in busy spots like Maverick Square -- a promotional scheme used in other US cities, advocates say. For example, prospective johns in the know understand they can receive a sexual spark by responding to the phone number on business cards promoting "Servicios Electricos " -- literally, electric services. In a 2004 East Boston case, an undercover officer calling that number was directed to a Sumner Street apartment and was assured "a 24-year-old Venezuelan girl just in from New York." In March of last year, an East Boston undercover officer was told in Spanish that he could have a "hot" and "sexy" 18-year-old girl from Mexico, court records show. The case of the $30 marble. In another instance last year, an Eastie cop was working in plainclothes to pierce a reputed Bennington Street brothel. He was told the doors opened at 11:15 a.m., court records show. Once in, he handed over $30 to a 47-year-old tattooed man from Colombia, who recorded the transaction in a notebook. From a small plastic bag, the Colombian then gave the officer a marble, which the cop was to pass on to the reputed prostitute, a 24-year-old Dominican woman up from New Jersey. Law enforcement officers and advocates say the use of marbles, poker chips, or playing cards is a notorious accounting system that national traffickers use to keep track of the womens' johns. In alleged Eastie trafficking spheres -- as in Latino brothels elsewhere in the United States, advocates say -- the base equation for sex is: "$30 for 15 minutes," according to court records. Then a buzzer goes off, or a chime sounds, and it's time for the woman to serve the next in line.