US prosecutors say they have shut down an international sex trafficking ring in an operation stretching from Thailand to the US.
Twelve Thai nationals and five Americans were charged with illegally transporting hundreds of women from Thailand.

Their victims were forced to work as prostitutes across the US.

A US lawyer said the ring promised poor women a bright future, then "forced them to live a nightmare".

The women were driven into prostitution in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and other cities, to pay off "bondage debts" of between $40,000 and $60,000 (31,000 and 47,000).

"The 17 people charged in this indictment ran a highly sophisticated sex trafficking scheme," US lawyer Andrew Luger, of the district of Minnesota, said in a statement.