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20 charged in stripper trafficking

Twenty people were charged yesterday in a ring that allegedly forcedEastern European women to perform in strip clubs.

Twenty people were charged yesterday in a ring that allegedly forced Eastern European women to perform in strip clubs.

Federal prosecutors said the women were brought to the United States and forced to work at clubs, including Cheetah’s Gentlemen’s Club in Midtown and Gallagher’s in Long Island City, NY1 reported.

Many of the suspects were Mafia members, with names like Grandfather and Tommy D., according to The New York Times, and were part of several crime families.

The suspects recruited women through the Internet and newspapers, prosecutors said, illegally getting them visas so that the women could travel. They then housed the women around the city and brought them to and from the strip clubs, where they were required to perform as exotic dancers.

Other women were forced into fake marriages to give them legal status, prosecutors allege.

The defendants are also accused of extorting money from the clubs by threatening violence, all while keeping tabs on the women they forced to work there.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.