Two 15-year-old boys were arrested in northern Taiwan for allegedly pimping at least a dozen girls aged as young as 12, police said Wednesday.
The boys allegedly recruited the girls via the Internet and arranged for them to work in tea houses and hotels in New Taipei City for about Tw$2,000 ($70) a time, police said.
"The girls wanted to buy designer products and they wanted to enjoy life. They used various excuses to hide this from their parents, and some parents even covered for them when they missed school," said a police spokesman.
The Liberty Times newspaper named the boys Taiwan's youngest ever pimps, saying they lived in an apartment with three of the girls.
"We didn't steal, we didn't rob. We were merely helping girls in trouble," one of them said, according to the paper.
Television footage showed some girls sporting expensive designer bags and giggling while they were taken to a police station on Tuesday.
The boys face a maximum seven-year jail term for pimping. If convicted, they are likely to be placed in a juvenile correctional facility.
The girls will be sent to a special school for teenagers forced into sex work, or they will be put into foster care if necessary, according to the police.© ANP/AFP