Employees at tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and other companies in Seattle’s high tech valley were involved in purchasing services from trafficked Asian women, Newsweek said in a report, revealing another dark side of the tech industry, in addition to sexism and misogyny.
Newsweek obtained emails via a public records request to the King County Prosecutor’s Office sent by employees at major tech companies to brothels and pimps between 2014 and 2016. Among the emails were 67 sent from Microsoft employee email accounts, 63 from Amazon accounts and dozens from other companies, including Oracle, Boeing and T-Mobile.
According to Newsweek, the emails from the men are all similar and often disguised as replies to incorrect addresses.
Some of the emails were collected during a 2015 sting operation targeting prostitution rings. The enterprise resulted in the arrest of 18 people, including high-level Microsoft and Amazon directors.
A study by the Department of Justice revealed that Seattle has the fastest-growing sex-industry in the United States. According to Newsweek, that boom correlates with the development of the high tech industry there and the growing number of high-paid jobs, with some men spending up to $50,000 per year on sex workers.
Amazon told Newsweek that it is "investigating" the issue, saying, "When Amazon suspects that an employee has used company funds or resources to engage in criminal conduct, the company will immediately investigate and take appropriate action up to and including termination."