CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. — Three New Yorkers have been convicted of forcing illegal immigrants from Central America to work as prostitutes. John Whaley, Jason Villaman and Antonio Rivera were convicted Thursday of conspiracy, forced labor, alien harboring and alien transportation. Villaman and Rivera also were convicted of sex trafficking. Attorneys told Newsday they would appeal. Prosecutors say they lured Central American immigrants — some as young as 17 — to work as waitresses in two Long Island bars, where they were forced to engage in sex acts with patrons. If the women refused, authorities say they were assaulted and sometimes raped. The women also were threatened with being reported to immigration authorities. The bars are in Lake Ronkonkoma (rahn-KAHN’-kuh-muh) and Farmingville. Each defendant faces up to life in prison on the most serious charges.

—Copyright 2011 Associated Press This article was taken from The Wall Street Journal