Human Trafficking Newsletter June 2016

The following is a compendium of news reports over the last month that may be of interest to our AG offices that are dealing with state-focused human trafficking issues. Neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute expresses a view as to the accuracy of news accounts, nor as to the position expounded by the authors of the hyperlinked articles.

In the Courts

Federal

Albado et al. v. French Concepts, No. 2:15-cv-02830-FMO-AJW (C.D. Cal. May 2, 2016): The former owners of a Los Angeles bakery have been ordered to pay their former employees $15.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages for labor trafficking. The amount also includes fines for violating the Fair Employment and Housing Act, statutory damages for wage and hour law violations, and statutory damages for violation of California’s whistleblower and retaliation law, among other violations.

Legislative Action

State

HB 770 was passed by the Georgia legislature and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal. The definition of sexual servitude in the statute now includes any sexually explicit conduct obtained by coercion or deception from those 18 years or under or from any individual that a defendant believes to be under 18 and from any individual with a developmental disability. It also specifically states that it is not a defense to prosecution if an undercover officer, acting as an under-aged individual, was involved in the detection and investigation of a human trafficking offense.

In Louisiana, the legislature has passed and the governor has signed SB90. The new law will raise the age of minor sex trafficking victims from 18 to 21 so that force, fraud, or coercion need not be proven. Furthermore, it eliminates any defense regarding knowledge of the age of the victim.

The Michigan House has passed three bills that are now being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. HB 5542 would make it easier for human trafficking victims to expunge local ordinance prostitution violations from their record when the crime was committed while a victim of human trafficking.. HB 5543 allows a juvenile victim of human trafficking to expunge local ordinance prostitution violations, and HB 5544 would increase the penalty to 15 years for sex trafficking.

The Missouri legislature has passed HB 1562. It expands the definition of sex trafficking of a child to include advertisement. It also allows the addresses of human trafficking victims to remain confidential by providing substitute addresses for the victims.

State Investigations/Arrests/Prosecutions

Alabama

May 26, 2016: Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced the arrest of an attorney, Chip Dillard, 51, and Timothy Wylie Staggs, 83, on human trafficking charges. Evidence was presented to a Lauderdale County grand jury which resulted in an indictment against the men. Dillard is charged with seven counts of human trafficking as well as four counts of conspiracy, intimidating a witness, and other related charges. The men are accused of taking advantage of young female victims, but no further specific information was available about the alleged crimes.

Arizona

May 27, 2016: Leon Jerome Daniels has been found guilty of 17 counts of sex trafficking related to incidents surrounding the 2015 Super Bowl in Phoenix. He brought three girls, one minor and two adults, from California to Arizona to engage in prostitution. At sentencing he faces up to 235 years in prison.

May 19, 2016: After a ten-month investigation by the Tempe police and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, three individuals have been arrested. They are alleged to have been running a sex trafficking ring out of the Amazing Spa in Tempe, circulating young Asian women from Korea and China in and out of the business every two weeks.

California

May 30, 2016: A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge ruled, after a preliminary hearing, that there is sufficient evidence to hold Marcale Alexander, 33, for trial on human trafficking charges. He faces allegations of trafficking an under-aged girl and a special charge that will require registration on the sex offense registry and make him ineligible to serve his sentence in county jail if convicted.

May 29, 2016: Carl Washington, 29, has been arrested by San Rafael police on suspicion of human trafficking and extortion charges. He allegedly trafficked a juvenile and then threatened her and her family when she refused to prostitute herself any longer.

May 18, 2016: In Santa Maria, a jury found Humberto Carranza, 24, and Cameron Jones 27, guilty in a sex trafficking case involving a minor. They face a maximum sentence of 14 years plus eight months in prison.

May 15, 2016: Richmond police responding to a report of a possible battery located an adult male and a teenaged female in a parked car. The minor told police that the man was her pimp. He was arrested and the teen was taken to a safe shelter.

May 14, 2016: In the first human trafficking case in Sutter County, the court has determined, after a preliminary hearing, that there is sufficient evidence to hold Cornellius Joseph Lee, 29, on human trafficking charges.

May 14, 2016: The San Rafael Police Department, together with the Central Marin Police Authority, the Marin County Sheriff’s office, and the Marin County Probation Department targeted purchasers of sex in order to heighten awareness of human trafficking and educate those who purchase sexual services. Thirteen men were arrested and given citations for solicitation of prostitution.

May 11, 2016: The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office reported that Marquis Bolden, 34, was arrested after reports of drug sales and prostitution at a local motel. A 16-year-old girl told police that she was held against her will, sexually assaulted, and was being prostituted by Bolden.

May 10, 2016: Police and investigators from the attorney general’s office executed search warrants at five locations around Los Angeles, locating three individuals who have been arrested on a number of charges involving human trafficking. According to authorities, Eric Hamwey befriended a victim on Instagram and flew her from Texas to California for prostitution. Hamwey then allegedly sold her to Michael Shaw, who viciously beat her when she tried to flee him. Ashley Peart is suspected of robbing the victim after the assault. During the searches, a second female victim was discovered. Investigators seized more than 100 items of evidence, including three handguns, cash, computers, and several cellphones.

May 10, 2016: The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reported that Kerman Lancell Brown, 52, was convicted of human trafficking of a minor and a related charge. The victim was a 17-year-old male.

May 6, 2016: In a Palm Desert human trafficking case, a third suspect has turned himself in and was booked in the Riverside County Jail. Three suspects have now been arrested for allegedly forcing a teenaged girl into prostitution after she was kidnapped in Moreno Valley in March.

April 30, 2016: An undercover operation in Compton targeting sex trafficking led to the recovery of one under-aged girl and the arrest of eighteen men on soliciting and/or pandering charges.

Colorado

May 25, 2016: In the first conviction under Colorado’s new sex trafficking laws, Julie Anne Greiner, 43, of Lakewood pled guilty to trafficking her 12-year-old daughter.

Connecticut

May 19, 2016: In Litchfield, as part of a plea deal, a former Waterbury judicial marshal, Michael Connelly, entered an Alford plea to sex trafficking and related charges. It is anticipated that he will receive a sentence of 12 years in prison, suspended after serving one year, and five years’ probation. Sentencing is scheduled for August 9. He is alleged to have used his authority and badge to threaten women into having sex with him. Connelly is the second person in Connecticut to be convicted of trafficking since the state law was passed in 2006.

Florida

May 13, 2016: A Broward County jury found Gerard Nelson, 24, guilty of two counts of human trafficking. The charges involved two teenaged girls and one undercover police woman who Nelson tried to recruit into the Str8Profit Boyz’s prostitution ring. Cases are pending against five other members of the group, which held itself out as a rap and music producing group.

May 11, 2016: Orlando police responding to a disturbance at a local motel found Michael Davis of Atlanta with a minor girl who had been reported as a runaway from Georgia. Davis was allegedly posting advertisements for the girl and living off the prostitution money she made.

May 11, 2016: Pasco police arrested Clent Ruffin, 58, on human trafficking charges. He recruited women, kept them at his home in New Port Richey, and supplied them with drugs. He then prostituted them and kept the money they earned.

Georgia

May 27, 2016: Alpharetta police conducted an undercover prostitution sting and located a 17-year-old victim from North Carolina. The teen gave officers a description of the person with whom she had travelled to Georgia. Police located 22-year-old Jamar Keante Girley. The victim also told investigators that another individual with whom she had originally connected on Facebook, 19-year-old Natasha Otero, was staying at another hotel. Otero and Girley face charges of sex trafficking.

May 14, 2016: Four alleged gang members were extradited to Athens in connection with a ring that is accused of kidnapping teenage girls from New York and forcing them into prostitution. A raid on March 19 led to the arrest of two suspects and recovered one of the girls. Another girl was recovered the same day in Florida. Five other suspects were arrested by Florida highway patrol. All of those arrested are reported to be members of the SNOW gang.

Indiana

May 17, 2016: Lafayette police investigating a disturbance found a young victim of human trafficking and arrested two individuals: Cornelius Thompson, 33, and Elyvin Jackson, 30. They have been charged with sex trafficking a minor.Police believe there may be more victims.

May 8, 2016: Five individuals were arrested in an undercover prostitution sting in Terre Haute, including two individuals who are suspected of participating in a prostitution ring that involved a 17-year-old girl who, authorities say, was being transported to Kentucky to be trafficked during the Kentucky Derby. Later in the month, police arrested another individual, Amanda Kowalewski, 25, suspected of participating in the trafficking operation, when she appeared at a court hearing for her boyfriend who had been arrested earlier.

May 4, 2016: Patrick Davis, 29, of Ft. Wayne has been arrested and charged with human trafficking and related felonies. He allegedly communicated with a 14-year-old girl, encouraged her to run away, and picked her up at her residence. He destroyed her Facebook page and her telephone and took her to his residence, working with a woman who planned the marketing campaign for her. He raped her and made her perform a sex act on him. As he was preparing to drive her to Ohio to begin the prostitution enterprise, they were stopped by police because the car they were in was illegally parked. An alert officer recognized that the girl seemed confused and eventually identified her as a runaway.

Kansas

May 20, 2016: In Lawrence, Guihong Xiao, 44, pled no contest to two felony and one misdemeanor sex crime charges. Originally, she was charged with two felony counts of human trafficking and related charges stemming from a massage parlor business that she ran. Her partner, Chen Li, pled no contest late last year. Both are Chinese nationals illegally in the United States.

Kentucky

May 6, 2016: An undercover sting by Louisville police has led to the arrest of Keith Napier on human trafficking charges. He allegedly brought an underage girl to a local motel to perform a sexual act on a client, who turned out to be an undercover officer.

May 3, 2016: Independence police followed up on a call from a woman who claimed she was being chased by an individual. When officers met with her, a story emerged regarding heroin possession and trading heroin for sex acts. Police arrested Ronald King and charged him with running a human trafficking ring.

Maryland

May 24, 2016: Baltimore City teacher Michael Brandon Osikomaiya has been charged with human trafficking. An undercover investigation led to a 16-year-old girl who was advertising prostitution on the Internet. When undercover police arrived after they had scheduled an appointment with the teen, Osikomaiya showed up as well. He has been placed on administrative leave.

Massachusetts

April 29, 2016: Yarmouth police arrested Kenneth Silva Jr., 48, on charges of running a prostitution operation and trafficking of persons for sexual servitude. He was allegedly running a brothel out of a home in Yarmouth.

Michigan

May 11, 2016: A 32-year-old Kalamazoo man was arrested by the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team on suspicion of human trafficking. The police were responding to a report of forced prostitution for narcotics or to repay drug debts to dealers. A victim was found with the man and additional victims were located and provided assistance.

Minnesota

May 21, 2016: Ramsey County prosecutors announced that Rashad Ramon Ivy, 35, has been sentenced to 58 years in prison for his leadership role in a sex trafficking ring. It is the longest-ever sentence of its kind in Minnesota.

May 19, 2016: In the sixth operation tackling demand, Albert Lea police arrested six men who had responded to an ad placed by two women offering sexual favors.

May 16, 2016: A man from West St. Paul was arrested when he arrived at a Rochester hotel to pick up an individual, who he thought was a young girl, for prostitution purposes. In fact, the person he was communicating with was an undercover police officer.

May 5, 2016: Israel Davis, 41, has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for sex trafficking two women in Stearns County.

April 29, 2016: Faribault area law enforcement arrested six individuals following an undercover operation targeting sex trafficking.

Montana

May 17, 2016: In Yellowstone County, the Montana Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting Lavondrick Terelle Hogues, 29, on aggravated promotion of prostitution charges. He is accused of pimping out two women, a 17-year-old and an adult.

New York

May 26, 2016: A couple from Flushing, Jeong Taek Lee, 53, and Sook Yeong Park, 49, were charged in a 61-count indictment that included labor trafficking, forcible touching, and second- and third-degree assault charges. They are accused of bringing two Korean children into the country whom they took into their home, mistreated, and forced to work both inside and outside the home. They are also accused of stealing the more than $100,000 sent to the couple by the parents to defray expenses for their children.

May 14, 2016: Three residents of Flushing, Queens, pled guilty to sex trafficking charges. The three, Zhaowei Yin and his wife Shuwen Ai, and Li Fei Leng admitted to coercing women into sex acts at two massage parlors.

April 30, 2016: In late April, on Staten Island, police arrested Starlyn King, 31, on sex trafficking and related charges. She is alleged to have brought women to Staten Island to attend a party but, instead, forced them to prostitute themselves.

Nevada

May 17, 2016: In a case that experienced prosecutors said involved the worst abuse in a sex trafficking case that they had ever seen, in Las Vegas, Robert Sharpe III was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was found guilty of kidnapping, brutally beating and torturing an 18-year-old that he forced into prostitution. She lost a finger and part of her buttocks because her injuries had become gangrenous. She underwent 12 surgeries to repair damage to her liver and spleen. Sharpe held her for eight weeks, beat her with a metal pole, burned her with an iron, and poured lemon juice and Tabasco sauce into her open wounds.

New Jersey

May 27, 2016: New Jersey Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy announced that four men were sentenced to prison for trafficking a 14-year-old girl in a prostitution ring that operated in hotels in and around Hudson County. Michael A. McLeod, 25, who led the group, was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Tyree D. Jeter, 28, and David Powell Jr., 29, were both sentenced to six years; Demetrius Hayward, 20, was sentenced to five years.

North Carolina

May 24, 2016: In Whiteville, Larry Moore, 55, has been arrested and charged with human trafficking and related crimes. Investigators allege that Moore recruited and kept individuals to serve as prostitutes and then profited from the enterprise.

May 9, 2016: In Brunswick County, two individuals were arrested on human trafficking and prostitution charges involving a single victim.

May 2, 2016: Three individuals have been arrested by New Hanover County Sheriff’s officials in an investigation into human trafficking and heroin. The Gang Task Force and vice/narcotics detectives found the suspects at two local hotels.

Ohio

May 21, 2016: A Dayton grand jury has indicted Iesha Heard, 20, and Jermar White, 31, on charges related to human trafficking of a pair of 15-year-old girls.

Oregon

May 16, 2016: Earlier in the month, the Portland Police Bureau’s Sex Trafficking Unit conducted an undercover operation to target online sex trafficking. Fifteen men contacted undercover officers to arrange payment for sex acts. They were arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute.

Pennsylvania

May 15, 2016: Carrie Ann Hunter, 38, faces charges in Lackawanna County on trafficking of a 14-year-old girl. Authorities are looking for Francisco Palhinhas, 40, who allegedly had sex with the victim.

Tennessee

May 27, 2016: Chattanooga police assisted federal officials in arresting two men, Corrie Gillispie and Willie Watkins, on charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, and sex trafficking. They will be prosecuted federally on charges that they trafficked a child under 15.

May 23, 2016: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that it had arrested 32 people in Knoxville who responded to ads for purchasing girls under 18 for sex. One of the individuals arrested was a children’s minister at a local Baptist church.

May 1, 2016: Michael Scott Helton has been arrested in Clarksville for allegedly trying to transport a 17-year-old girl for a commercial sex act. Police investigated after receiving a tip from the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Texas

May 26, 2016: A Lubbock County grand jury indicted Bradley Hood, 24, Andrew George Cole, 21, and Taquolia Thomas, 25, on charges related to trafficking a teenager from Lubbock to Midland for prostitution.

May 5, 2016: Adriana Aguilar and Cirino Santiago Delacruz have been arrested in Frisco and accused of sex trafficking. Aguilar allegedly used her relationship with the girl to encourage her to have sex with Delacruz for $10,000.

May 4, 2016: The Grand Jury in Atascosa County retuned indictments on April 28 against 29 people. The indictment included engaging in organized criminal activity with underlying offenses of human trafficking, human smuggling, sexual assault, and money laundering.

Virginia

May 4, 2016: Trinell Bowen, 33, was arrested in Norfolk on sex trafficking charges. He was allegedly prostituting six women, including a 17-year-old.

Washington

May 18, 2016: Seattle police arrested a 30-year-old man on sex trafficking charges. He drove three teenage girls from Portland to Seattle to meet with someone whom he thought was going to pay to sleep with one of the teens. Police arrested him at the hotel.

News of General Interest

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has increased training for law enforcement and for those who work in the tourism industry to recognize the signs of human trafficking prior to the Indy 500. He has also partnered with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and other members of the state human trafficking task force to target demand by promoting the Indiana’s Not Buying It campaign.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens has launched a new public awareness campaign, “Unmasked,” targeted at those who try to buy sex with children.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s office is part of the only task force in the country focused on trafficking in Indian Country. It is composed of leaders and members from pueblo and reservation communities, tribal law enforcement officers, tribal courts, and directors from agencies that provide social and health services to Native Americans in New Mexico.

The Virginia Attorney General’s Office has received the Commonwealth Award for Public Service for its innovative initiative to combat human trafficking. In 2014, Gen. Mark Herring launched a campaign to raise citizen awareness of human trafficking and to generate calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline. The winning campaign is a new mobile, data-driven component of the original campaign which targets mobile phones within a quarter mile of truck stops along major Virginia interstates.

Leaders and workers in the tech industry came together for a symposium in Seattle to explore ways the tech industry can work together to counter sex trafficking.

A federal indictment against Jeffrey Jason Cooper of Miami Beach, Florida, revealed the ease with which certain temporary visa programs (in this case the U.S. Department of State’s Summer Work Travel Program) can be subverted. Cooper allegedly used the program to bring students from Khzakhstan to do clerical work in a fictitious yoga studio. Once here, he intended to force them into prostitution. He has been indicted on charges of sex trafficking by fraud, wire fraud, importation of aliens for prostitution or immoral purposes, and use of a facility of interstate commerce to operate a prostitution enterprise.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ordered family and circuit court judges to attend a human trafficking summit so that they can be informed and help to develop strategies to combat the crime.

The April-June 2016 issue of the Journal of Forensic Nursing contains an article directed towards clinicians to recognize the signs of human trafficking.

The Halle Healing Center opened recently in Phoenix. It is the first medical center designed to specifically treat survivors of sex trafficking. It was funded by the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation.


Judy McKee is the Editor of Human Trafficking Newsletter and may be reached at 202-326-6044. The Human Trafficking Newsletter is a publication of the National Association of Attorneys General. Any use and/or copies of this newsletter in whole or part must include the customary bibliographic citation. NAAG retains copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material presented in this publication. For content submissions or to contact the editor directly, please e-mail jmckee@naag.org.

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