The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute

The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute

Human Trafficking Newsletter August 2018

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.

Legislation

State

One of four human trafficking bills authored by Central Coast Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham has been signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. AB 1736 would allow prosecutors to introduce into evidence prior non-sworn testimony of a victim that contradicts other non-sworn testimony if the victim is legally unavailable to testify at trial.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed into law H 7541 which implements some provisions of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) to include registration for some federal and military offenses.

State Investigations/Arrest/Prosecution

California

July 28, 2018: A man from San Jacinto, Damian Lamont Beverly, 35, was arrested on sex trafficking charges with victims ranging from minors to adults. An investigation began when two 14 year olds told police that they had been trafficked by Beverly while staying at an Ontario motel.

July 25, 2018: Michael Shaw, 38, pled no contest in San Fernando Superior Court to charges of human trafficking to commit another crime and assault. He was accused of violently assaulting a sex trafficking victim, whom he was pimping, when she tried to get away. The victim was lured by Eric Hamwey from Texas to perform commercial sex work. Hamwey then sold her to Shaw.

July 24, 2018: A preliminary hearing in the case of Timothy Lee Williams, who has been charged with human trafficking, pimping, pandering, and abuse of a dependent adult, has found sufficient evident to proceed with the prosecution. Williams, 53, is alleged to have involved four women in sex trafficking operations, including a 22 year old developmentally-disabled woman. Williams was arrested in the parking lot of a Clearlake Oaks hotel as he allegedly waited for one of the women to complete a “date.”

July 21, 2018: A human trafficking operation in Compton led to the rescue of two female juveniles and the arrests of 36 adults. Twelve adult females were arrested on charges of loitering for the purposes of prostitution and two female adults were arrested for solicitation of prostitution. Seven of those arrested were later identified as victims of human trafficking and accepted ongoing services.

July 13, 2018: Members of the San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force arrested Nickolas Caver, 18, on suspicion of felony pimping, pandering, and human trafficking of minors. He is accused of transporting two minors, 14 and 15, to a truck stop to prostitute themselves.

July 12, 2018: Harold Edward Domingue, aka “Fame,” was arrested on human trafficking charges, pimping, dissuading a witness, and human trafficking inflicting great bodily injury last fall. He pled no contest to felony pandering and was sentenced to six years in state prison. Napa Valley investigators found that he was transporting a female sex worker around Napa Valley. She bore tattoos of “Fame” and “Money Maker” on her body.

July 5, 2018: In November 2017, two juveniles reported to the Ontario Police Department that they had been victims of human trafficking at a local motel; however, they knew the person who victimized them only by his street name, “KD.” Investigators eventually identified the perpetrator as Damon Bervely, 35. He has now been charged with pimping, pandering, and human trafficking of both minors and an adult.

Colorado

July 9, 2018: A man who has a previous conviction for attempted solicitation of a child for prostitution has been arrested on various charges including human trafficking of a minor and solicitation of a child prostitute in Longmont. An investigation into a possible overdose of a minor led to the discovery that the young girl had been in contact with Ronald Hulongbayan, 45.

Florida

July 19, 2018: A 17-year-old girl met Timothy Bernard White, 22, using the app MeetMe. After she had talked to him for several months, she agreed to prostitute with the understanding that she would keep the money. White picked up the minor the end of May, had sex with her, and then left her with two customers in Orlando. She received cash and some marijuana as payment that White took from her. White and the minor’s customers, Christopher David Jackson and Steven Ramos, were arrested and charged with human trafficking and other related crimes.

Georgia

July 12, 2018: Human trafficking charges have been lodged against two of five suspects who were arrested during an operation at the Super 8 Motel in Columbus. Rosten Sentel Martin, 26, faces one count of trafficking and two counts of pimping and Johntavious Wallace, 25, is charged with both trafficking and possession of Alprazolam with intent to deliver.

July 3, 2018: Gwinnett County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Gene Wendell Lay on numerous charges including sex and labor trafficking and child molestation. The charges involve two minor girls who were allegedly held in a motel room by the defendant.

Maryland

July 18, 2018: As part of an investigation into prostitution and human trafficking-related offenses at massage parlors, Montgomery County police have arrested Manni Chen, 42, and Guihong Wei, 51. The massage parlor at issue was shut down after three owners were arrested and charged in June. The parlor then re-opened and Chen and Wei were discovered living and working there.

Massachusetts

July 2, 2018: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that Hendricks Mario Berdet, with the street names “Capo,” “Supa Capo,” and “Supa Mario,” 33, pled guilty in Suffolk County to sex trafficking charges, deriving support from prostitution, and intimidation of a witness. He was sentenced to five to six years in prison, followed by two years probation. Berdet supplied women with drugs in exchange for prostituting themselves and required them to give him $1,000 to $1,500 a night.

Minnesota

July 31, 2018: Washington County Attorney Pete Orput announced that Sophia Wang Navas, 50, of California entered guilty pleas to racketeering and sex trafficking occurring between January 2016 and February 2017. The organized criminal activity involved the trafficking of Chinese nationals in Minnesota. She is the last of the four people charged in the crime. Hong Jing is currently serving 102 months in prison; Dongzhu Jiang will be sentenced on his conviction of the crimes in August; and Michelle Jing was placed on 20 years’ probation for her racketeering conviction.

July 23, 2018: A Hennepin County jury found Sonam Tsering guilty of one count of prostitution, one count of receiving profits from prostitution, and two counts of sext trafficking. The charges involve Asian women who had been trafficked by Tsering and a co-defendant who earlier pled guilty to the charges. Tsering will be sentenced in August.

July 10, 2018: A number of individuals have been charged after an investigation into sex trafficking of minors in Brooklyn Park. Brendian Kewon Daniels, Raphael Landon Powell, Lanesha Keyon Morgan-Franklin, and Michaella Florencia Collins have been charged in separate criminal compaints.

July 4, 2018: While in jail in Benton County for outstanding warrants, Victor Shelton’s phone calls were monitored. Police became aware that Shelton was having a woman prostitute herself and sending him the money. He has now been charged with sex trafficking.

July 2, 2018: A Waite Park investigator was given Facebook messages sent between a 17 year old and Christopher Jason Barkley, Jr., which demonstrated that Barkley was trying to recruit the teen for sex work. A later investigation also discovered that Barkley had enticed a woman to have sex with another man in exchange for methamphetamine that went to Barkley. He has been charged with two counts of soliciting/promoting an individual to practice prostitution and three charges of engaging in the sex trafficking of an individual.

Mississippi

July 17, 2018: Police and federal agents arrested Mawell Isley Phillips on human trafficking charges after he was found with a 17-year-old girl from Texas at an extended-stay hotel in Gulfport. This is the second time that Phillips has been arrested on human trafficking charges, but, in the first case, the grand jury found insufficient evidence to indict him.

July 13, 2018: A human trafficking investigation in Jackson led to the arrest of Freddrick Johnson, 40. It has been alleged that he was supplying narcotics to a minor, making her both sell and use them, and receiving money from prostituting her.

Missouri

July 11, 2018: Shawntoi Shurn, 23, has been charged by the St. Charles Prosecutor’s Office with child sex trafficking. She allegedly trafficked a 13 year old who was living with her. Shurn is said to have scheduled multiple interactions with the girl and unknown men.

North Carolina

July 17, 2018: As part of an ongoing human trafficking investigation, search warrants were served on three massage parlors, two in Fayetteville and one in Durham. Subsequently, massage parlor owner and operator, Angel Ming Lin, 46, was arrested on promotion of prostitution and keeping a place for prostitution charges.

Oregon

July 25, 2018: The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office has announced that Marvin Glenn Mitchell Jr., 30, was arrested following a human sex trafficking investigation. He is facing charges of rape, compelling prostitution, promoting prostitution, assault, and strangulation.

South Carolina

July 20, 2018: North Carolina officials arrested Dequan Jonquil Blakeney and held him for extradition to South Carolina. He is accused of transporting a victim to multiple cities, including Myrtle Beach, and forcing her to prostitute herself.

Texas

July 25, 2018: A fourth person has been arrested in a labor trafficking case involving the Waco-based Vegas Buffet restaurant. Sheng Weng, 41, was booked into the McLennan County Jail on first-degree felony charge of engaging in organized criminal activity. He is accused of delivering the alleged victims to and from work in a white van.

July 18, 2018: San Angelo police arrested Christopher Thomas Brooks on an outstanding warrant of sexual assault of a child. When they located him, he was at a residence with a 17-year-old girl who had been reported missing, and an infant. Police then obtained a new arrest warrant on Trafficking Child-Engage in Sexual Conduct.

July 12, 2018: Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Kedrick Nelms, 28, was sentenced in Travis County District Court to 40 years in prison for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl. He was found guilty in June on charges of trafficking of persons and compelling prostitution of a minor. Prosecutors from the Texas Attorney General’s Office assisted the Travis County District Attorney’s Office with the prosecution.

July 12, 2018: A mother, accused of taking her two-year-old daughter to Conroe to sell her for sex, pled guilty to three felony charges and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Sarah Marie Peters, 25, was charged with sexual performance of a child under 14, promotion of prostitution, and attempted human trafficking.

Wisconsin

July 25, 2018: A woman in Milwaukee is facing charges of sex trafficking a 10-year-old child. Senya Keita, 43, is accused of dressing the child in inappropriate clothing and “parading” her down a local street for hours at a time.

July 19, 2018: Caledonia police arrested Torrence C. Smothers, 51, and charged him with human trafficking. Detectives interviewed a woman who reported that she had met Smothers who had helped her get off drugs, but he became violent when she did not do as requested, such as update her Backpage.com ad, and tying her up when she attempted to leave Smothers’ residence.

Wyoming

July 1, 2018: In Cheyenne, police arrested Terry Blanks, 35, after allegedly transporting two women from Salt Lake City to Wyoming to engage in prostitution.

Other Items of Interest

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt joined with the Kansas U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Riley County Attorney’s Office, the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, and the Midwest Criminal Justice Institute to sponsor a human trafficking training in Manhattan. The keynote address was delivered by Peter Qualliotine of King County, Washington, who is director of Men’s Accountability. General Schmidt also unveiled a new website for Kansas residents on combating human trafficking.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced an initiative to raise awareness among local officials about forced labor in communities across the state. Her office coordinated a mailing to all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns asking that municipal government leaders share information about forced labor with their employees, such as law enforcement, school personnel, and code inspectors, who may come into contact with victims.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced that he has filed a motion for criminal sanctions against Backpage.com related to false statements the company made in court. Its recent guilty pleas directly contradict statements made in a court filing seeking to stop the AG’s investigation into the website’s role in human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors. The request for criminal sanctions include Backpage creating a restitution fund for trafficking victims in Missouri and compensating the AG’s office and the court for legal expenses.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced training dates for his office’s Back to School Human Trafficking Awareness which will help educators identify signs of possible human trafficking and provide recommendations on how to respond. The trainings, conducted in partnership with education leaders from around the state, will be held in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe.

Louisiana officials arrested four members of a family in 2016 on allegations of horrific abuse against a relative with autism. The federal government has now charged members of the family with labor and sex trafficking as well as hate crimes and theft of government funds.

The Bernal County Sheriff’s Office in Texas removed eight boys who were living at a home for troubled youth. Officials served a search warrant on Joshua Home Ministries after they received allegations of abuse and human trafficking. The boys were placed in the custody of Texas Child Protective Services.

Polaris has issued a new report titled “On-Ramps, Intersections, and Exit Routes: A Roadmap for Systems and Industries to Prevent and Disrupt Human Trafficking.”

The Walk Free Foundation published its annual Global Slavery Index. It estimates that 40.3 million people were in slavery world-wide in 2016. Of that number, it estimates that the United States had 400,000 slaves working under forced conditions.

The United Banks Alliance, put together by the Thomas Reuters Foundation, has developed new tools to assist financial institutions uncover profits from human trafficking.

A report published by SOFREP News highlighted the use of “underworking” to ensure that laborers remain in debt bondage.

The Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute, along with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Aequitas has announced a labor trafficking training, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, to be debuted in Mesa, Arizona, on September 10-12. The training is free, but participants are responsible for their own transportation, lodging, and food expenses. Those interested may register at http://umcpi.org/register/.

Pasco County, Florida Sheriff Chris Nocco announced that his office has begun to use intercept bots to track those who use the Internet to search for underage victims for sex. The bots work behind the scenes, waiting for a potential buyer to click on ads. They communicate like a real person, establishing a meeting place and exchanging phone numbers.

Mercy Medical in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has named nurse practitioner Kristina Glackin, a human trafficking survivor, as the first anti-human trafficking coordinator in the state’s hospitals. In this capacity, she will ensure that all staff members have been trained on red flags and will establish protocols so personnel know what to do if they suspect one of the patients may be a victim.


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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