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As states begin to adopt trafficking statutes of their own—New York did on November 1, 2007, and Connecticut on July 1, 2006—the Department of Justice, in its effort to “abolish vestiges of slavery,” an official there says, plans to concentrate funding on outreach and training (more than on victim services) to bolster anti-sex-trafficking efforts on state and local levels, much as it launched initiatives to combat domestic battering after the 1994 passage of the Violence Against Women Act. In May 2009, President Obama appointed Luis de Baca the State Department’s ambassador-at-large to monitor and combat trafficking in persons. During the Senate hearing leading to his appointment, de Baca underscored the analogies between the anti-domestic-violence and sex-trafficking movements, and emphasized that “no one is for sale.” In March 2011, the Senate introduced a bipartisan bill, the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act, which, if passed, will authorize grants for both law-enforcement activities and direct services to American minor survivors.
The unlikely trafficking-abolitionist coalition—consisting of secular social-justice advocates, faith-based groups, black activists, second- and fourth-wave feminists, liberals, conservatives, Democrats, and Republicans—shares a peculiar adversary in the form of trafficking skeptics, coming largely from the left. The Nation, for example, ridiculed the “‘sex slave’ panic,” and both Slate and City Pages questioned the alarming statistics published by the Department of Justice, the State Department, and non–government organizations such as ecpat and the Salvation Army. “All the numbers we have on trafficking are inaccurate,” avows Deirdre Bialo-Padin, chief of the domestic-violence bureau of the Brooklyn D.A.’s office. “They’re too low. It’s an underreported crime. Who is going to raise her hand and say, ‘Hi, I’m a trafficking victim!’ when her family has been threatened? With the right laws in place, we will get harder numbers.” For victim advocates, saying that trafficking in America isn’t a problem is akin to J. Edgar Hoover saying the Mafia doesn’t exist. Melissa Farley believes “we’re still in the Dark Ages with trafficking because, unlike incest, rape, and domestic battering, trafficking generates massive revenues—$32 billion a year worldwide.”
What else, Dr. Sharon Cooper wonders, are we to conclude when Lee Iacocca tees off on a golf course with Snoop Dogg, a self-described ex-pimp who composes odes to beating women, “breaking bitches,” and (to use the vernacular) “turning them out” on the “track”—or, for that matter, when a country girl such as Caroline ends up with a pimp’s gun in her mouth so that she’ll go out and service a politician?
In the winter of 2006, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Genco began writing an indictment which would accuse Martinez, Paris, Forbes, Shanaya Hicks (a.k.a. “Toni”), Kazimierz Sulewski, Christopher Fanning, and four more of, among other crimes, a conspiracy to use interstate facilities (cell phones and telephone wires) to promote prostitution. Seeking some additional input, “Genco reached out to Washington,” Scates says. “That’s when Andrew Kline got involved.”
Special Litigation Counsel Andrew Kline, a Clinton appointee with an M.A. in human rights from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, was one of four attorneys in the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit of the Department of Justice, in the Civil Rights Division. It fell upon the curly-haired, bespectacled Kline (now a senior adviser in the executive office of the president) and one other colleague to provide U.S. attorneys nationwide with training on prosecuting trafficking cases.
Kline was the civil-rights expert who brought the T.V.P.A. to the attention of James Genco and the task force, and who helped bring to bear on the Paris case the full artillery of federal resources, which would include his services as a prosecutor, supplementary to Genco’s. By the time the case went to trial, says Paris’s defense lawyer, Jeremiah Donovan, “there were 12 to 14 feds on one side of the aisle—four case agents, each with his own paralegal. On the other side, there was just Paris and myself. The amount of money the federal government has to spend is immense. They invested in the case. ”
When Scates and McKee prepared to make their arrests, in March 2006—with Paris safely out of the way at the MacDougall-Walker prison as a result of the sexual assault complaint—they had a more advanced legal weapon in their arsenal. In addition to the charges of conspiracy to promote prostitution, money-laundering, and use of interstate facilities to promote prostitution, which also applied to the other offenders, Forbes, Hicks, and Paris were each indicted on two counts (one for Gwen, one for Alicia) of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion. In total, there were 56 counts and 10 offenders. “It had been so long, so involved,” recalls Sergeant McKee, “and then the turning point came—moving toward resolution, we scooped up everyone that was indicted within 24 hours.”