Human Trafficking Cases in California

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Cases

Sacramento Sisters Sentenced for Child Sex Trafficking
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), October 19, 2012

Sacramento, CA – Tynisha Marie Hornbuckle, 24, and Tamrell Rena Hornbuckle, 26, were sentenced for sex trafficking of minors. Two other sisters and their mother have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Victims were “branded” with the Hornbuckle name and beaten extensively. One 13-year-old victim was beaten on a daily basis.

Six arrested in Santa Rosa internet prostitution crackdown
KTVU San Francisco, September 14, 2012

Santa Rosa, CA – Police say Mike Lavella Turner acted as a pimp and drove two females to a hotel, where one solicited an undercover officer. Detectives found a 17-year-old girl inside the vehicle, as well as a loaded firearm and evidence linking Turner to human trafficking.

Judge Shuts Down Problem Oakland Motels Over Prostitution
CBS San Francisco, August 24, 2012

Oakland, CA – A judge ruled that two Oakland motels be shut down for a year. Community members, police officers and neighborhood advocates testified that the motels had long been centers for the sexual exploitation of minors.

Child sex trafficking, pornography cases up 545%
The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 23, 2012

San Diego, CA – Prosecutors in the San Diego federal courts reported filing 71 cases involving child sex trafficking and pornography last year–a 545% increase compared to six years ago. A federal program focusing on child exploitation and the work of a local law enforcement task force are credited with the surge in prosecutions, including a massive racketeering case targeting a North County gang.

Eight members of alleged sex-trafficking ring indicted
Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2012

Riverside, CA – Authorities indicted eight, including four members of the Rolling 60s Crips gang, who allegedly recruited underage girls from Inland Empire schools, on federal sex-trafficking charges. First enticing the girls with promises of glamorous lifestyles, the gang then threatened and beat them into complying.

Confessed Pimp Faces 4 Years in Prison
Novato Patch, August 3, 2012

Marin County, CA – 19-year-old Amari Folsom, identified as the human trafficker of a 14-year-old Santa Rosa girl who was forced to work as a prostitute in Marin, pleaded guilty to pandering. With his plea, Folsom is expected to be sentenced to approximately four years and eight months in prison.

31 arrested in San Diego-area ICE operation targeting criminal aliens
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), July 31, 2012

San Diego, CA – 31 individuals were taken into custody during an enforcement operation carried out by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in San Diego. 23 were criminal aliens whose conviction histories included child sex crimes, battery, domestic violence, embezzlement and possession of narcotics.

Girls Paraded Before Johns in South L.A.; International Sex Trafficking Ring Busted
LA Weekly, July 26, 2012

Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles police broke up a sex trafficking ring after witnessing girls being paraded before potential customers in the parking lot of a South L.A. motel. 45-year-old Juan Chavez and 25-year-old Maritza Marroquin were arrested and charged with pimping and pandering.

James Grady III, LA Pimp, Allegedly Forced Captive Teen To Become A Prostitute
Huffington Post, July 12, 2012

Los Angeles, CA – James Grady III has been charged with trafficking a 15-year-old girl. The girl, a runaway from a group home in Riverside, told police that Grady held her captive and threatened to torture and kill her if she failed to meet daily “quotas.”

FBI rescues 79 children from sex trafficking across the U.S.—24% in CA
Examiner,  June 26, 2012

Washington, D.C. – The FBI and local and state law enforcement announced that Operation Cross Country, a three-day nationwide sweep, rescued 79 child victims of sex trafficking across the U.S., including 19 in California. 104 human traffickers were also arrested across the country, including 23 in California.

Task force busts sex trafficking ring
CNN Freedom Project, June 11, 2012

Orange County, CA – The Orange County Human Trafficking Task  Force busted a Asian sex trafficking ring who trafficked women who they moved from China to the U.S. The women were given little food or clothing and were forced to be sex slaves in massage parlors. 

San Jose human trafficker receives nine-year prison term

Examiner, June 9, 2012

San Jose, CA –  A San Jose man was sentenced to more than nine years in prison for sex trafficking one young woman and attempting to traffick another. The human trafficking charge was the first of its kind by the San Jose police.

Woman sentenced to prison in sex trafficking case
The Sacramento Bee, June 6, 2012

Sacramento, CA – Felisha Mock was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for sex trafficking three girls who were 15, 16, and 20 at the time. Officials say she targeted young, at-risk, run-away girls.

FBI announces indictment of Long Beach man for forced labor and sex trafficking
Examiner, May 20, 2012

Long Beach, CA – Roshaun Nakia Porter of Long Beach was indicted by a federal grand jury with sex trafficking and forced labor. The FBI was contacted by Santa Ana Police Department detectives following an undercover sting operation where the detectives encountered five women who said that Porter was trafficking them for sex.

Man held in Sacramento sex-trafficking case

The Sacramento Bee, May 10, 2012

Sacramento, CA – Marquitst Piere Bradford of Sacramento is facing federal charges for sex trafficking children. He persuaded a 15-year-old girl to travel from Fresno to Sacramento where he ran a sex trafficking ring which spanned much of Northern California and several cities outside the state.

Sacramento family members plead guilty in child sex-trafficking case
The Sacramento Bee, May 4, 2012

Sacramento, CA – A Sacramento mother and her 4 adult daughters plead guilty to various charges surrounding the sex trafficking of underage girls. The women began trafficking underage girls in 2008 developing as a family an elaborate scheme to enslave girls for their own financial gain.

Gang member sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison for sex trafficking
CBS 8 San Diego, May 3, 2012

San Diego, CA – A San Diego gang member was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for trafficking a 15-year-old girl  for sex. He was convicted of a similar offense in 2006.

Long Beach man accused of running sex trafficking ring
Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2012

Long Beach, CA – Roshaun “Kevin” Nakia Porter was accused of luring women into his sextrafficking ring by cultivating relationships with them through Craigslist, relationships which the women believed were romantic and monogamous. He then would abuse the women, threaten them and their families, and force them to sell themselves to high-end clientele in the Santa Ana business district through adds on Backpage.com.

Sacramento man arrested at Burlingame hotel for human trafficking
San Mateo County Times, April 27, 2012

San Francisco, CA – Sacramento man, Marshaun Spencer Jourdan, was arrested for human trafficking and beating and attempting to strangle a woman at a motel in South San Francisco. He was trafficking the woman for sex and allegedly beat and attempted to strangle her as a punishment for her not being loyal to him.

Man charged with trafficking on suspicion of pimping 17-year-old girl in San Bruno
San Mateo County Times, April 26, 2012

San Bruno, CA – A man is facing charges for sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl out of his San Bruno home. He sold her through internet adds and threatened her with a gun if she would not comply with his rules.

San Ramon sex trafficking trial ends with guilty verdicts
Mercury News, April 11, 2012

San Ramon, CA – Two men were convicted for sex trafficking underage runaways out of a house in San Ramon and for committing sex crimes against them. The victims were 13-, 16-, and 17 -years-old when they ran away from a foster care receiving center in Sacramento and were picked up by strangers at a light rail station to be sexually exploited.

Rios arrested on suspicion of rape, pimping
The Press-Enterprise, April 4, 2012

Moreno Valley, CA – School board member Mike Rios was arrested for sex trafficking minors along with other charges. Rios used his position as a school board member to recruit girls.

Testimony: Monterey woman pimped out girl, 17
KSBW The Central Coast, ‎March 1, 2012‎

Monterey, CA – A Monterey woman was arrested for trafficking a 17-year-old girl for sex. The women befriended the runaway teen in the Bay Area and brought her to Monterey with plans of selling her there.
Parolee arrested in pimping of 15-year-old girl
The Orange County Register, February 28, 2012
Anaheim, CA – Italo Boone, a parolee from Oakland wanted on a narcotics violation, was arrested in Anaheim after investigators tracked down a 15- year-old girl suspected of being trafficked for sex in a hotel room registered to his name.
Monterey, CA – A tip that a runaway teen had been brought to Monterey to be trafficked for sex lead to the arrest of Aaliya Solange Ali Person. Evidence showed that Person was not only human trafficking, but also was involved in drugs. The teen has been reunited with a family member.
A Stockton man was arrested for sex trafficking girls as young as 13. Reportedly he would target runaways and recruited at least one girl from a foster home. He was sentenced to 27 years in state prison.

Los Angeles, CA – A Los Angeles man was arrested on suspicion of forcing a child into prostitution and sexually assaulting her.  Michael Vincent Pree is accused of having sex with a 12-year-old girl repeatedly and prostituting her over the course of a week.

Oceanside man gets 30 years for sex trafficking 17-yr. old.
Los Angeles Times, December 19, 2011

Oceanside, CA – 41-year-old Maurice Lerome Smith from Oceanside was sentenced to 30 years in prison after being convicted of prostituting a 17-year-old girl. Through internet ads offering sex with an underage female,  Smith made as much as $1200 a day.

5 Men Charged With Forcing Minors Into Prostitution in North Hollywood
StudioCity.patch.com, December 15, 2011

North Hollywood, CA – Investigations by the Los Angeles Innocence Lost Task Force led to the arrest of five men who are believed to have been transporting minors from the Inland Empire area to Long Beach, then to North Hollywood to prostitute them. Three of the men are admitted gang members.

Husband and wife charged with sex trafficking teenagers in South San Francisco
US Department of Justice Press Release, December 6, 2011

Oakland, CA – A couple was charged in Oakland for sex trafficking teenage girls. They reportedly recruited the girls by promising money, drugs, and a “family-like environment.” Instead they used physical force, threats, and drugs to maintain control as they sexually exploited the teenagers.

Man Charged With Trafficking 3 Texas Girl for Sex
CBS Los Angeles, August 15, 2011

Santa Ana, CA – Samuel Martinez Gonzalez of Santa Ana lured three 15- to 16-year-old girls from Texas by offering to take them to the beach. Instead, it soon became clear his intentions were to sexually exploit them.

Human Trafficking Sentencing in San Diego
New Release from the Office of the United States Attorney Southern District of California, August 22, 2011

San Diego, CA – Charles Duan Hamilton was sentenced by a federal court in San Diego to serve 141 months in custody, plus 10 years of supervised release for one count of sex trafficking of a minor. He was also ordered to pay $3,200.07 in restitution to the victim. He admittedly sex trafficked a 16-year-old girl.

Feds indict 38 in gang-run prostitution
North County Times, April 18, 2011

Oceanside, CA – A major sex trafficking ring was broken up by Federal officials leading to 29 arrests of gang members and the owners of a hotel. They reportedly used social networking sites to recruit young women. 30 minors, many who were runaways, were rescued.

Fremont Woman Sentenced in Human Trafficking Case
US Department of Justice, November 17, 2010

Fremont, CA – A Fremont woman was sentenced to more than three years in prison for the human trafficking of a Chinese woman who she forced into domestic servitude. She confiscating the woman’s passport, visa, and other documentation, physically abused and enslaved her for over a year.

Beverly Hills Company behind Largest Human Trafficking Case in U.S. History
Beverly Hills Courier, September 2, 2010

Beverly Hills, CA – A Beverly Hills recruitment agency’s senior management has been indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit forced labor against 400 Thai farm workers. Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said “It’s one of the largest human trafficking cases in U.S. history.”

Retrial in Human Trafficking Case
Daily Pilot, August 21, 2010

Costa Mesa, CA –  Two men who were sentenced to life in prison will get a retrial after judges ruled that a lack of instruction was given to the jury. Reynaldo Eid Jr. and Alaor Oliveira Jr. were convicted of kidnapping and holding an illegal immigrant mother and her child in a Costa Mesa motel for ransom. The traffickers’ claim that they were unaware that the victims wanted to leave.

Two Arrested In Human Trafficking Case
KCRA.com, March 30, 2010

Paso Robles, CA – A Paso Robles couple was arrested on suspicion of smuggling Filipino nationals into the U.S. and into forced servitude, a form of human trafficking. The trafficking victims were forced to work in residential care facilities by way of debt bondage, the victims were told that they would be deported or that their families would be harmed if they did not pay off their “debt.”

Walnut Creek Woman Found Guilty of Trafficking Nanny from Peru
U.S. Department of State press release, October 9, 2009; Fox Reno, November 18, 2009; SF Gate, April 15, 2010

Oakland, CA – Mabelle de la Rosa Dan was sentenced to five years under Federal law, $123,740 in restitution and three years of supervised release for enslaving a Peruvian nanny. Dan forced the women to work as a nanny of her children for two years through false promises of pay. She confiscated the woman’s passport and identification and lead the nanny to believe that she would be accused of theft if she fled.

Santa Clara County secured its first conviction under state trafficking laws
San Mateo County Times, September 10, 2009

San Mateo, CA – Timothy Richardson and Robert Hendricks pleaded guilty to sex trafficking two women. Hendricks met the victims in Lake Tahoe, trafficked them several weeks for sex, then sold them to Richardson.  Richardson received a sentence of 6 years and 4 months and Hendricks received a 3 year sentence.

Police find underage prostitutes online, try to lead them from life
The Modesto Bee, May 29, 2008.

Though this article mislabeled the victims as “prostitutes,” it is a great article with real stories of underage sex trafficking and the internet.

Sacramento, CA – It is a growing problem that young girls are being trafficked for sex online by the use of bulletin board sites like craigslist.com. These girls are often disguised behind photos advertising older women, though many are much younger than 18. Enslaved in a world of sexually exploitation, manipulation, and abuse, escaping that life can often seem a distant fantasy.

Human trafficking case ends for 48 Thai welders
Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2006

Long Beach, CA – An immigrant welder from Thailand thought he was coming to the U.S. to work on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for wages six times what he earned in Thailand, but instead he was forced to work 13 hour days living in poor conditions while only receiving a total of $220 dollars for three months work. Experts say that laborers make up at least half of those trafficked into the U.S. annually.

Irvine pair guilty in child slave case
The Orange County Register, June 30, 2006

Santa Ana, CA - An Egyptian couple pleaded guilty to forcing a 10-year-old Egyptian girl to work as their domestic servant. The couple had also taken her passport, forbidden her from attending school, and would physically and verbally abuse her.

U.S. Agents Crack West Coast Human Smuggling
America.gov, July 1, 2005

Los Angeles/San Francisco, CA – The federal government arrested more than 40 people in Los Angeles and San Francisco after uncovering a sophisticated human trafficking ring suspected of bringing hundreds of South Korean women to the United States to traffick them for sex. This operation involved more than 100 Korean women. Many told investigators that they were taken from their country against their will and forced to work as erotic masseuses.

Modern day slave story, a common tale in Los Angeles
Santa Monica Daily Press, September 3, 2004

Los Angeles, CA – Nena Jimeno Ruiz was enslaved in a Sony Pictures executive’s house and was awarded $1.6 million for damages. She was lured from the Philippines under false pretenses then forced to work as a domestic slave for a year.

More Cases in California

From the California Alliance to Combat Trafficking and Slavery (CA ACTS) report Human Trafficking in California,” October 2007 page 18

The crime of human trafficking can involve one individual or a large group of victims. Examples of human trafficking cases in California reveal the wide variety of enterprises and situations in which individuals and groups are subjected to slave-like conditions:

In 2001, a Berkeley landlord and restaurateur, Lakireddy Bali Reddy, was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison for smuggling teenage girls from India in a sex and labor exploitation ring spanning 15 years and operating in India and California. He repeatedly raped and sexually abused his victims and forced them to work in his businesses. A 17-year old girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an apartment he owned. (Human Rights Center. 2005. Freedom Denied: Forced Labor in California. University of California, Berkeley.)

In December 2006, a financial settlement was reached on behalf of 48 Thai welders hired through Kota Manpower Inc. of Thailand and Los Angeles, accused of forcing them to live in squalor while working for little or no pay. (Los Angeles Times. December 8, 2006. “Human trafficking case ends for 48 Thai welders.”)

In June 2006, a couple from Egypt pleaded guilty to forcing a 10-year-old Egyptian girl to work as a domestic servant to their family of seven in Irvine. The couple had forced the girl to sleep in the garage, with no light or ventilation, and had forbidden her to attend school or see a doctor in two years. (Orange County Register. June 30, 2006. “Irvine pair guilty in child slave case ” “ Egyptian nationals plead guilty to four charges in Irvine human-trafficking cases”; United States Attorney, Central District of California, press release. February 2, 2005. “Irvine couple indicted on involuntary servitude charges for holding girl as virtual slave to serve their family.”)

In July 2005, the federal government arrested more than 40 people in Los Angeles and San Francisco and seized more than $3 million in illicit proceeds in Operation Gilded Cage. This operation involved more than 100 Korean women, many of whom told investigators that they were taken from their country against their will and forced to work as erotic masseuses. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. July 1, 2005. “U.S. Agents Crack West Coast Human Smuggling, Trafficking Ring.”)

In September 2004, a financial settlement was reached on behalf of Nena Jimeno Ruiz, who was lured to Los Angeles from the Philippines under false pretenses, then forced to work 18-hour days at the home of an executive at Sony Pictures. She had to sleep on a dog bed and was threatened with never seeing her family again if she complained. (Santa Monica Daily Press. September 3, 2004.)

In 2001, Victoria Island Farms settled a civil suit that resulted in the payment of back wages to California asparagus harvesters who were forced to harvest the high-priced vegetable in substandard conditions for virtually no pay in the San Joaquin Delta region of California. Hired by a farm labor contractor, the workers, recruited mostly from Mexico, were powerless to stop the huge deductions for transportation and other “debts” the employer took from their weekly paychecks.

In 2000, Sammy Cheung was sentenced to over 12 years in prison for leading a criminal ring in which he recruited several women and girls from Mexico to work as prostitutes in Long Beach. During this time he kept the victims under guard and forced them to work without pay until police freed the captives after raiding the brothel.

In 1999, a Thai woman, Supawan Veerapool, was sentenced to eight years in prison for bringing a domestic worker from Thailand to Los Angeles to provide household support in her home, confiscating the worker’s passport. She then forced her to work 24-hour days six days a week for nine years until the victim escaped in 1998.

In 1995, 72 Thai workers were discovered in a garment factory in the City of El Monte, Los Angeles County, in a compound surrounded by fences tipped with barbed wire. Some had been held for as long as seven years. (New York Times. August 4, 1995. “Thai Workers Are Set Free in California.”)