Human Traffic Watch

Prosecutors ask for dismissal in sex-trafficking case after revealing victim advertised herself as an escort

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking on March 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

A sex-trafficking case got the hook in a Brooklyn courtroom Tuesday, when prosecutors revealed their victim was advertising herself as an escort.

Prosecutors said the woman, now 19, who claimed defendant Robert Pannell forced her into prostitution in April 2011, had advertised herself online as “Sasha” as recently as last month.

The stunning revelation contradicted the accuser’s testimony that her ordeal as a 17-year-old runaway was the only time she ever turned tricks.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/sex-trafficking-vic-revealed-advertised-escort-article-1.1280418#ixzz2NBYnnSZd

What do you think? The State Department’s Trafficking in Person Report defines a sex trafficking victim as:

When an adult is coerced, forced, or deceived into prostitution – or maintained in prostitution through one of these means after initially consenting – that person is a victim of trafficking.

and

A person’s initial consent to participate in prostitution is not legally determinative: if one is thereafter held in service through psychological manipulation or physical force, he or she is a trafficking victim and should receive benefits outlined in the Palermo Protocol and applicable domestic laws.

A woman who was forced prostitute for someone against her will (even if she was already selling her body on her own terms) can still be considered a trafficking victim. Furthermore, those who were forced to sell their bodies may choose to continue to do it for themselves (or may be in another trafficking situation). This “evidence” doesn’t seem sufficient for a dismissal.

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  1. She may very well have been trafficked and forced into prostitution, but it’s very unwise not to reveal the truth to your own lawyers, and it does make the victim appear to be an unreliable witness. It’s not so much that she is currently working as an escort, but that prosecutors did not seem to be aware that she was–which really does cast her credibility about everything in question. Very sad situation.

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