Wednesday, 10. April 2013
Four members of a St. Paul family have been charged with a variety of felony charges after it was uncovered that they have been running a sex-trafficking ring for almost two years.
During those two years, two brothers and their uncles ran what Ramsey County Attorney John Choi called “an evil conspiracy” that severely impacted the lives of the alleged victims. The perpetrators allegedly used the controversial website Backpage.com to advertise the services. Although more details are expected to be made public, at least one of the victims was a 15-year old girl.
Otis D. Washington, 29, Antonio D. Washington-Davis, 27, and their uncles Calvin R, Washington, 49, and Robert J. Washington, 56, were charged with multiple sex trafficking crimes in connection with their involvement in the ring. A female accomplice, Elizabeth Ann Alexander, 25, was also charged for her involvement.
When announcing the arrests, Choi said the defendants were motivated by greed.
“All of the defendants are a part of an evil conspiracy to enslave women and girls for their own financial gain,” said Choi. “The defendants have caused unimaginable horror and harm to the victims as well as to our community over a considerable period of time.”
Exposing the ring is a step in the right direction, and it highlights how important it is that we continue to fight against sexual abuse. In a previous post, we noted that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and a new bill called the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth bill is making its way through Minnesota legislation.
The bill asks for $14 million to provide shelters, services and treatment for victims of sexual assault. Many proponents of the bill say it is a response to the rising amount of sex-trafficking taking place across the state.
The bill is running under the campaign “MN Girls Are Not For Sale”, and Choi offered a similar, localized sentiment when announcing the latest arrests.
“Women and girls are not for sale in Ramsey County,” said Choi.
Related source: Star Tribune