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“The challenge with the farms continue to be the women trafficked at farms come from out of state and they are often people without lawful status.
They believe that law enforcement is not your friend.” At the time, Ross said the men were arrested under the Mann Act, is commonly called the White Slave Traffic Act, enacted in 1910 to protect against transporting a person for commercial sex.
“The reality is, if there is prostitution, there is a high probability it’s trafficking,” said Rutland City Police Sgt. “While investigations, prosecutions and penalties have increased throughout recent years,” it says, “many traffickers still believe the high profit margin to be worth the risk of detection.” In 2013, Vermont State Police arrested two Connecticut firefighters in Ludlow on charges of aggravated sexual assault and slave trafficking for paid sex acts that took place in Ludlow over the course of 12 years.
According to police, Brett Bartoletta of Cavendish and Frank Meyer of West Haven, Conn., bought and sold sex from a boy, starting from the time the boy was 12. Or consider the 2012 federal arrest in Vermont of four men for selling sex at several Vermont farms.
Most think these illicit businesses operate out of New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and other large urban areas. With traffickers moving into smaller rural communities, along with the surge of online sites like Craigslist and backpage, the selling of sex can happen anywhere — including Vermont. “When we look at these cases and come across a victim, inevitably if we go to backpage; it will be confirmed on backpage that photos were taken and posted.” According to an Urban Institute 2014 report, women, children, and men are being sold for sex against their will in cities and towns in all 50 states. “We have to talk to the victims and often they are missing or unwilling to talk.” Just because the clandestine movements of traffickers are rarely seen on Vermont street corners, it does not mean the state is immune.
“The online piece, backpage, is a big part of this industry,” said Heather Ross, assistant U. Even pristine rural landscapes that make Vermont life seem breathtakingly more serene are marred by the business of selling slaves for sex. We need to make it a priority.” One factor driving the practice is that the profit-to-risk ratio is attractive to traffickers, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center.
One of the men, Alejandro Enrique Young-Hernandez, who was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, was a Vermont state employee who facilitated the movements of the traffickers from farm to farm, the affidavit said.
Another of the men charged, Jose Tomas Flores-Rocha, 53, an illegal alien born in Mexico, pleaded guilty to transporting a person from New York to Vermont.
He told the court that he drove more than five women to Vermont farms for sex.
While enslaved in the sex trade, Marino said she kept a journal every day, giving her a sort of lifeline. Marino did work in massage parlors, but she was also forced to post her body for sale on Craigslist, she said.
In her journal, she recorded how much money she made. A notorious sex trafficking site, known to those in the business, is backpage, owned by Village Voice Media and New Times Media.
According to court records, the men were transporting five or more young Mexican women from New York to Vermont to have sex with farm workers for money.