Long Island Horror: Sex Traffickers Enslave Teenaged Women
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
Federal agents and local police officers arrested two owners and the manager of two bars in Long Island, New York following a sex-trafficking investigation. According to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police, the three suspects are accused of trafficking young women and physically forcing them to perform sex acts for customers.
Antonio Rivera, 34, Jasmin Rivera, 31 and John Whaley, 34, all Long Island residents, face charges of conspiracy, sex trafficking, forced labor and harboring illegal aliens.
According to the criminal complaint, the investigation revealed Antonio Rivera, a registered sex offender, and his sister Jasmin Rivera owned and operated the Sonidos de la Frontera bar, located in Lake Ronkonkoma, and the La Hija del Mariachi bar, located in Farmingville. Whaley was employed as a manager for both bars.
From September 2007 through August 2009, the Riveras and Whaley allegedly lured young women, primarily Central American illegal aliens, to work in the bars as waitresses and hostesses. Some of the women were as young as 17 years of age.
Court documents reveal that after the women began working in the bars, the three suspects forced them to engage in sex acts with bar patrons in exchange for money, with the defendants keeping half of the proceeds. When the women refused or resisted, the defendants used physical force, including rape and assaults, and threatened to report the women to immigration authorities.
The suspects also controlled the movement of the women between the bars and other locations in Hempstead, Huntington and Brentwood sections of Long Island, transporting them in vehicles registered to the Riveras and Whaley. The complaint also charges the defendants with conspiring to harbor illegal aliens by concealing the women’s true identities and immigration status from state licensing agencies and law enforcement authorities.
“As alleged in the indictment, these defendants lured innocent young women into the United States with promises of legitimate jobs and the American dream, but once the victims arrived, their dreams turned into nightmares as the defendants used threats and violence to force them into prostitution,” said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton. “ICE is at the forefront of the U.S. government’s response to international human trafficking. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat this egregious crime.”
“As described in the complaint, sex trafficking preys upon vulnerable young women for profit and degrades both the individual victims and the communities where these crimes are committed,” said Benton J. Campbell, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “This office will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute such crimes.”
“These serious crimes against young women will not be tolerated in Suffolk County. This department values its role as the local law enforcement component of the Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force for Long Island,” said Richard Dormer, police commissioner for the Suffolk County Police Department. “This case demonstrates the effectiveness of the task force paradigm, which coordinates the efforts of local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as community service agencies, support groups, and educational entities. We hope these arrests will put others on notice that sex trafficking and similar crimes will continue to be a high priority for this department.”
“Forced labor is tantamount to enslavement. The form of forced labor charged here made young women, some of them minors, sex slaves,” said Joseph M. Demarest, assistant director in charge of the FBI in New York. “As inhuman as that was, if they resisted, they were allegedly subjected to even worse. We are committed to protecting the vulnerable, whatever their status.”
“People typically don’t think about IRS Criminal Investigators being involved with a sex trafficking case. But what it all comes down to is greed,” said Patricia J. Haynes, special agent in charge of the IRS in New York. Our value to this investigation comes through working with our law enforcement partners and use of our financial expertise to track down the proceeds of the charged crimes.”
The investigation and arrests were led by ICE and conducted jointly with the FBI, IRS and Suffolk County Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Demetri Jones and John Durham with the Eastern District of New York.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he’s the new editor for the House Conservatives Fund’s weblog. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He’s former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed “Crack City” by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He’s also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He’s a news writer for TheConservativeVoice.Com and PHXnews.com. He’s also a columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he’s syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. He’s appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc.
To subscribe to Kouri’s newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write “Subcription” on the subject line.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.