News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Thurs. July 3, 2014: A 37-year-old Jamaican man is facing fifteen years to life in prison after being found guilty for his role in a sex trafficking operation.
Damion St. Patrick Baston, of New York, was convicted on July 1 on three counts of sex trafficking – both in the United States and Australia – five counts of transporting multiple individuals for prostitution, one count of importation of an alien for prostitution, one count of using a passport secured by false statement, one count of aggravated identity theft and nine counts of money laundering.
Baston was also found guilty of illegally re-entering the United States after being previously removed.
According to court documents Baston victimized seven women in the Middle East, Australia and the United States. Six victims bravely testified at trial that they had been trafficked for sex beginning in 2011 in various cities including Miami. Baston had been ordered removed from the United States in the late 1990s but stole the identity of an American citizen, which he used to obtain a Florida ID card and U.S. passport in that person’s name. Baston used this false identity for international travel as he continued to recruit and victimize women.
The verdict was the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) offices in Miami, Orlando, New York and Singapore, as well as the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Australian Federal Police and the Dubai Police Department.
Baston is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 5th before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, who presided over the trial.
“This case brought us halfway around the world to ensure justice for the victims,” said Alysa D. Erichs, special agent in charge of HSI Miami. “HSI, along with our federal and international law enforcement partners, will continue to work diligently to ensure international boundaries do not hinder the enforcement of justice.”
“The bravery of the victims in this case is commendable. Their testimony demonstrated that despite the terrible abuse that they suffered from this defendant they are truly survivors,” added U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. “We can never forget that human trafficking is a heinous crime that exploits people; it simply cannot be tolerated.”