Case # 16NF0575

Date: February 24, 2016


SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged and arraigned today for the human trafficking, pimping, and pandering of three women and a 15-year-old girl and smashing a car window when one victim attempted to escape. Clifford Tyrone Lawrence, 27, San Francisco, is charged with three felony counts of human trafficking, one felony count of human trafficking of a minor, one felony count of pimping a minor, one felony count of pandering with a minor under the age of 16 by procuring, three felony counts of pimping, three felony counts of pandering, one misdemeanor count of vandalism causing damage of $400 or more, and one misdemeanor count of child abuse. If convicted, Lawrence faces a maximum sentence of 32 years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. Lawrence is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on March 3, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case

Lawrence is accused of being a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. The victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in physical and/or emotional abuse.

On Nov. 26, 2015, Lawrence is accused of meeting and beginning a romantic relationship with Jane Doe 1. The defendant is accused of traveling with Jane Doe 1 to areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Orange County. Lawrence is accused of pandering Jane Doe 1 by promising her a better life if she engaged in commercial sex for his benefit.

On multiple occasions between Nov. 26, 2015, and Feb. 22, 2016, Lawrence is accused of hitting Jane Doe 1, resulting in bruising and minor injuries requiring hospital treatment.

During that time, Lawrence is accused of recruiting Jane Doe 2, Jane Doe 3, and 15-year-old Jane Doe 4 to engage in commercial sex acts for his benefit. The defendant is accused of driving with the victims to areas known for prostitution in Orange County. Lawrence is accused depriving the personal liberty of Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 with the intent to cause them to engage in commercial sex acts for his own financial gain.

On Feb. 22, 2016, Jane Doe 1 called a relative, who drove with a family member and a 6-month-old infant to Anaheim to pick up the victim and help her flee from the defendant. Lawrence is accused of seeing Jane Doe 1 entering the vehicle and sitting in the front passenger seat. The defendant is accused of approaching the vehicle and hitting and kicking the front passenger side door and window. Lawrence is accused of shattering the vehicle’s window, causing glass to fall inside the vehicle and hit the infant.

Officers from the Anaheim Police Department (APD) responded to the scene and began investigating this case with members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF). Lawrence was arrested at the scene.

Members of the OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the APD, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, Irvine Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Ana Police Department, and community and non-profit partners.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT

In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.

A component of the OCHTTF is the OCDA’s Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers. The HEAT Unit uses a tactical plan called PERP: Prosecution, to bring justice for victims of human trafficking and hold perpetrators responsible using Prop 35; Education, to provide law enforcement training to properly handle human trafficking and pandering cases; Resources from public-private partnerships to raise public awareness about human trafficking and provide assistance to the victims; and Publicity, to inform the public and send a message to human traffickers that this crime cannot be perpetrated without suffering severe consequences.  

Under the law, human trafficking is described as depriving or violating the personal liberty of another person with the intent to effect a violation of pimping or pandering. Pimping is described as knowingly deriving financial support in whole or in part from the proceeds of prostitution. Pandering is the act of persuading or procuring an individual to become a prostitute, or procuring and/or arranging for a person work in a house of prostitution.

Penal Code Section 236.1 defines:

(1) “Coercion” includes any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process; debt bondage; or providing and facilitating the possession of any controlled substance to a person with the intent to impair the person’s judgment.

(2) “Commercial sex act” means sexual conduct on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.

(3) “Deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another” includes substantial and sustained restriction of another’s liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out.

(4) “Duress” includes a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to cause a reasonable person to acquiesce in or perform an act which he or she would otherwise not have submitted to or performed; a direct or implied threat to destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim; or knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim.

(5) “Forced labor or services” means labor or services that are performed or provided by a person and are obtained or maintained through force, fraud, duress, or coercion, or equivalent conduct that would reasonably overbear the will of the person.

(6) “Great bodily injury” means a significant or substantial physical injury.

(7) “Minor” means a person less than 18 years of age.

(8) “Serious harm” includes any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing labor, services, or commercial sexual acts in order to avoid incurring that harm.

(i) The total circumstances, including the age of the victim, the relationship between the victim and the trafficker or agents of the trafficker, and any handicap or disability of the victim, shall be factors to consider in determining the presence of “deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another,” “duress,” and “coercion” as described in this section.