For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
*First sex purchaser to have identity publicized following formation of OCDA’s HEAT Unit
WESTMINSTER – A man has been convicted and sentenced for picking up a prostitute and arranging to pay her $30 for sex. This defendant was arrested after the April 2013 creation of the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Human Exploitation And Trafficking (HEAT) Unit and is the first to be convicted after the OCDA’s announcement that the identities of convicted sex purchases will be publicized. Hugo Perez, 31, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of agreeing to engage in prostitution and one misdemeanor count of driving without a license. He was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 15 days in jail with the possibility of CalTrans in lieu of jail, and must submit to AIDS testing and education.
The area of Beach Boulevard and Chapman Avenue in Stanton is known to law enforcement to be a high-prostitution area and is known to frequently be used by individuals who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers.
On May 2, 2013, a deputy from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) observed a female working as a prostitute on Beach Boulevard near Chapman Avenue in Stanton. Perez stopped his car near Beach Boulevard and the female approached Perez’s car window and then got into the vehicle. The defendant drove without a valid license to a nearby motel. The OCSD deputy followed the vehicle to the Jade Motel in Stanton and contacted the defendant. Perez admitted to the deputy that he had picked up a prostitute and was going to pay her $30 for sex.
This case was prosecuted by the OCDA’s HEAT Unit, which targets perpetrators who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers. Commercial sex trafficking is the second most lucrative criminal enterprise behind narcotics trafficking. Often the perpetrators are gang members and/or career criminals.
The HEAT Unit also targets defendants who create a demand for prostitution by soliciting and purchasing sex, which increases the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. The HEAT Unit uses a tactical plan called PERP: Prosecution of human trafficking perpetrators and sex purchasers; Education for law enforcement to properly handle human trafficking and pandering cases; Resources to raise public awareness and provide assistance to the victims; and Publicity to inform the community about the problem and notify human traffickers and sex purchasers that this crime cannot be perpetrated without suffering severe consequences.
The OCDA will publicize the names of defendants convicted of sexually exploiting women or children by soliciting sex acts.