Date: September 9, 2016
REMARKS BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY ON ORANGE COUNTY HUMAN TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE PRESS CONFERENCE
SANTA ANA, Calif. – “Thank you, Task Force Members, and welcome Santa Ana Police and Costa Mesa Police – we are pleased to announce the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force efforts to “close down the corridor” for human traffickers.
What’s been happening since the last report?
The trends we are seeing are concerning. There are increases in gang activities, weapons, and younger victims.
Many of these defendants are strikers, including third strikers. We are seeing more and more gang members, especially from the Fresno area, committing these crimes in concert for the benefit of their gang. We are seeing these guys armed with fire arms. We are seeing bold defendants – they bail out, after being arrested, and go out and commit the same crimes.
Residential and massage parlor brothels are prolific and we are prosecuting a multiple of those cases. These are complicated cases involving money laundering, multiple defendants and victims. These types of cases tend to involve foreign victims. With the addition of Irvine Police last year, we hope to bring down more of these brothels.
We’ve had victims and defendants from faraway places including Oregon, Texas, Colorado, and Michigan.
One defendant trafficked six females, including one minor. One trafficker was a parolee on GPS monitoring, and another went right back to what he was doing after bailing out.
The violence is increasing. One victim was repeatedly whipped with a belt, and one was strangled, and another victims’ leg was burned with a blow torch. Others were held captive through force, threats, and weapons. Some were raped and sodomized. The victims are branded.
This year, we charged a case with our youngest victim – a 13-year-old girl. Thirteen.
Let me give you one example of a case that shows the depravity of these crimes and shows why it’s important to “close down the corridor.”
Defendant Johnny Guyton was convicted based on videos that he took and kept on his cell phone. They take place on Harbor Boulevard. He sent videos showing him threatening the victim to his associates to brag.
The victim was made to work from 6 AM to midnight. She got to see her kid three times a week if she made his quota. He made $50K off this victim. While he was abusing this victim, he recruited another victim from South Dakota. He controlled her by keeping her child away from her as well. Guyton was convicted and for 14 years in prison.
Apparently, there are warnings on the YouTube on how “unreasonable” the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force is toward predator traffickers. Let’s take a moment and watch.
https://youtu.be/gOdYIgSw7fk (See specifically 1:14 to 2:46)
Let me answer the question. What does it mean? The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force is relentless in our pursuit of sending these predators to state prison for exploiting and trafficking vulnerable victims. We are combatting modern day slavery.
Our PERP plan continues to make Orange County the most unwelcome place for these perpetrators – the exploiters and human traffickers.
PERP stands for:
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.
What has the PERP plan yielded?
Since the Orange County District Attorney’s Office created the Human Exploitation And Trafficking or the HEAT Unit, we have obtained:
Approximately 150 felony convictions, sending 70 percent of them to state prison.
Two defendants sentenced to life terms, one to 24 to life and the other to 17 to life.
Two more defendants convicted to life terms and are awaiting sentencing.
More than 100 defendants currently charged with felonies and almost 40 percent of those cases involve trafficking or attempting to traffic children.
300 sex purchasers featured on our website to tell the world what they did. One of them is a father who tried to obtain a prostitute with two young children in his car.
We have a strong message to anyone who is even thinking about committing this type of crime. Please take a hard look at us – the united law enforcement, victims groups and the community. If you commit these crimes in Orange County, know that we have a Task Force dedicated to finding you and bringing you to justice. You will go to prison for a very long time, maybe even for life.
The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force is united in our efforts to close down the corridor.