Saturday, February 23, 2008

Washington D.C. Couple Charged with Sex Trafficking

Adams Morgan, Washington D.C.

From the Examiner:

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - A D.C. couple was arrested on charges of human trafficking and prostituting young females from Mexico and Honduras, according to charging documents filed in federal court.

The arrests of Franklin Yasir Mejia-Macedo and Yaneth Martinez grew out of an investigation centered in North Carolina, according to court documents.

“These arrest were made out of an ongoing investigation, that is really all I can say,” said Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Richard Rocha. Mejia and Martinez had business cards printed up for services such as “Hair Cuts for Men Only” and “Flowers Home Delivery,” and handed them to men on the streets of D.C.’s predominately Hispanic neighborhood such as Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights, authorities said. The business cards are commonly used to advertise prostitution, according to an ICE special agent who signed the charging document filed in U.S. District Court.

“Based on my experience in investigating human trafficking, interstate transportation for prostitution and related offenses, I know that such language [is] commonly used as code language to advertise prostitution,” the special agent wrote.

The human trafficking and prostitution operation came to the attention of federal law enforcement when Martinez, 33, unwittingly handed one of her cards to a federal source, according to documents. On Monday, federal agents arrested her and Mejia at their Petworth residence. A 24-year-old woman at the residence told agents she served as a prostitute and shared her earnings with Martinez, according to documents.

Mejia admitted that he was a native of Honduras and living illegally in the United States. Mejia was charged with unlawful transportation of an alien. Martinez was picked up on arrest warrant out of North Carolina on charges of sex trafficking.

Read the full article

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