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October 30, 2015

MAN AND WOMAN CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING, PIMPING, AND PANDERING TEENAGE GIRL BY USING SOCIAL MEDIA

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:53 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man and woman were charged today with human trafficking, pimping, and pandering of a teenage girl by using social media. John Williams, 34, and Jazmine CC Davenport-Culpepper, 23, both of Riverside, are charged with one felony count each of human trafficking, pimping, and pandering. If convicted, both defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison. Williams and Davenport-Culpepper are each being held on $250,000 bail and must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Both defendants are scheduled for pre-trial, Nov. 5, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case

Williams is accused of being a human trafficker/pimp and Davenport-Culpepper is accused of working for him as a prostitute and recruiting other women to prostitute for Williams. In the pimp/prostitution subculture, pimps exploit women for financial gain often assign ranks to the women they exploit. With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims. They often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy,” assigning seats in the car based on “rank,” and setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. 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 deprivation of food and/or physical or emotional abuse. Davenport-Culpepper is accused of being the highest-ranking of William’s prostitutes.

In October 2015, Williams is accused of using social media to contact Jane Doe. Williams is accused of pandering Jane Doe by telling the victim that he worked for a record label and that if she spent time with him, he could connect her to people in the music industry. Williams is accused of manipulating the victim in order to force her to engage in commercial sex for his benefit. Both of the defendants are accused of traveling with the victim to areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Orange County. Davenport-Culpepper is accused of telling the victim how to solicit commercial sex and taking sexually explicit photos of the victim to post on websites known for prostitution and human trafficking. Williams is accused of threatening Jane Doe with violence if attempted to leave or did not meet the $400 quota that he set. Williams is also accused of depriving the victim of food and/or sleep if she did not meet the quota and forcing the victim to work seven days a week.

The Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) began investigating this case after the victim contacted an Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputy in Stanton. Both of the defendants were arrested by members of the OCHTTF that day in Buena Park.

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 Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, Irvine Police Department, OCDA, OCSD, and community and non-profit partners.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of 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; andPublicity, 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.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 15NF2895 / October 28, 2015

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