SANTA ANA, Calif. – A recently transplanted Colorado man was arraigned on charges of trafficking, pimping, and pandering a woman. Michael James Swanson, 52, Anaheim, was charged yesterday with one felony count of human trafficking, one felony count of pandering by procuring, and one felony count of pimping. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 21 years and four months in state prison. He is being held on $250,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. He was arraigned yesterday and is scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing on May 5, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
Circumstances of the CaseSwanson is accused of being a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. 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.
Between April 21, 2016, and April 25, 2016, Swanson is accused of trafficking Jane Doe and forcing her to work for him as a commercial sex worker. The defendant is accused of posting sexually explicit advertisements of Jane Doe on a website known for prostitution. Swanson is accused of collecting all of the money Jane Doe earned from engaging in commercial sex. Jane Doe fled from the motel she was staying and contacted law enforcement.
On April 25, 2016, a concerned family member of Jane Doe contacted the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) and shared that the victim was living in fear and needed help. OCHTTF arrived and discovered Jane Doe was at nearby restaurant and had contacted the Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD). Jane Doe was visibly scared while speaking to law enforcement. A short time later, Swanson drove in to the same location and was subsequently arrested by OCSD.
At the time of his arrest, Swanson is accused of possessing multiple cell phones and condoms. OCSD and OCHTTF conducted further investigation. Swanson is accused of registering a room in his name at a local motel and sending text messages to Jane Doe consistent with human trafficking, pimping, and pandering.
Members of 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 OCSD and OCHTFF, a partnership between Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, Irvine Police Department, OCDA, OCSD, Santa Ana Police Department and community and non-profit partners.
Deputy District Attorney Juliet Oliver of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.
Proposition 35 and HEATIn 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 # 16NF1249 / April 28, 2016