Brooklyn, June 2, 2010 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced the creation of a new Sex Trafficking Unit, within the Rackets Division, to target the exploitation of women and girls who are forced into the sex trade. District Attorney Hynes and NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly also announced four separate indictments against eight people charged with Sex Trafficking in Brooklyn.

“Sex Trafficking, forced sexual exploitation, is a heinous crime fueled by the greed and violence of pimps, and whenever my office encounters Sex Trafficking, we will do everything possible to ensure lengthy prison sentences,” said District Attorney Hynes. “I would like to thank Police Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD’s Vice Major Case Unit for all their work on these cases.”

“Trafficking in women and young girls for prostitution is barbaric, and deserves to be combated with the toughest sanctions available under the law,” said Police Commissioner Kelly. “I want to commend our vice detectives and the prosecutors who supported them in these arrests and indictments. I also want to commend District Attorney Hynes for focusing on the issue in a special way with the establishment of a new sex trafficking unit.”

The Sex Trafficking Unit will work with the NYPD and other agencies and community groups to combat sexual exploitation, whether victims are from Brooklyn or brought here from abroad. Members of the unit will also conduct meetings at schools and community centers, to raise awareness of sex trafficking and its potential signs; provide comprehensive services to victims, through the District Attorney’s Counseling Services Unit; and monitor a 24-hour hotline, which victims and people with knowledge of sex trafficking can call. That number is (718) 250-2770.

The first indictment being announced today charges Abking Wilcox, a reputed member of the Bloods street gang, with forcing women and girls as young as 15 into prostitution in Bushwick and Brownsville, from 2007 to 2009. Wilcox, 30, is charged with recruiting victims, who he called his “Team” from local high schools and middle schools, and forcing them to earn $500 per day – which he kept – or be beaten and denied food. He is also charged with forcing the victims to engage in sexual acts with him.

The indictment also charges that Wilcox and several other reputed Bloods gang members had a loose affiliation they called the “Horse Gang”, a reference to the “stables” of women and girls they forced into the sex trade. To maximize profits, according to the indictment, Wilcox and the Horse Gang advertised so-called “adult services” on websites, such as Craigslist and Backpage.com, and threw parties, for which they charged johns entrance fees that included the cost of sex with women and girls.

Wilcox is charged in two separate indictments. The first charges him with Sex Trafficking, a Class-B Felony; Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree, Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, and Rape in the Third Degree. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

In the second indictment, Wilcox and fellow Horse Gang members Christiana Woodbury and James Cortu – who remains at large – are charged with exploiting a 15-year-old girl. Wilcox and Cortu are charged with Sex Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree, Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree and Assault in the Second Degree. Woodbury is charged with Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree and faces up to 15 years in prison.

The investigation into Wilcox and the Horse Gang is continuing, and additional arrests are possible.

In a third, unrelated case, Taniesha Sanders, 37; her son, Eric Sanders, 18; and her cousin, Bernadette Mosely, 32, are charged with coercing a 16-year-old girl into prostitution. The girl, a friend of Taniesha Sanders’ daughter, had been staying at Taniesha Sanders’ home to escape troubles in her own home. At Taniesha Sanders’ home, the victim was forced to engage in sex acts with Sanders’ adult son, Eric, and forced into prostitution, with threats of violence, according to the indictment. Mosley, a prostitute who worked for Taniesha Sanders, is charged with escorting the girl to meetings with johns and with collecting money from them, on Sanders’ behalf.

Charges against Taniesha and Eric Sanders include Sex Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree, Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, Coercion in the First Degree, Sexual Abuse in the First Degree and Criminal Sex Act in the First Degree. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison. Mosley is charged with Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a Class-D Felony, with a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

In the fourth indictment, Lathaniel Maccoy, 22, and Kareem Clarke, 21, are charged with luring a 15-year-old girl into prostitution and then threatening her and restricting her movement and contacts with friends and family, in an effort to keep her under their control. While working on the investigation, NYPD’s Vice Major Case Unit was able to rescue the girl.

Maccoy and Clarke are charged with Sex Trafficking, Compelling Prostitution, Promoting Prostitution in the Second Degree, Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Maccoy is also charged with Rape in the Third Degree. They face up to 25 years in prison, if convicted.

An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.

The cases were investigated by Detective Frank Tedesco, Detective William Perez, and Lt. Mike Costello, of the NYPD’s Vice Major Case Squad. Chief Brian Conroy is Commanding Officer of NYPD Vice.

Assistant District Attorneys Lauren Hersh and Grace Albinson are prosecuting the cases. Michael Vecchione is Chief of the Rackets Division.

Contact: Jonah Bruno
(718) 250-2300


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