Wednesday, November 5, 2008

US: Baltimore Imported Sex Trade

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - Baltimore police said they recently closed a "well-organized house of prostitution" in Upper Fells Point and a related residence in Butchers Hill, a community of well-kept rowhouses and close-knit residents. City prosecutors say it is apparently a case of human trafficking, involving Mexican women who arrived in Durham, N.C., and were transported to Baltimore to work as prostitutes.

The rare city-level case, which moved this week to Baltimore Circuit Court, exposes a flourishing underground world of human sex trafficking that is often overlooked in a city with daily exposure to more conspicuous crimes such as robbery and gun violence, said Assistant State's Attorney Joyce Lombardi.

"This kind of thing is hidden so well in the fabric of a neighborhood," said Lombardi, who helped form the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force last year. "The ringleaders are smart. They pick up and move to a new house when they're detected, so they are extremely hard to catch."

Sterling Clifford, a police spokesman, said that while "the vast majority of our prostitution issues, like many other issues, are local and drug-related," police have found other prostitution set-ups similar to the one in East Baltimore...


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