The cases below are true incidents and examples of the many similar cases that have been identified in the Clearwater area. CPD and our Tampa area law enforcement partners are currently investigating other active cases.
As of August 2012, task force statistics include: 131 arrests with 47 convictions, 197 reported as potential victims, 45 victims have been confirmed as severe forms of Human Trafficking, 35 victims have been granted continued presence, 4 victims have been awarded their T-Visa, and 44 juveniles reported as potential victims.
Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
May 10, 2013
Media Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
Attorney General Pam Bondi and Clearwater Police Chief Anthony Holloway Announce Arrest of Two Individuals on Human Trafficking Related Charges
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi and Clearwater Police Department Chief Anthony Holloway, as well as other partnering agencies, today announced the arrest of two Clearwater individuals for their alleged involvement in a human trafficking ring. Peter D. Kitt (2-12-72) and Shawn D. Franklin (11-30-70) were both charged with racketeering and conspiracy/racketeering, which was predicated on numerous egregious criminal acts, for their alleged participation in the sex trafficking of approximately 16 women. This case was surrounded by force, fraud and coercion by the suspects. The defendants are each being held on $1 million bond. The Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute this case.
“These arrests are the first step in bringing justice and peace to the victims of this alleged sex trafficking ring,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “Florida is a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking, and any individuals engaged in this abhorrent crime will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“This is a great day for the task force to take really violent guys off the street and to rescue at least 16 victims. It's hard to believe that these things happen in our towns and in our neighborhoods. Human trafficking is violent and it is real, and we are dedicated to stopping it in the Tampa Bay Area,” stated Clearwater Police Chief Anthony Holloway.
Partnering agencies include:
· Clearwater Police Department
· Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution
· Department of Homeland Security
· Florida Department of Law Enforcement
· State Attorney Bernie McCabe
· Tampa Police Department
· Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
· Largo Police Department
· Pinellas Park Police Department
· St. Petersburg Police Department
In October 2006, the Clearwater Florida Police Department was awarded a Department of Justice grant to fund the creation of the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking (CATFHT). The mission of the task force is to identify and rescue victims, create a coordinated law enforcement system to investigate and prosecute these crimes, and to deliver social, legal and immigration services to human trafficking victims in the Clearwater and Tampa Bay area. Human trafficking is the exploitation by force, fraud or coercion of vulnerable people for forced labor, domestic servitude, or commercial sex operations. Human trafficking has become a multi-billion dollar global crime impacting nations - and neighborhoods - around the world.
If someone is a victim, they can contact the Clearwater Area Task Force on Human Trafficking at 727-562-4917 or Florida’s hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.
For more information on Attorney General Bondi’s efforts to make Florida zero-tolerance for human trafficking, visit MyFloridaLegal.com.
Incident: Federal Violations- Harboring/Transporting of Illegal Aliens
Unlawful employment of Illegal Aliens.
Location: Chopsticks Super Buffet - 2543 Countryside Blvd., #1, Clearwater, Florida
Suspects: Jenny Huang A/F, 06-10-1980
Guang Lin, A/M, 06-10-1980
Synopsis:The Clearwater Area Task Force on Human Trafficking began an investigation into potential Human Trafficking and Harboring of Illegal Aliens based on a tip received from a patrol officer.
With the assistance of Homeland Security and FBI, federal charges were initiated against the owners of Chopsticks Super Buffet. On 10-19-2011, Clearwater Area Task Force on Human Trafficking- as well as local, state and federal officials-served four simultaneous search warrantsresulting in the collection of additional evidence. On 04-18-2013, Defendant Guany Lin pled guilty to Federal Harboring charges and received 12 months in Federal prison, 24 months probation and a $15,000.00 fine. Lin will also be deported back to China as he is an illegal Alien. Defendant Jenny Huang pled guilty to Federal Harboring charges and received time served, 60 months of probation and a $15,000.00 fine.
LUTZ MAN INDICTED ON DRUG CONSPIRACY AND SEX TRAFFICKING CHARGES
Tampa, FL - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the return by a federal grand jury of an indictment charging Andrew Blane Fields (62, Lutz) with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances, namely Oxycodone, Dilaudid, and Morphine, three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, and two counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. If convicted on all counts, Fields faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
According to the indictment, at least as early as 2008 through the end of 2012, Fields engaged in the sex trafficking of three different victims for commercial gain. Fields coerced and controlled the victims by, among other methods, supplying them with a large number of highly addictive prescription drugs on a daily basis. During the execution of a federal search warrant, law enforcement recovered thousands of prescription pills from Fields' residence. Fields was previously charged by criminal complaint on March 20, 2013.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.Back to Top
CASE:In 2009, several women (domestic) were rescued from a human trafficking ring in Pinellas County, Florida in a case initiated by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office which is an active member of the Clearwater/Tampa Bay Area Task Force on Human Trafficking. The women's cell phones and all their personal identification were taken away. The abuse was violent: mental, physical and sexual, with an attempt to control their minds... The women were forced to dance and sell themselves at various nightclubs. Warned that they would be harmed or killed if they escaped or talked to anyone, someone watched them wherever they went." The case is still active. For the 2009 news report, click here.
CASE: In 2007, a 15 year old Mexican girl was rescued in the Clearwater area after having been trafficked into the US and becoming pregnant by her trafficker. The trafficker was arrested and prosecuted in another state and the victim was case- managed by Clearwater Area Task Force victim services agencies. She has since been certified by HHS as a victim of a severe form of trafficking and received her T-Visa.
CASE: In 2007, two female victims were rescued in the Clearwater and Tampa Bay areas who had been trafficked into the U.S. by large, organized criminal prostitution enterprise operating out of Guatamala and Colombia. The defendants in this case were convicted and sentenced up to 20 years in federal prison. See arrest press release and sentencing press release from the United States Attorney's Office.
CASE: In 2004, Clearwater popce investigators received information regarding two Mexican prostitution houses operating in Clearwater. Investigative surveillance confirmed that high-volume prostitution activities were occurring in these locations. The primary suspect in this case was identified as being the same person who had been arrested in a similar operation in Clearwater in 2001 involving a joint operation with federal immigration authorities. That 2001 case was strongly suspected of being connected with human trafficking although the victims were hesitant to cooperate with the investigation. As the 2004 investigation progressed, the illegal operation suddenly shut down and moved out of the area.
CASE: In 2005, a Chilean female reported to the Hispanic Outreach Center that she had been hired in Chile to come to the U.S. and work as a housekeeper. The U.S. employer refused to pay her wages and she was required to work long hours without pay, and was verbally abused and threatened. Eventually, she was taken to an airport by her employer and dropped off without any money.
CASE: Mia (not her real name) is Chinese from Malaysia and had come to this country as a "mail order bride". She did not know her husband prior to coming to the US. He is white and a US citizen. They were immediately married when she arrived here. They were married for seven months when she came into The Haven spouse abuse shelter in Clearwater. During the intake process she reported that the husband emotionally, financially, physically and sexually abused her. She had no friends or family spoke pttle Engpsh. He forced her to work in a dry cleaning store and turn her check over to him, as he did not work. Mia stayed in the shelter for a month and until she was able to return to Malaysia. The Haven later discovered that this was the second Malaysian "wife" who had sought shelter at The Haven from this same abuser.