WASHINGTON – Dennis Paris of Middletown, Conn., was sentenced today to 360 months in prison, five years of supervised release and $46,116 in restitution for his role in organizing and facilitating a prostitution ring that victimized minors and coerced multiple young women to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Paris—one of 10 defendants associated with this trafficking ring—was convicted in June 2007 on multiple counts of commercial sex trafficking through force, fraud or coercion.
"As this case illustrates, human trafficking can victimize any vulnerable person, including U.S. citizens, and girls as young as 14-years-old," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department works with non-governmental organizations to address the needs of victims and our investigators and prosecutors take the time to earn their trust. This victim-centered approach has been essential to our success in dismantling networks who exploit minors or adults for commercial sex."
Paris, 36, was previously convicted on two counts of sex trafficking of minors, including a 14 year-old child; two counts of sex trafficking of adult women through force, fraud or coercion; 13 counts of using interstate facilities to promote and conduct a prostitution ring; and conspiracy to use an interstate facility to promote unlawful activities. All of the victims in this case were U.S. citizens, many of whom were young and vulnerable females, some addicted to drugs, and easily exploited. Nine co-defendants charged in connection with the scheme had previously pleaded guilty for their respective roles in the sex trafficking ring.
Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Paris operated a prostitution scheme in the Hartford, Conn., area in which he exploited young, uneducated girls from troubled backgrounds and forced them to perform commercial sex acts for his financial benefit. The evidence demonstrated that Paris used a combination of deception, fraud, coercion, brutal rapes, threats of arrest, physical violence and manipulation of addictive drugs to maintain control over his victims.
The evidence established that Paris "purchased" two of the victims from a co-defendant, Brian Forbes, who previously pleaded guilty to five counts of sex trafficking and was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his role in recruiting and exploiting minors and vulnerable young women into prostitution, as well as using beatings, rapes, drug withdrawal, threats and unlawful restraint, to compel them to perform commercial sex acts.
"This defendant preyed on the vulnerabilities of girls and young women, and hopefully the strict sentence imposed today will deter others from participating in the sex trafficking businesses and manipulating women and minors into committing sexual acts under the threat of violence," said Acting U.S. Attorney Nora R. Dannehy. "This investigation, prosecution and 30-year sentence combine to reflect that everyone is entitled to protection under the law."
Human trafficking prosecutions are a top priority of the Justice Department. In FY 2008, the Civil Rights Division once again initiated a record-number of human-trafficking cases, beating record-setting FY 2007. Working with the various U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the Division initiated 183 investigations, charged 79 defendants in 38 cases and obtained 77 convictions involving human trafficking in FY 2008.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James G. Genco and Special Litigation Counsel Andrew J. Kline of the Civil Rights Division's Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. It was investigated by a human trafficking law enforcement task force spearheaded by Detective Deborah Scates of the Hartford Police Department, Sergeant Chris McKee of the Windsor Police Department, Special Agent Chris Grispino of the FBI and Special Agent Douglas Werth of the Internal Revenue Service.