WASHINGTON - Corey Davis, also known as “Magnificent,” pleaded guilty today in federal court in Bridgeport, Conn., to a federal civil rights charge for organizing and leading a sex-trafficking ring. A co-conspirator previously pleaded guilty to a related charge of conspiring to violate the Mann Act, which prohibits the interstate transport of individuals for prostitution. Davis is scheduled to be sentenced on June 2, 2008. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Davis faces up to 296 months imprisonment.
During his guilty plea hearing, Davis admitted that he recruited a girl under the age of 18 years to engage in prostitution, that he was the organizer of a sex-trafficking venture, and that he used force, fraud and coercion to compel the victim to commit commercial sex acts from which he obtained the proceeds. As part of his plea agreement, Davis agreed to forfeit cash and assets, including a home that was used in the ring’s operations, and to pay $50,000 in restitution to his victims. Davis previously had been convicted in Brooklyn, N.Y., for unlawfully selling firearms.
“Through his guilty plea, the defendant admitted responsibility for exploiting a young girl,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue the vigorous enforcement of all federal criminal laws that protect vulnerable girls and others who are forced into prostitution or other forms of exploitation.”
The indictment charging Davis alleges that he was the organizer and leader of a venture that forced women and girls to work as exotic dancers and to prostitute themselves. During its existence, this sex-trafficking ring involved at least 20 women and girls, some of whom were forced to work for Davis for months at a time. A number of the victims were minors, including one victim who was only 12 years old.
According to the indictment, Davis lured victims to his operation with promises of modeling contracts and a glamourous lifestyle. Davis then forced the girls to work a grueling schedule each day that entailed dancing and performing sex acts at strip clubs in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. The victims earned up to $5,000 a night in these activities, which Davis confiscated and kept for himself.
The indictment also alleged that Davis beat many of the victims to force them to work for him and for violations of stringent rules he imposed to isolate and control them. In one attack, Davis slashed the head, shoulder, and hand of a girl with a box cutter to punish her for keeping some of the money she had earned. On another occasion, Davis stuck a pistol into the mouth of a victim and threatened to kill her.
This case was investigated by a law enforcement team that was spearheaded by FBI Special Agent Sean O’Malley. Special Agent O’Malley was assisted by IRS Special Agent Colin Burns; the Bridgeport, Conn., Stratford, Conn., Colonie, N.Y., Miami Beach, Fla., and Milford, Mass., Police Departments; and the Connecticut State Police.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Krishna R. Patel and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Michael J. Frank. They were assisted by Assistant U.S. Attorney and Criminal Chief Peter S. Jongbloed, and Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Counsel Andrew J. Kline.
Human trafficking prosecutions such as this one are a top priority of the Department of Justice. In the last seven fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide have increased by nearly seven-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court as compared to the previous seven fiscal years. In FY 2007, the Department obtained a record number of convictions in human trafficking prosecutions.