So, About That “Human Trafficking” Allegedly Involved in the Robert Kraft Case…

We hear an awful lot about “human trafficking” these days — and it’s a terrible crime, to be sure. Sometimes, though, what the police and prosecutors describe as human trafficking is really just prostitution, without the severe coercion, manipulation and exploitation that actual human trafficking involves.

human sex trafficking

Take the Orchids of Asia Spa case, for example, the sting which led to charges of soliciting prostitution being entered against Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots. A couple months ago, one of the sheriffs involved said it was “manifestly obvious” that there was human trafficking going on at the spa, but if you look at the arrest reports for the people busted in the sting, not one of them was charged with human trafficking. Fast forward to this week, and you’ve got a prosecutor in the case saying in court that while it initially looked like there was human trafficking, upon further review of the evidence, they decided there wasn’t.

What the hell is going on here? Calico’s not sure — but she IS sure that the right posture to adopt, with respect to claims made by both sides in this case, is one of “wait and see.” Read all about it in her latest post, “So, About That “Human Trafficking” Involved in the Robert Kraft Case…”

by Calico Rudasill, Porn Movies For Women

When Robert Kraft, the very wealthy fellow who’s famous primarily because he owns the New England Patriots, got caught up in a human trafficking sting targeting a dumpy, alleged rub and tug joint called the Orchids of Asia Spa in Florida, the schadenfreude came fast and furious from all corners of the internet.

rub and tug massage

For some folks, it was delight that something (anything!) bad had happened to someone associated with the envy-inspiring Patriots franchise, and he was being shamed in a very public way. It was nice for them to see a Patriot take a “loss,” because central to the loathing of the Patriots franchise is the fact that if it wins any more championships, the team is going to need to build a new stadium just to hold all its goddam trophies.

For others, I’m guessing the joy in Kraft’s embarrassment stemmed from him being buddies with Donald Trump – so an opportunity to wag their index finger at Kraft felt like directing their middle finger at Trump, by proxy.

Since I believe prostitution should be legal, I wasn’t about to get all high and mighty over Kraft paying for a handjob in some Florida strip-mall spa. Who cares?

But, if there was actual human trafficking involved, as law enforcement figures involved in the case asserted there was, that would be a different story, altogether.

Authorities, in February: It’s “Manifestly Obvious” There Was Human Trafficking…

The problem with taking someone’s word as truth (not just in this instance, but any time when there are multiple parties involved in any disputed claim) is that sometimes people greatly overstate their case as a starting position.

In the context of crime, we probably see this most often in pre-trial comments by people who stand accused of crimes. “I stand before you an innocent man!” some guy standing at a podium next to his defense attorney will proclaim. Then, a few weeks later, that same guy quietly cops a plea, after he learns the cops have iron-clad evidence of his guilt in their possession.

Other times, however, it’s the authorities who take liberties in describing the quality of the evidence they possess. Over time, the claim “this is an open and shut case” becomes “well, we still believe they committed this crime, but we decided we can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.”

We’re seeing something like the latter in the Kraft case, it seems to me. Back in February, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said it was “manifestly obvious” that human trafficking was involved in the Orchids of Asia case, even has he co-authored an opinion piece which made the argument “Sex trafficking is hard to prove, that doesn’t mean it’s a lie.”

That statement human trafficking being hard to prove in court is true – but was there really evidence which made it manifestly obvious there was human trafficking going on at the Orchids of Asia?

Authorities, at Hearing in April: “There Didn’t Appear to be Human Trafficking”

It’s one thing to correctly note that human trafficking is hard to prove. It’s another thing to say human trafficking is manifestly obvious in a case where none of the arrests resulted in human trafficking charges being filed.

Such is the case with arrests made in the Orchids of Asia sting. As noted by Massachusetts-based defense attorney Keren Goldenberg in a post she published shortly after the sting was reported, one of the detectives involved wrote in an arrest report that he started the investigation into the spa based on a tip from a neighboring county’s Sheriff’s Office, who were working on several cases involving “prostitution and possible human trafficking at Asian massage parlors in their county” – but that’s the only time the term “human trafficking” appeared in the report.

Goldenberg’s post is worth reading in its entirety. It’s well-reasoned, balanced and devoid of hyperbole and sensationalism – things which, sadly, cannot be said of a lot of the media coverage of the case.

That brings me to what prosecutors had to say during a pre-trial hearing in the Kraft case, which was being live-tweeted by Will Greenlee of Treasure Coast Newspapers.

Several tweets into his coverage, Greenlee dropped this bombshell of a tweet: “Greg Kridos, a prosecutor, said at the outset of the investigation there appeared to be human trafficking involved, but as the case went on and after evaluating the evidence there didn’t appear to be human trafficking.”

Oh really? Will you be holding a press conference later to clarify that, Mr. Kridos?

Bottom Line: Skepticism is Called For – On Both Sides

As I see it, the lesson here is that when the full facts of in case like this are not yet known, the best posture to adopt towards claims made by either side is one of healthy skepticism.

I suspect the sheriff who said human trafficking is manifestly obvious in the case would say Kridos, the prosecutor, is just being too cautious, or refusing to see evidence that’s right in front of him, or is just spinning to avoid saying he believes there was trafficking, but simply doesn’t have the evidence to prove it.

On the other side of things, I’m sure Kraft’s attorneys, if they’re able to suppress the surveillance video evidence obtained in the case, will act as though their client has been totally exonerated. They’ll claim he just happened to drag his multibillionaire ass into a cheap little strip mall rub and tug for a legit massage, not a quick handjob, then got caught under the wheels of an investigation run by overzealous, civil rights-trouncing cops as an innocent bystander.

Either way, another of the points made by Goldenberg in her post rings true for me: “Before you assume sex trafficking, consider that it may just be prostitution. Consider that investigations into sex trafficking may really just be prostitution stings with a better title to make police intrusion seem more noble.”

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