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Spotlight on human trafficking: San Mateo County convicts first ever for the crime after alert hotel clerk notified police
January 30, 2016, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe speaks about the county’s first ever human trafficking conviction at a press conference in South San Francisco Friday morning with law enforcement officials and U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, standing by his side.

Sate Jones

San Mateo County law enforcement officials highlighted the first ever human trafficking conviction in the county at a press conference in South San Francisco Friday leading up to next week’s Super Bowl in Santa Clara.

San Francisco resident Sate Stallone Jones, 28, pleaded no contest to two counts of human trafficking in January for pimping two teens he’d brought to a South San Francisco motel from Sacramento in 2013.

Jones and two other suspects had five victims in total, one only 17.

Jones will be sent to state prison for 13 years, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Another defendant, Andrew Leenalls Jordan, has already been sentenced to eight years in state prison for pimping.

The timing of the press conference leads up to next week’s Super Bowl, which Texas Gov. Greg Abbot declared in 2014 to be the “single largest human trafficking incident in the U.S.”

More than 10,000 “prostitutes” — many of whom were trafficking victims — were brought into Miami for the Super Bowl in 2010, and during the Dallas Super Bowl in 2011, there were 133 arrests for sex with minors, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Wagstaffe, however, downplayed the timing of the press conference saying “human trafficking has been going on long before this game.”

The county adopted a human trafficking protocol in 2014 that grew out of the county’s 2011 Zero Tolerance Initiative and establishes concrete guidelines and standards for officers, dispatchers and other investigators and first responders so there isn’t any question of how to handle victim calls or where to take them. The effort was spearheaded then by U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, who also attended the press conference.

Part of the protocol has been to train hotel and airport workers to recognize potential human trafficking cases.

It was a hotel clerk at the La Quinta Inn on Airport Boulevard that alerted police about Jones and the girls he had brought to the motel, said South San Francisco Police Chief Jeff Azzopardi.

The victims were forced and coerced into prostitution, Azzopardi said. The girls helped police nab Jones, he said.

The protocol helps rescue victims and prosecute suspects, Azzopardi said.

The public, Speier said, needs to help.

“If you see something, say something. We have to be vigilant,” Speier said.

Human trafficking cases are particularly challenging to address because they take many forms, often are cloaked amid prostitution and pimping cases and the victims may not be immediately recognized as such. Specifically, the new protocol specifies that 911 dispatchers give a human trafficking call the same priority as other life-threatening incidents and directs officers to arrest suspected traffickers as felony cases and not be influenced by the alleged victim’s citizenship. Other aspects are instructing officers to arrange immediate medical treatment and transport, conduct training and handle child victims in non-leading, non-suggestive ways.

The girls all met Jones by answering an ad on the Internet, Wagstaffe said.

Jones fed them cocaine to control them and took all the money they made performing sex acts for him, he said.

“Suddenly they are slaves and that’s not hyperbole,” Wagstaffe said. “These are rescue operations from truly deplorable circumstances.”

bill@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

 

 

Tags: trafficking, human, jones, victims, francisco, protocol,


Other stories from today:

Spotlight on human trafficking: San Mateo County convicts first ever for the crime after alert hotel clerk notified police
Community airs frustration with troubled bond: South City school officials express commitment to improving future projects
Post office plans under review: Housing, retail, parking proposed for downtown Burlingame redevelopment
 

 
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