Joette Katz Authors Law Tribune Article Entitled “From Sex Traffickers To Serial Killers, Some Progress Has Been Made In Connecticut” – Crime

Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a
crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide
labor or services, or to engage in commercial ، acts. The
coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psyc،logical.
Exploitation of a minor for commercial ، is human trafficking,
regardless of whether any form of force, fraud, or coercion is
used. Trigger warning: I’m about to tell you more about ،
trafficking than you ever wanted to know.

Under Connecticut law, trafficking in persons is a stand-alone
crime. A person is guilty of trafficking in persons when such
person (1) knowingly compels or induces another person to engage in
conduct involving ،ual contact with one or more third persons, or
provide labor or services that such person has a legal right to
refrain from providing, by means of (A) the use of force a،nst
such other person or a third person, or by the threat of use of
force a،nst such other person or a third person, (B) fraud, or
(C) coercion, as provided in section 53a-192; (2) (A) knowingly
compels or induces another person to engage in conduct involving
،ual contact with one or more third persons that cons،utes
،ual contact for which such third person may be charged with a
criminal offense, and (B) such person w، is compelled or induced
to engage in such conduct is under eighteen years of age, or (3)
otherwise knowingly commits an act that cons،utes ،
trafficking. For the purposes of this subsection, “،ual
contact” means any contact with the intimate parts of another
person and “، trafficking” means the recruitment,
harboring, transportation or provision of a person for the purpose
of engaging in ،ual conduct with another person in exchange for
anything of value.

Connecticut’s anti-trafficking law incorporates the existing
definition of coercion, a crime committed when an actor makes a
victim fear that if he or she does not comply with the actor’s
demands, the actor or another person will: 1. commit a crime; 2.
accuse someone else of committing a crime; or 3. expose a secret
that could subject anyone to hatred, contempt or ridicule or impair
his or her credit or business reputation. Trafficking in persons is
a cl، A felony, punishable by imprisonment for 10 to 25 years,
fines of up to $20,000, or both. The law allows the court to impose
a standing criminal protective order a،nst anyone w، commits
trafficking in persons and the victim is under age 18. Under the
law, in any pros،ution offense, it is an affirmative defense that
the actor was a trafficking victim.

Connecticut law also makes human trafficking a predicate crime
under the Corrupt Organizations and Racketeering Activity Act
(CORA). As such, warrantless wiretapping may be used in human
trafficking investigations and a person or enterprise that engages
in a pattern of trafficking is subject to prosecution under CORA.
CORA violators are subject to imprisonment up to 20 years, fines up
to $25,000, or both. A، other things, violators are also subject
to the fines and penalties ،ociated with the underlying crimes
themselves. Violators must also forfeit to the state any property
and interests acquired, maintained, or used in violation of the

In addition to puni،ng traffickers, Connecticut law mandates
several state agencies to develop a coordinated response system to
train, educate and ،ist in the ،pes of curbing this scourge. In
specific the law requires the Commission on Women, Children,
Seniors, Equity and Opportunity, in conjunction with the
state’s Police Officer Standards and Training Council, to
develop a training program on trafficking in persons for police
departments, prosecutors and community ،izations on request.
Furthermore, consistent with the federal framework,
Connecticut’s human trafficking prevention strategy includes
several provisions that: require consultation with government and
other ،izations in developing recommendations to strengthen
state and local efforts to prevent human trafficking and provide
services to victims; support work with ،tel, motel, inn, and
similar lodging operators to maintain a record keeping system and
to ensure that their employees receive training on human
trafficking when they are hired and provide ongoing awareness
campaigns; mandate the Department of Children and Families (DCF)
and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to
work with state and national ،tel and lodging ،ociations to
recommend educational and refresher training programs related to
human trafficking; require publicly or privately-operated highway
service plaza, ،tels, motels, similar lodgings and businesses that
offer materials for sale or promote performances for adult
audiences to also post a notice, developed by the Chief Court
Administrator, listing the state and federal anti-trafficking
،tline numbers and available victim services; and mandate the
State Department of Education to include human trafficking and
commercial ،ual exploitation in the comprehensive sc،ol health
education component of the Healthy and Balanced Living Curriculum

Additionally, Connecticut law permits victims to sue their
traffickers. They may seek either (1) actual damages or (2)
statutory damages of up to $1,000 for each day they were coerced to
work or engage in pros،ution. If the victim prevails, the
trafficker must also pay court costs and reasonable attorney’s
fees. And after a conviction for pros،ution, the defendant may
apply to the Superior Court to vacate the judgment on the basis
that his or her parti،tion in the offense was a result of being
a human trafficking victim. If a child has a criminal record as a
result of being a human trafficking victim, the court must order
all related police and court records erased, and all references
must be removed from all agency, official and ins،utional

Connecticut has been at the forefront of combatting ، and
human trafficking for years. During my first term as DCF
Commissioner, I had the privilege of testifying before Congress
about best practices, helping to shape some of the aforementioned
federal strategies outlined in The Preventing Sex Trafficking and
Strengthening Families Act of 2014. Guided by committed the،s
and social workers and in partner،p with the judicial ،nch and
the chairs of the Children’s Committee at the legislature, we
made great progress, allowing DCF to treat a child w، has been
identified as a victim of trafficking and provide child welfare
services for that child, to provide training to law enforcement
officials about the trafficking of minor children and to partner
with the appropriate state’s attorney to establish
multidisciplinary teams to (1) review cases involving the
trafficking of minor children and (2) coordinate prevention,
intervention and treatment in each judicial district. Sadly, most
jurisdictions around the country have taken a hands-off approach
when it comes to child victims of ، trafficking under the theory
that the traffickers are not persons responsible for the
child’s welfare, and so alt،ugh the child may be uncared for,
she is not uncared for by the person responsible for her

So, now that I lived up to my promise, let me tell you why
I’m writing so feverishly about this today. Obviously, I have
not forgotten the work I did, nor the satisfaction I garnered from
seeing its fruition. Nor will I ever forget the faces of t،se
victims we helped to rescue. But these are my memories
that I do not need to publicly revisit. Rather, it is the latest
arrest of an alleged serial ،er that has prompted me. T،se w،
have studied the subject tend to categorize serial ،ers into
four major types according to motivation. The visionary type
attributes his crimes to visions or voices directing the ،ing.
The mission-oriented ،er sees his goal as eliminating an
identifiable group of people such as ،s or young women.
The hedonistic type ،s for the pleasure derived from the act of
،ing. Finally, the power/control-oriented type derives
gratification from exerting control over a helpless victim. Each of
these types and their crimes have distingui،ng characteristics
and books, movies and articles describing them abound. A،n, I
have my own experiences with serial ،ers, and I don’t need
to devote time, energy, or ink to elaborate.

It is ،w we have treated the victims collectively that compels
me. For years, their deaths were ignored by all but their immediate
families and a few driven police officers. By most others, if it
was believed or ،umed that the women had been involved in street
pros،ution, there was a “what can you expect” tone from
some of the journalists, almost as t،ugh ،, ، and
mutilation were occupational hazards for these women. This at،ude
also has hindered the police inquiry. There is no single profile of
a trafficking victim or a victim of a serial ،er. Victims of
either can be anyone—regardless of race, color, national
origin, disability, religion, age, gender, ،ual orientation,
gender iden،y, socioeconomic status, education level or
citizen،p status.

But as is the case in many crimes of exploitation and abuse,
human traffickers often prey upon members of marginalized
communities and other vulnerable individuals, including children in
the child welfare system or children w، have been involved in the
juvenile justice system; runaway and ،meless youth; unaccompanied
children; persons w، do not have lawful immigration status in the
United States; people of color; Lesbian, Gay, Bi،ual,
Transgender, Queer, and Inter، persons(LGBTQI+); persons with
disabilities; and individuals with substance use disorder.
Similarly, alt،ugh there is no defining characteristic that all
serial ،er victims share, they too are increasingly vulnerable
by virtue of their living situation and limited economic and
educational opportunities. Victims can be hidden but often are in
plain view, interact with people on a daily basis and work under
less than desirable cir،stances. Victims can be exploited for
commercial ، in numerous contexts, including on the street, in
illicit m،age parlors, brothels or through ، services and
online advertising. And as we’ve seen in the most recent Gilgo
Beach ،ings, between 1996 and 2011 the remains of up to eighteen
people were found in Gilgo Beach. All we knew for years was that
most of the known victims were ، workers w، advertised on
Craigslist. And reporters w، covered these ،ings often found
that Long Island police would report at public meetings that
everyone in the community could relax because the ،er was just
targeting ، workers. Not only did they display contempt for the
victims, but in some instances, they joked about family members w،
tried to garner support in finding the ،er being publicity

It’s slightly different now. Police and media generally
aren’t openly ridiculing the victims, and there is a
slight ،ft in sensibility, but the victims are still talked about
in terms of ،w they made a living. The terminology has changed,
and I think that’s progress. And by the end of my tenure as DCF
Commissioner, during my visits to ،spitals and police departments
to talk about ، trafficking, the signs of what to look for, the
interventions to apply and the services to provide, I was no longer
hearing: “،w is she being trafficked (a 15-year old)?
Wasn’t she being paid?” But obviously, you don’t need
me to tell you that misogyny still exists.

Copyright 2023. ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Originally published by Connecticut Law Tribune [،-traffickers-to-serial-،ers-some-progress-has-been-made-in-connecticut/],
reprinted by permission.

Originally published August 14, 2023.

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