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Child Exploitation

Connecticut man admits role in sex trafficking of minors

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Connecticut man pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of transporting an individual with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity in an interstate prostitution enterprise that included the sex trafficking of two minor victims. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Norwalk Police Department.

Giovanni Vazquez, also known as "Screech," 24, of Norwalk, Conn., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport, Conn.

According to court records, Vazquez and others were involved in a prostitution business. In pleading guilty, Vazquez admitted that in November 2010, he and a co-defendant transported a victim from Connecticut to New York to engage in prostitution. Vazquez also admitted that he and accomplices trafficked other victims, including two minors, ages 14 and 17, across state lines to engage in prostitution.

Vazquez is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S District Judge Janet C. Hall on Dec.19, 2011. He faces a maximum 10-year prison term, according to David B. Fein, U.S. attorney for the district of Connecticut.

Vazquez has been detained in federal custody since his arrest on Jan. 2, 2011. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alina P. Reynolds and Krishna R. Patel.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing the HSI Tip Form. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.