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Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Man arrested for sex trafficking in the US, Australia

MIAMI – A Jamaican man was arrested Tuesday in New York for his role in a sex trafficking operation. The arrest resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) offices in Miami, Orlando, New York and Singapore, as well as the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service and the Australian Federal Police.

Damion St. Patrick Baston, 36, of New York, has been charged in Miami with sex trafficking both in the United States and Australia, as well as transporting multiple individuals for prostitution, importation of an alien for prostitution, use of a passport secured by false statement, aggravated identity theft and money laundering. Baston has also been charged with illegal reentry of an alien previously removed.

"Sex trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes we investigate. These victims are taken advantage of on a daily basis," said Alysa D. Erichs, special agent in charge of HSI Miami. "Investigative efforts by HSI alongside our partners at the Diplomatic Security Service and the Australian Federal Police highlight the collaborative effort within federal and international law enforcement partners to ensure international boundaries do not hinder the enforcement of justice".

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, "Human trafficking is one the most deplorable crimes our office prosecutes. Law enforcement agencies are teaming up to identify, arrest and prosecute those who seek to profit at the expense of the suffering of others. Working with our dedicated law enforcement partners here and abroad we will press on with efforts to reach those who are being exploited, and prosecute those who choose to engage in this inhumane practice."

"We are thankful for our continued partnership with the international law enforcement community. A team of Miami and international Diplomatic Security Service resources worked closely with the Australian authorities to locate and apprehend Damion Baston," said Special Agent in Charge Wendy A. Bashnan of the Diplomatic Security Service’s Miami Field Office. "We hope that the long awaited prosecution of Baston will provide some satisfaction to the many individuals he victimized and their families."

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.