Update: US couple indicted for sex tourism
A married couple has been indicted on charges of allegedly organizing sex tourism for Americans traveling to the Dominican Republic.
Jennifer and Alfred Cotten, 49 and 50, were arrested after a 10-month government investigation.
The Cottens were charged in New York State Supreme Court with one count of promoting prostitution in the third degree, a class D felony, according to a news release from the New York County District Attorney’s office.
”The alleged ‘family business’ for this husband and wife team was international sex tourism,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in the release.
Through their company, Tropical Adult Vacation, the Cottens ”allegedly exploited women by bringing them into prostitution for international sex travelers, thereby encouraging the growing problem of human trafficking,” said Glenn Sorge, acting Special Agent for Homeland Security Investigations.
According to prosecutors, Tropical Adult Vacation allegedly provided American tourists with room and board and prostitutes at a hotel in Boca Chica, a town near the Central American nation’s capital of Santo Domingo.
The couple is accused of operating the business from their Florida home by posting ads online to attract customers, running the Tropical Adult Vacation website and answering queries by email and phone.
”We are contesting the jurisdiction in the case,” said Emanuel Moore, attorney for Alfred Cotten.
”These people were in Fort Myers, Florida, never came to New York and are charged with promoting prostitution in the Dominican Republic, where it is legal,” said Moore, who said he could not understand why New York has taken jurisdiction in the case.
”We believe no crime was committed in New York,” adding that the couple, who have pleaded not guilty, had a travel agency advertising adult vacations in the Dominican Republic.
Prosecutors say people who signed up and made the trip were met by a local company representative and then given their choice of women to have sex with during stays ranging from a day to a week. A weekend stay typically cost $1,500 according to the news release.
The Cottens were released on bail after arraignment and traveled home to Florida.
”These people are not flight risks. They’re regular people who allegedly are involved in this type of advertising in order to make money,” said Jennifer Cotten’s attorney, Genay Ann Leitman, who also questions the jurisdiction of the case.
”But they certainly weren’t out there pimping girls,” said Leitman.
Sep 16, 2015
Category: DR News |