A quick roundup of SCIU actions so far

(This information is entirely from trooper press releases, please let me know if I’ve missed anything.)

In February 2014 the troopers formed the Special Crimes Investigation Unit with the primary mission of investigating cases involving “commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.”  That same month they arrested a man in Wasilla who is accused of threatening at least one woman who worked for him with force if she did not perform.  Good job, SCIU!

In April 2014, the SCIU, in an ongoing sex trafficking investigation, teamed up with the drug enforcement unit, to arrest a woman they accuse of “having sex for financial gain.”  The woman was charged with prostitution, solicitation for prostitution, and possessing drugs.  In an affidavit, the investigator explained that the SCIU investigates prostitution and sex trafficking.  What, specifically, made her guilty of prostitution?  She told the officer that she would not have anal sex with him and that condoms would be used for all sex acts.  What’s the difference between a rich woman having sex for financial gain and a working class woman having sex for financial gain?  One is a wife, the other is a criminal.  The bigger question, perhaps, is how targeting vulnerable people in the sex industry for arrest achieves the Department of Law’s stated priority of gaining the trust and cooperation of people who might be victimized in the sex industry.

In July 2014 the SCIU arrested a woman they claim was marketing sex workers online to “customers of the sex trafficking trade.”  She is not accused of threatening or harming anyone.  She is accused primarily of doing things that increase the safety of people in the sex trade: marketing online, checking customers against a blacklist, negotiating independent contractor agreements with workers, maintaining an indoor place of prostitution, and of course engaging in conduct that aided or facilitated prostitution.  When people in the sex trade associate with each other, advertise online, screen clients, and work indoors it increases their safety.  This should not be confused with kidnapping children and holding them in sexual bondage.