Pimp asks for lenient sentence for trafficking

LIAM HYSLOP
Last updated 14:40, September 5 2014

A violent American pimp who kept a six female prostitutes - including a New Zealander - as his sex slaves is asking for a lenient sentence.

Jamaican-born Damion St Patrick Baston was found guilty of 21 charges, including sex trafficking and money laundering, in the US District Court in Miami in July.

His sex slaves, two Australian women, one New Zealander and three Americans, testified as prosecution witnesses at the Miami trial.

Prosecutors told the jury Baston beat, threatened and raped the women and kept the hundreds of thousands of dollars they made as prostitutes.

He would then show off the cash with Instagram photos of his $250,000 bank balance and $75,000 diamond-studded watch, prosecutors said. 

The minimum sentence for his crimes is 15 years imprisonment, although he could face up to life in jail when he is sentenced on September 29.

But his lawyer, David Rowe, submitted to the sentencing judge today that Baston should receive less than the minimum 15 years, AAP reported.

He described the victims as "non-chaste women, fully acquainted with escort services and the bawdiness of dancing in exotic nightclubs".

"These women are not sexual victims," Rowe wrote in a sentencing motion.

"They are extroverted women highly motivated by sexual lusts, and, by nature, lie, play and deceive."

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Baston's pimping began on Australia's Gold Coast, but eventually extended to the Middle East and the US.

One of the Australian victims, known in court as KL, met Baston in 2011 in a Gold Coast restaurant and started a relationship with him but shortly after Baston used violence to force her into prostitution.

Rowe said that story was incorrect. "The defendant became highly intoxicated with KL, who, in turn found the stud of her dreams," the lawyer wrote.

Rowe described KL as the "brainchild" of their Gold Coast prostitution service, Bachelors Club.

The other Australian victim, TJM, was 18 when she met Baston at a party in Queensland in 2009 and they married in an Islamic ceremony in 2010.

By 2011, both of those women were prostituting under his control out of several Gold Coast rental properties.

Baston moved KL to Dubai in 2011 where she made large sums of cash as a prostitute. They moved again to Miami, Florida, where he continued to pimp her.

Rowe said Baston was also a product of the treatment of male slaves in Jamaica in the 17th and 18th Century.

"Sociologically, the defendant is another product of the antecedent Jamaican mores in which strong, healthy, black males were alienated from families and used as studs to breed African slaves," he wrote.

 - © Fairfax NZ News