Operation Cross Country results in no cases of child prostitution in Saratoga County, but does net 105 children being rescued from “sex trafficking” in 76 cities across the United States. 5 women charged with prostitution in Saratoga Springs while the investigation continues into who is promoting the prostitution.
Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy, IIII announced today the following are charged with crimes:
PL 230.00- – PROSTITUTION, Class B Misdemeanor
• MARCOLENA E MILLER, Age 27, Wertman Lane, Loudonville, NY
• VIRGINIA L QUESNEL-GILLETT, Age 29, 13th Street, Troy, NY
• PAMELA A BAUMGARDNER, Age 45, Jefferson Terrace, Saratoga Springs, NY
• GINGER R WOOD, Age 23, Central Ave, Albany, NY
• KRISTA CHERRY, Age 23, Saratoga Ave, Glens Falls, NY
PL 155.25- – PETIT LARCENY, Class A Misdemeanor
• SHANNON L TRACEY, Age 29, Van Buren Street, Ballston Spa, NY
The Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office takes the issue of human trafficking very seriously and Operation Cross Country’s purpose is to focus on potential underage victims of sex trafficking. One type of slavery and exploitation that continues to proliferate at an alarming rate—and that has a particular relevance to women and girls—is sex trafficking/slavery. In fact, 105 children were rescued from sex trafficking in 76 cities across the USA this year alone.
The Saratoga Springs Police Department, New York State Police and DEA worked together with a representative from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in an effort to identify and interdict cases involving the use of children or minors in prostitution rings. While, fortunately, no children involved in the Operation Cross Country Investigation in Saratoga Springs, adult females were apprehended and charged with Prostitution as a B Misdemeanor.
Once it was determined that there were no children involved the focus shifted to the cases and facts at hand, the adult women and their “pimps”.
District Attorney Murphy said “While these women are charged with a misdemeanor crime, what we will be focusing on is to understand why they are allegedly doing what they are accused of. Our hope is to assist them by offering services and enable them to discontinue this destructive lifestyle which can involve drugs, alcohol and violence. Counselors were available during the interviewing and processing for assistance to the women if desired. Our real targets are the “pimps”, who allegedly control the women. While the alleged prostitutes are charged with B Misdemeanors, we can charge the “pimps” with felonies if we can show the “pimp” controls more than one woman or uses or threatens violence against her. We are working with law enforcement as the investigation continues to explore these and other charges against the “pimps” and each case will be dealt with individually as each woman’s circumstance is different.”
Saratoga County has not had cases of prostitution for several years and prostitution in the City is rare.
DA Murphy said “I’m most relieved that we did not have any cases involving children. Criminals who prey on children for sexual exploitation and prostitution are dangerous and need to be incarcerated. However, each one of us can be vigilant and keep a watchful eye for this and call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s 24-hour toll-free hotline number at 888-3737-888 if we suspect such a case.”
Hon. James A. Murphy, III
Saratoga County District Attorney
Director and Past Chair
NYS District Attorney’s Association
25 West High Street
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
DA website: www.jimmurphyda.com
Follow me on Twitter: @JimMurphyIII