St. Paul man convicted on all counts in sex-trafficking ring - KMSP-TV

St. Paul man convicted on all counts in family's sex-trafficking ring

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  • St. Paul man convicted on all counts in family's sex-trafficking ringMore>>

  • Family members charged in 2-year sex trafficking operation

    Family members charged in 2-year sex trafficking operation

    Wednesday, April 10 2013 4:14 PM EDT2013-04-10 20:14:58 GMT
    (L) Otis Deno Washington; (R) Antonio Dion Washington(L) Otis Deno Washington; (R) Antonio Dion Washington
    The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said it is charging two St. Paul brothers and their uncles in connection with a two-year, multi-community sex trafficking operation that involved several victims throughout Minnesota.
    The Ramsey County Attorney's Office said it is charging two St. Paul brothers and their uncles in connection with a two-year, multi-community sex trafficking operation that involved several victims throughout Minnesota.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Otis Washington, a St. Paul man accused of running a sex trafficking ring with four other members of his family, was found guilty on all counts Wednesday afternoon.

Charges included two counts of promotion of prostitution, two counts of solicitation to practice prostitution, one involving a minor, and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking in connection with a human trafficking operation that involved numerous victims in multiple communities across Minnesota.

The verdict helps bring closure for at least 10 victims in the case.

Washington, 30, didn't have a lawyer. Instead, he represented himself in court.

A Ramsey County Attorney's Office representative told Fox 9 News that Washington was even forced out of his closing hearing after he was found guilty of all 6 counts against him; however, there was no explanation of why.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the Washington's choice to represent himself in court caused several delays in reaching Wednesday's verdict, including an initial mistrial.

Otis Washington and his brother, Antonio Washington-Davis, uncles Robert James and Calvin Roy Washington, and Elizabeth Alexander have all been convicted for their roles in the wide-ranging sex trafficking ring.

"This verdict was made possible because of the courage of the victims who took the stand and told their stories." said Choi.

Vendita Carter, founder of Breaking Free -- a non-profit that helps hundreds of women every year who've fallen prey to the world of sex trafficking, has worked with some of Washington's victims.

To Carter, it's no surprise Washington's victims were forced to sleep with up to 20 men a night.

"The women tell us, on average, it's between 7-10 guys a day that they're forced to sleep with," noted Carter.

Breaking Free's founder believes the Washington family conviction sets the stage for an end to the crime.

"This is really going to open up the doors for a lot more convictions," she said. "That's putting a really strong message out there that we're not going to tolerate this, not in St. Paul, not at all."

Even so, Carter says many families engage in sex trafficking and promote the act on websites like Backpage.com. That means the work to clean the web and the streets of the offense are far from over.

"When will we really begin to charge all of the men these young girls are forced to be with?" Carter posed as a challenge to lawmakers.

Washington's sex ring operation was initially reported to have spanned over the course of 2010-2012; however, Choi said the ring operated for much, much longer depending on which family member was involved.

Sentencing for both Antonio Washington-Davis and Otis Washington takes place Dec. 19 and Jan. 9 respectively.

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