Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of DONNELL BAINES, 39, to 50 years in state prison for operating a sex trafficking ring out of his Upper East Side apartment. On October 24, 2012, BAINES was convicted by a jury of Rape in the First Degree, Sex Trafficking, and Promoting Prostitution, among other charges, for using physical force and threats of violence, in addition to other forms of coercion, to compel women to continue to engage in prostitution.
“Like many traffickers, this defendant preyed upon vulnerable women in need of money, and maintained control over them using various forms of coercion, including emotional manipulation and physical and psychological abuse,” said District Attorney Vance. “As proven at trial, he even went so far as to beat his victims for the slightest infraction of his rules. This sentence reflects the gravity of the defendant’s actions in using women’s bodies for personal profit. I would like to thank Judge Nuñez for her service on this case, and I hope that the defendant’s significant prison term gives his victims some comfort. I strongly urge other victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution to call my Office’s Human Trafficking Hotline at (212) 335-3400, regardless of their immigration status. Support is available for those who come forward.”
On July 15, 2010, a distraught woman approached a court officer inside of 100 Centre Street and notified him that she was being held against her will. This woman informed the District Attorney’s Office that she was recruited by BAINES through an online advertisment seeking models to work in Manhattan. She planned on staying with the defendant for six days but he became violent and refused to allow her to leave. Eventually, the defendant took her to Manhattan Criminal Court on a day when he was scheduled for a court appearance on unrelated charges.
As proven at trial, BAINES ran a prostitution and trafficking operation in which he trafficked at least four women since at least early 2009. One woman, who was trafficked by the defendant beginning in March 2009, was required to prostitute herself inside the defendant’s apartment and at several hotels in Manhattan and out of state. BAINES forced the women to stay with him by taking their identifications, threatening to expose private information and threatening to harm the victims' families in order to prevent them from leaving him.
Assistant District Attorneys Karen Cherrington and John Temple, Attorney-in-Charge of the Human Trafficking Program, handled the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Martha Bashford, Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit; Audrey Moore, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau; and Karen Friedman-Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division. Witness Aid Services Unit Human Trafficking Specialist Melissa Martinez-Valdez and Analyst Meghan Cleary also assisted in the case.
District Attorney Vance also thanked Detectives Michael Turck and Anthony Gonzalez of the DA’s Squad, under the supervision of Captain Joseph Del Duca. He also thanked Detectives Frank Tedesco and Jessica Sterling of the NYPD’s Major Case Squad, Vice Enforcement Division under the supervision of Deputy Inspector Anthony Favale.