Basement nudie bars and sex slaves in Gwinnett.

August 1, 2009 21:51 pm

by Buzz Brockway · 28 comments

Two stories broke this past week shining a light once again on the problem of minors being used as sex slaves right here in metro Atlanta. First, here’s a story about an alleged nudie bar in the basement of a house not too far from my house:

LAWRENCEVILLE – During a press conference Tuesday at the Gwinnett County Jail, State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, called for law enforcement to re-examine charges against a woman police said may have been running an underground strip club.

Constance Trahan, 28, was arrested on July 18 and charged with maintaining a disorderly house. Police responding to a noise complaint said it appeared as though the basement of the Purcell Road home was being used as a strip club, and that alcohol was being sold to minors.

Investigators have acknowledged minors may have been drinking, but have made no implications regarding child exploitation, only saying that several people who “appeared underage” left the home as officers arrived.

Unterman, a member of the Joint Commission on the Exploitation of Minors, said it’s a matter of logic.

“If kids are drinking shooters, dancing and stripping, sex is going on,” Unterman said.

Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway said he doesn’t believe the charges against Trahan meet the definition of exploitation, but that he would be happy to look into the incident.

Also this week, Juan Cortes-Meza pleaded guilty to sex-trafficking charges.

ATLANTA – Juan Cortes-Meza enticed uneducated, impoverished women and girls from rural Mexico to come to the United States, where a better life, he claimed, awaited them as restaurant workers or housekeepers.

In reality, Cortes-Meza would smuggle the women and girls to metro Atlanta – including a home near Norcross – intending to use them as sex slaves, forcing them into prostitution by way of strict controls and physical violence.

A key member in the underground sex ring, Cortes-Meza, 31, of Mexico, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to sex-trafficking charges. He faces a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.

The case brings to light what experts call a scourge of sexually exploited minors in Georgia. Child advocacy group “A Future. Not A Past” estimates more than 200 young girls are exploited across the state every month.

Icarus August 2, 2009 at 1:26 am

I’ve been blogging from basements for years, and as soon as I try to expand my empire, **BOOM** here comes the government to shut down capitalism.

Freaking Obama socialists….

Daniel N. Adams August 2, 2009 at 1:33 am

…more like a Huckabee socialist type would be more correct.

Icarus August 2, 2009 at 1:47 am

I doubt Huckabee has ever seen a naked woman.

And, I have it on good record, that he has won his last primary.

Game Fan August 2, 2009 at 12:48 pm

There’s obviously a market here. I mean, if there’s an illegal alien woman who’s good looking, well, uh, she could probably command some high prices. Or lotsa business at low low prices. Supply and demand.

Game Fan August 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Since it happened in a basement the “underground” thing should be a shoe-in.

Bill Simon August 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Game Fan,

Do you think that all prostitutes are prostitutes because of their own free will and choice?

Do you think illegal alien women who are prostitutes are doing it as a matter of free choice?

Game Fan August 2, 2009 at 1:23 pm

No, and I was about to also remind the casual reader that I’ve always agreed with Cynthia McKinney about the whole Dyncorp/human trafficking subject. You can put me in the “no” category for human trafficking.

Daniel N. Adams August 2, 2009 at 1:31 am

Basement nudie bars and sex slaves in Gwinnett

The economy is tuff and Farris needed the money… I think we should cut him some slack… at least he’s being self reliant.

Steve Perkins August 2, 2009 at 8:29 am

I’ve been SHOCKED at some of the charges I’ve seen tossed in to criminal arrests. You can have half an ounce of marijuana on you (misdemeanor), but it gets bumped up to a felony “distribution” charge if it’s in two baggies rather than one. In a domestic disturbance situation, you’ll often get charged with criminal trespass on your own property. Question a cop about why he’s arresting you, and there’s a good chance the cop will claim that you “tried to run” so he can stick you with an obstruction charge. A lot of this stuff gets tossed out in court… but cops do it to push up your bond, and/or to make you look more guilty than you would with just a single charge.

I don’t want to “pull an Obama” and pass judgment on a particular arrest without knowing all the facts. But just generally speaking… if there’s any grounds whatsoever for trying to add a charge, the police usually don’t need encouragement to add it. If some outside politician has to pressure them to add a charge that they initially didn’t feel was appropriate… it might be a pretty fishy charge.

Jeff August 2, 2009 at 9:55 am

On the basement “strip club”:

Underage for alcohol does not mean underage for sex. I’m willing to conceded – for now – the point on underage consumption. That law is on the books, and cops should enforce it so long as it is on the books. (Though obviously, I’m working to convince people it shouldn’t be.)

But Senator Unterman seems to have more of a problem with the fact that these teens may have been having sex – which, assuming they are 16+, is legal – than the fact they they were drinking.

Interesting…

Bucky Plyler August 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Jeff,
You’ve got it wrong on Unterman. What bugs her (and me) is what Buzz is reporting. We have laws about pimping minors, sex slave trading minors, & the import-export of it. It’s not a great life for anyone to be trapped in this mess-how much more would that be true of a minor!

What’s interesting to me is the lack of enforcement-are lawmakers & DAs so involved in it that they won’t do anything about it? I don’t want to believe that, however what other answer could there be for the lack of enforcement? That’s why folks like Unterman are having to push the issue.

Are conservatives like me claiming that people have a right to do anything they want under the guise of freedom? Man this stuff isn’t anything but bondage.

Steve Perkins August 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Again, I don’t know the facts of this case (and neither do you)… but the sex crimes you speak of do require, you know, SEX. The fact that Unterman has to rely on “logic”, by saying that drinking and stripping “must” involve sex, tells me that there is probably squat for actual evidence on that point. Heck, for a strip club the money is in the tease… if you “satisfy” a customer they have no reason to stick around and spend more money!

The only tie to the other stuff Buzz talks about is that some people who “appeared underage” left as the cops showed up. The age of consent in Georgia is 16 (still underage) by the way… for some reason we are far more terrified of teenagers drinking a beer than we are of them getting knocked up in high school.

The sex trafficking stuff Buzz wrote about below this is atrocious. If this case involves that, then push it. If it doesn’t, then don’t smear the cops and DA’s for not being “conservative” enough to fabricate charges to score political points.

Jeff August 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Bucky,

Like Steve said, the first article seems to involve only underage drinking (possibly) and stripping.

There was evidently no sex going on when the cops came in, and apparently there was no evidence of actual intercourse happening – at least from what we can tell here. Again, however, the age of consent in GA is 16. Anyone at that age or above can legally give consent to any sexual act – including teasing/stripping. Meaning that while the alcohol consumption may have been illegal, the actual stripping was not – at least not any more than had a 22 yr old been doing it in the same place.

Unterman uses ‘logic’ to say pretty conclusively that if there was drinking and stripping somewhere where teens were, there was most definitely sex – and there is no logical foundation for such a claim. At best, you can arrive at there was ‘possibly’ sex going on, and then you still have to prove that at least one person was committing a sex act, AND that said person was underage for there to be an actual crime there – again, we’ll spare the debate on victimless crimes for the moment in favor of simply discussing laws that are currently on the books.

Buzz Brockway August 2, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Jeff and Steve,

If there were minors stripping, there’s a chance they were not doing it willingly. Unterman has asked law enforcement to look into that.

She’s also using this case to draw attention to an issue she’s very concerned about – underage sex slaves. Sadly metro Atlanta is a popular destination for those seeking such services. With the gang activity going on in Gwinnett, it’s not a stretch to think the basement strip club might just be involved in other illegal activity such as underage sex slaves and other gang related activity.

Jeff August 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm

so show probable cause and get a warrant to go look at the place.

I maintain that just because underage (for alcohol) people were seen leaving the scene does not mean underage sex was happening in any form, and for Unterman to say that there is a ‘logical’ connection there shows just how little logic she actually knows.

Bill Simon August 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Riiiight…’cause everyone knows alcohol does NOT remove anyone’s inhibitions at all, especially not teenagers. Nooooo…dumb assumptions.

Icarus August 2, 2009 at 9:26 pm

So we’re to assume that teenagers who are drinking are all having sex, but we’re not to assume that the State Insurance Commissioner would have any knowledge of a close associate whom he had appointed to oversee a commission raised $120K of questionable contributions?

I guess those poor teenagers couldn’t afford $2400 worth of id builders…

Bill Simon August 3, 2009 at 8:12 am

Charlie…you sound a LOT like little Mark Rountree did last year when he accused the Bannister campaign of sending out a mailpiece in violation of state law. No law was found to be broken.

No ruling has yet come from the Ethics Commission in this case. You can claim whatever you want…but, the Political Pundit Branch of Government has yet to gain any jurisdiction or, for that matter, any respect from ANYONE who gives a shi*t.

Whine-on, As*s-Wipe. :-)

Steve Perkins August 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Fine. If they “look into that” and find evidence, then move forward. If they find none, then don’t ask the D.A. to trump up charges just “to draw attention to an issue”. Either way… if the “possible minors” who left the scene had indeed been stripping, then they outdid Clark Kent in a phone booth by immediately taking off fully dressed!

Buzz Brockway August 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Who’s being asked to trump up charges?

Sure, we don’t know exactly what went on there but we do know a 28 yr old had a strip club in her basement that served alcohol to minors and may have had underage strippers.

If Jeff and Steve want to claim that’s where it ends so be it, but I’m certain there’s more to this story.

Steve Perkins August 3, 2009 at 5:50 am

I’m referring to comments by Sen. Unterman as well as at least Bill Simon in the thread above. “Drinking and nudity MUST equal sex”. I’ve darkened the door of a strip club or two in my day, some more respectable than others, and that is simply retarded-ignorant. I’m talking about it-hurts-my-head-that-you-are-allowed-to-write-laws ignorant.

Find evidence, move forward. Don’t, then don’t. But I’d hate to see a sheriff and D.A., pressured by some politician trying to increase her profile, bring a charge based solely on the “deductive reasoning” above if no credible evidence is found.

Jane August 3, 2009 at 8:39 am

An underground bar/unregulated sex business was a legitimate cause of concern of the surrounding neighbors. It reduced their quality of life and the value of their property. I hope the police and the code enforcement officials take this case seriously. My solution would be to seize the home and sell it at auction. The justification would be that the home was partially paid for by the proceeds of an illegal criminal enterprise.

Jeff August 3, 2009 at 8:50 am

Jane:

How does something that goes on behind closed doors (or even behind a decently enclosed privacy fence) ‘reduce their quality of life and the value of their property’?

You would seriously seize the home because its owner did something you happen to disagree with?

Can you please let us know your last name so I know NEVER to vote for you or any candidate you support?

Thanks!

Bill Simon August 3, 2009 at 9:46 am

How does something that goes on behind closed doors (or even behind a decently enclosed privacy fence) ‘reduce their quality of life and the value of their property’?

Gosh…gee…I dunno…maybe because of the LINE OF CARS PARKED along the street every night and/or the limos that pull-up at all hours of the night?

Jeff August 3, 2009 at 9:49 am

ok, you’ve shown a need for better parking enforcement.

you still haven’t made the case for reduced value of property.

I’ll give you quality of life until the cops get a better handle on parking enforcement, but even then government doesn’t exist to keep you happy. Meaning it is STILL not a governmental concern.

Bill Simon August 3, 2009 at 10:01 am

Jeff…its these types of activities that lead to people talking, real estate agents avoiding taking their clients to show them houses because of the reputation of the residents, and the general depressing of the neighborhood “spirit” when people start selling their houses and exiting the neighborhood because of these types of activities.

It is a governmental concern to enforce CODE RESTRICTIONS on the activities in a home. Things like “zoning laws.”

Steve Perkins August 3, 2009 at 9:40 am

Dude, I believe this is the same commenter who last week posted a Top 10 education reform list… mostly revolving around throwing parents in jail, taking away drivers licenses for grades below a B, and arming all the teachers with taser guns. You are wasting your breath here… psy-CHO.

Bill Greene August 3, 2009 at 10:01 am

“Don’t taze me, teach!”

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