Sex trafficking arrests made

A recent focus on prostitution in New Orleans in advance of Super Bowl XLVII has netted multiple arrests, including several individuals as part of a federal undercover investigation into human trafficking.

Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are conducting stings in the French Quarter, Central Business District and surrounding areas related to prostitution because of the large crowds expected in town for the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.

On Tuesday, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents arrested eight suspects in connection with an ongoing investigation into sex trafficking in the city, said Bryan Cox, a public affairs officer for ICE.

Cox said he could not release much information on the incident but said the police found five women from out of state who had been forced into prostitution after being brought into the city under false pretenses.

Women had been lured to New Orleans with the promise of regular work, or that they would only have to go on non-sexual dates with men, Cox said.

Although Cox wouldn’t release the names of the victims or suspects in the cases, according to Magistrate Court records, at least two of the women were brought to the city by an Oklahoma man, who told them they would only have to date lonely old men.

Christopher Frazier, 33, was booked with pandering and two counts of human trafficking Tuesday after a 24-year-old woman and 20-year-old woman told authorities he’d forced them into prostitution.

The two women were captured by undercover agents operating a sting at a downtown hotel set up through advertisements on adult websites.

According to court records, one of the women met an officer from a task force operated by Louisiana State Police, New Orleans detectives, ICE agents and FBI agents and presented him a price for sex. She later called the other woman to join in, and officers then took them both into custody.

They told officers that Frazier met them in Oklahoma when they were homeless, then lied to them to get them to New Orleans.

They also said that he set up all their “dates.”

Court records show several other individuals were arrested under similar circumstances to Frazier’s, like Datryl Blake, 35, who was booked with two counts of pandering and human trafficking.

Investigators also booked Ascience Auston, 21; Bryan Tessier, 32; and William Ledet Sr., 35 with pandering. Cox said the investigation into prostitution and human trafficking will continue throughout the week.