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Continued: Victims step forward to help bust St. Paul sex-trafficking ring

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG and PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Last update: April 10, 2013 - 11:27 PM

Alexander was convicted in 2012 of prostitution in Hennepin County, and was sentenced to 90 days of confinement and one year probation.

Neighbors said they recognized Robert Washington, who lived in the duplex on Hawthorne.

A neighbor who declined to provide her name for safety reasons said she noticed a lot of people, mostly men, going in and out of the house. She also said a pair of Cadillacs would leave and come back a lot, especially at night.

Records indicate that police have been called to the house numerous times within the past few years, responding more than a dozen times in 2012 for fights, possible thefts and other issues.

On three separate occasions in 2010, one victim told police she was being prostituted by Antonio Washington, averaging five or six men and $250 a night. St. Paul police Sgt. John Bandemer, head of the Gerald Vick Human Trafficking Task Force, said that police were aware of those incidents, and that a grant in 2012 from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota helped them identify gaps in their work on sex trafficking cases.

Police and the county attorney’s office will create a “tool kit” this year to better tackle such cases, rolling out new investigative and prosecutorial protocol in Ramsey County before launching it as a statewide model.

Authorities declined to speak in more detail about what they’ve identified as problems and possible solutions, citing a May human trafficking conference where Choi will outline the effort.

The recent case is unusual because of the number of victims and the conspiracy involved, Choi said. “We’re at the tip of the iceberg, what you saw today,” he said. “The problem is much deeper.”


Star Tribune staff writer Nicole Norfleet contributed to this report. Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482


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