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Alleged pimp held in beating is first charged under new law

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A 28-year-old alleged Waikiki pimp is the first person to be indicted under a new sex trafficking law that one advocate says creates a fundamental shift in the way authorities investigate prostitution.

Demarion Keyes of Lewers Street was indicted Thursday on charges of sex trafficking, first-degree promoting prostitution, kidnapping and first-degree assault. He was being held at Oahu Community Correctional Center in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Gov. David Ige signed the sex trafficking offense into law July 5. The law makes sex trafficking a Class A felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison, and replaces first-degree promoting prostitution.

Kris Coffield, executive director of Imualliance, a nonprofit organization for victims of human trafficking, said Monday the law allows authorities to treat sex workers as victims and not as criminals who commit prostitution.

He said defining a person as a sex trafficking victim “automatically triggers a whole battery of services,” such as housing, medical and psychological care for the victim. By giving victims a safe place, they will more likely talk to authorities about what happened to them, he said.

Previously, prostitutes were asked to testify against their pimps to avoid prosecution as a prostitute, he said.

“In the past it was a roll of the dice whether they would receive any services at all,” he said. He said there are about 150 high-risk sex trafficking establishments in Hawaii.

In addition, it broadens the definition of a sex trafficking victim to include someone coerced to “remain” in prostitution and makes it easier for authorities to prosecute offenses against minors.

Furthermore, the law allows investigators to gather evidence in sex trafficking cases by using wiretaps and intercepting electronic communications.

Keyes allegedly beat his victim in his apartment Aug. 7 for about an hour because she wanted out of prostitution, causing her to sustain a broken jaw, internal bleeding and a lacerated spleen, sources said.

A police affidavit filed in Honolulu District Court last week said Keyes told the woman that she was never going to stop working for him and that he would beat her if she tried to leave. He punched, slapped and choked the woman, and struck her with a belt, the affidavit said.

The woman told police she lost consciousness during the beating and escaped when Keyes left the room to look for a bat.

Keyes was arrested the next day at Honolulu Airport after the victim’s mother called police, saying Keyes was trying to leave the state.

The victim told police she had been working as a prostitute for Keyes for 18 months.

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  • Good. Trafficking in sex and human labor is a crime against humanity as defined by the United Nations. If convicted this suspect should receive the maximum penalty. Same applies to those illegally trafficked as domestic workers, farm labor and fishermen. Human trafficking in the Hawaii Long Line fishing industry is (according to Jim Mendonza KGMB) at nearly 1,200 men in Port Honolulu. Filthy living conditions and men are in prison at piers 18-20 and 36-38.

  • Hawaii always the last state to make good laws because of the Asians political and culture of submissive women. Asians always living in the past. Smart, educated, but heartless.

  • It is about time, that the pimps spend more time in jail, for keeping their hookers in line, with violence or death.

    Many dead prostitutes, most likely had an angry pimp, that was behind their deaths.

    Prostitution should be government regulated, because it will never end. It has a Bible recognition. Only voluntary employees.

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