The appellant appeals his conviction for trafficking in persons for the purposes of prostitution in violation of Penal Law sec. 203A(a), pimping for prostitution, and threats and false imprisonment. The appellants’ two co-conspirators reached plea agreements with prosecutors. The appellant generally admits the underlying facts of the case, but argues on appeal that these facts do not amount to trafficking in persons but rather pimping for prostitution, which has a lower sentence. The appellant “acquired” the two complainants in November of 2001 and brought them to a facility in Tel Aviv operated by the first co-conspirator for the purpose of employing them as prostitutes. Appellant “imprisoned the complainants in the facility, took their passports, and abused them physically.” The first co-conspirator supervised the complainants, forced them to work as prostitutes, and collected fees. In or around February 2002, the first co-conspirator transferred the complainants to the custody and supervision of the appellant. The appellant housed the complainants in his apartment and managed all aspects of their work as prostitutes, from arranging clients to fee collection. The appellant made each complainant pay him part of her profits for food and rent. The complainants were not allowed to leave the apartment without the appellant’s permission and supervision. The appellant argued that the lower court erred by not applying a narrow definition of “purchase” as used in property law. The Supreme Court held that section 203A(a) prohibits any deal intended to create a property relationship in which a person acquires rights in another human being. The meaning of the phrases “sale and purchase” in section 203A(a) refer to any deal, in exchange for any consideration, that grants a person any kind of property right in another human being who serves as the object of the deal. It is immaterial whether the business arrangement is under the guise of ownership, rental, borrowing, partnership, or any other means of creating a property interest in a person. The Court held that the appellant’s actions clearly constituted a business arrangement that created a property interest in a human being and that, therefore, these circumstances met the legal criteria for the crime of trafficking in persons.
Frudenthal v. Israel