Michigan Man and Woman Charged with Human Trafficking
Cambridge detectives Donofrio & Hussey integral in this case
The following is a press release from the Middlesexx District Attoorney's Office. Working off a tip from an astute hotel employee, the efforts of Cambridge Police Detectives Kevin Donofrio and Brian Hussey were what unraveled this scheme and caught these perpetrators before they could victimize others.
WOBURN - A Michigan man and woman have been charged under the state’s new human trafficking law, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan informed the public today.
Melando Yaphet Streety, 30, of Michigan, was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on charges of trafficking a person under 18 for sexual servitude (2 counts), deriving support from a minor prostitute (2 counts) and rape (5 counts). Middlesex Superior Court Clerk Magistrate Michael Sullivan ordered the defendant to be held without bail.
Bryahna Tracey-Bushamie, 20, of Michigan was arraigned on charges of trafficking a person under 18 for sexual servitude (2 counts) and deriving support from a minor prostitute (2 counts). Clerk Magistrate Sullivan ordered her to be held on $100,000 cash bail with the conditions that if she makes bail she reside in Michigan with her family and comply with GPS monitoring, have no direct or indirect contact with the victims and witnesses, surrender her passport and report to probation once a week by phone.
The defendants are scheduled to be in court on October 30 for a pre-trial hearing.
“These are disturbing allegations that the defendants orchestrated a scheme by which they brought two young women from Michigan to Cambridge and forced them to work as prostitutes,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Human trafficking is estimated to be a $32 billion industry which relies on exploitation for economic profit. Each year, nearly 30 million people are trafficked worldwide and 15-18 thousand are estimated to be trafficked in the U.S. alone. This new human trafficking legislation has given us more effective tools to target prostitution and forced labor, ensuring that we have more resources to better aid the victims of this devastating crime.”
“Sexual exploitation has, of course, existed for years and we have often uncovered it in the course of seemingly unrelated criminal investigations,” said Ryan. “Several years ago, collaboration between the District Attorney’s Office, Lowell Police, Lowell probation and the schools, revealed many instances where young girls had been inducted into gang membership through coerced sexual encounters. Working with the Lowell Office of The (then) Department of Children and Families, a partnership was formed between our agencies and community service providers to create a “working group” to study and discuss the issue of human trafficking and to offer victims assistance.”
“Then, in 2009, tragically, a young girl who was a passenger in a car in Lowell died when she was struck by bullets intended for the driver. Through our investigation, we learned that she and another young female passenger in the car had been sexually exploited. Due to the partnership we had developed, we were able to work with other law enforcement agencies and community providers to assist the surviving witness to access services and help to get her out of her situation. Still, we would have been in a better position to help the victims even more -- and to hold the offenders accountable-- if we had the legal resources we now have. I am so gratified that the work we began years ago has now led us to this point. I am committed to eradicating the commercial sex industry in this county and to working to educate young people, especially, that being forced into this life is a crime and there is help for them.”
In the present case, in early September, according to authorities, defendant Tracey-Bushamie drove the victims from Michigan in a vehicle rented by defendant Streety to Cambridge allegedly for the purpose of engaging in the commercial sex industry.
On September 7, it is alleged that defendant Streety rented a room at the Best Western Plus Hotel Tria in Cambridge. Advertisements were posted to the on-line website www.backpage.com offering the victims to perform sexual services for a fee and providing a phone number. The victims were dropped at the hotel by the defendants, who gave them cell phones with numbers corresponding to those listed on the ads. The victims were directed to take calls, arrange and engage in sexual services in exchange for money and then collect the money and turn it over to the defendants.
On September 9, defendant Streety allegedly rented a room at the Marriott Hotel in Kendall Square, Cambridge, paying for it in cash. The arrangements were the same as before, but Streety accompanied the victims to the room on this occasion. While there, and before anyone else arrived, it is alleged that he forced both of them to engage in nonconsensual sex. Following that, Streety left the room and a client arrived. Hotel security, becoming suspicious, contacted the Cambridge Police Department. Cambridge police located the www.backpage.com advertisement for services that had been posted and made contact with one of the victims and thereafter the scheme was discovered. Through their investigation, authorities located money, cell phones, a ledger, advertisements, condoms, a credit card and receipts.
The state’s new human trafficking law, “An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People,” went into effect on February 19, 2012. The law targets all aspects of the human trafficking chain: the supply level (victims), the distribution level (traffickers or “pimps”), and the demand level (“johns”). It creates new crimes, and increases penalties for existing crimes, especially where they involve juveniles. It also provides a broad range of services for victims and facilitates coordinated information sharing among agencies.
On October 11, District Attorney Ryan, members of her staff, and Lowell Police Superintendent Deborah Friedl discussed the new human trafficking law and provided resource sharing information to assist victims at a training for community leaders sponsored by Lowell City Manager Bernie Lynch, the City Manager’s Domestic Violence Task Force and Lowell General Hospital.
These charges are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The investigation remains ongoing. The case is being investigated by the Cambridge Police Department, with the assistance of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. The Victim Witness Advocate is Susie Marshall.