221 – Keys to Successful Prosecution

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 Dr. Sandie Morgan and Dave Stachowiak discuss prosecution with Juliet Oliver, Deputy District Attorney Human Exploitation & Trafficking Unit Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Juliet has specialized in the prosecution of cases involving pimping, pandering, and human trafficking of both adults and minors. They discuss trading sex for survival, protocols for child sexual assault, and a couple of cases that Juliet prosecuted.

Key Points

  • Pimping is the act of receiving the proceeds, in some fashion, that is made from the prostitution activity of a victim.
  • Pandering relates specifically to the acts of trying to induce or persuade another individual to engage in prostitution activity. They do not have to have the intent to collect money from the prostitution activity.
  • In order to have prosecution for victims of survivor sex, especially for minors, there must be a pimp or trafficker responsible for the behavior in order to look at in a trafficking context.
  • Because human trafficking can present itself very differently and potentially not raise many red flags, it’s important to educate the population, especially those that are in hospital settings and local law enforcement, on the signs of a potential victim.


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Dave [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. This is Episode 221 – Keys to Successful Prosecution.

Production Credits [00:00:08] Produced by Innovate Learning, Maximizing Human Potential.

Dave [00:00:29] Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking Podcast. My name is Dave Stachowiak.

Sandie [00:00:34] And my name is Sandie Morgan.

Dave [00:00:36] And this is the show where we empower you to study the issues, be a voice, and make a difference in ending human trafficking. Sandie, we talk often about partnerships and of course, one of the wonderful partnerships that we have in, so many of the conversations we have is with law enforcement and with the legal side of government. And today, I’m, so glad that we’re going to be able to learn even more about successful prosecution. I’m glad to welcome to today’s show Juliet Oliver. She has been a deputy district attorney for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office since November 2008. Since becoming a deputy D.A., she has prosecuted a wide variety of juvenile and adult cases from driving under the influence to attempted murder. In March 2016, she was selected to join the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit, known as the HEAT Unit. She was a member of that unit until March 2020. There, Juliet specialized in the prosecution of cases involving pimping, pandering, and human trafficking of both adults and minors. Juliet has presented on the topic of human trafficking to many different audiences and is trained on the topic of the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases to law enforcement and other agencies locally and across the state. Juliet, we’re, so glad to have you on the show with us.

Juliet [00:01:56] Thank you, so much. I’m delighted to be on your show. Thank you, so much for having me.

Sandie [00:02:01] Well, we are going to dig right in, Juliet, because I have lots of questions. And I often have people who bring their questions to me and say, can you find out, blah, blah, blah. And, so to have somebody with your expertise here is a real gift. So, thank you for carving time out to record this podcast with us.

Juliet [00:02:23] It’s absolutely my pleasure.

Sandie [00:02:24] And I love that women are represented on the HEAT unit in our district attorney’s office. And we’re recording this in March 2020 and its Women’s History Month. So, I think that what you’re doing really is making history, and I just want to commend you. And when people start talking to me and I’m not that legal person, I know a lot about human trafficking. So, I sometimes flounder to find ways to answer their questions. One of the questions people often ask is, so what’s the difference between pimping and pandering? So, I thought I should ask you that and get it recorded.

Juliet [00:03:08] Excellent. OK. Yes. So, the difference between pimping and pandering, really the pimping is the act of receiving the proceeds, in some fashion, that are made from the prostitution activity of a victim. So, the pimps need not actually have any particularized intent to encourage the victim to engage in any type of prostitution activity. But let’s say an individual engages in prostitution activity and turns over any portion of the proceeds therefrom to another individual. And that individual knows that those are in fact, proceeds from prostitution activity. That individual is guilty of pimping. And, so it need not be actual monetary proceeds, it can be proceeds in the form of the cost of a hotel room for the night. It could be clothing and shoes, things that the victim might purchase for the individual who might be, you know, who we would identify as the person charged with pimping. So, I usually describe pimping as the individual, the defendant, the suspect can really take a sideline approach to somebody engaging in prostitution activity. If he or she is engaging in the activity, turning over that money or like I said, any other thing of value, to another person that is guilty of pimping.

Juliet [00:04:39] As it relates to pandering, however, no money has to be involved whatsoever. Nothing of value has involved whatsoever. It is the act, now, the actions specifically of the pimp or the trafficker trying to induce or persuade another individual to in fact, engage in prostitution activity. And, so there’s various different theories of liability that we as prosecutors can use when we go down the pandering path. And one of the most common ones is that a person procures another person for the purposes of prostitution. So, someone who I like to talk about it facilitates someone’s acts of prostitution. So, something we see commonly might be the pimp driving one of his victims to a local track to engage in a prostitution activity, that would be a form of pandering. Or the pimp takes his victims to various different hotels and is the one renting that particular hotel room and is paying for the hotel to enable his victim to specifically engage in the prostitution activities, that would be a form of pandering.

Sandie [00:05:51] What about if they do that online?

Juliet [00:05:54] Exactly. Many forms of pandering we see online, especially now with, of course, the rise in social media. And because prostitution activity, unfortunately, is very rampant online, pandering can include a pimp, let’s say, placing ads for someone online for the purposes of that person engaging in prostitution activity. Again, they don’t actually have to have any intent to collect any money from that prostitution activity. But if they knowingly are encouraging and have the intent to have that individual engage in prostitution activity, then any type of encouraging or facilitating behavior is going to amount to pandering.

Sandie [00:06:36] And pimping and pandering are often cited in human trafficking cases, is that right?

Juliet [00:06:44] That’s correct.

Sandie [00:06:45] So, let me ask you another question that often comes to me, and I’m not always exactly sure how to answer it, because sometimes it seems like the answer is yes. And other times, I’m not, so sure. But we talk about a lot about vulnerable populations and especially homeless youth, kids who have runaway kids who have been kicked out, a lot of different vulnerabilities. And, so when they engage in survival sex, where does that fall on this spectrum of issues?

Juliet [00:07:22] So, unfortunately, when we’re talking about survival sex, if we’re talking about a minor, for instance, who is engaging in sexual activity in exchange for anything of monetary value, you know, whether it be clothing, shelter, food, or even drugs. The important part for us, as prosecutors, is- is there somebody on the outskirts of that who’s encouraging that behavior, facilitating that behavior, or financially benefiting in some way. So, the survival sex piece does fall under commercial sexual exploitation when we’re talking about child welfare. And when we’re talking about ways in which social services can come in and assist a minor who is engaged in that type of behavior. And when a petition might be opened on the dependency side and like I said, under child welfare. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we are going to have a parallel prosecution on our end, because, like I said, we need to have a pimp or a trafficker who is responsible for that behavior to ultimately have a prosecution. Though certainly if there was someone who we could identify, who was encouraging that minor to engage in that behavior, then we could definitely look at it in a trafficking context and determine whether or not we could file a case on that individual. But if it’s simply the minor and of course, it could be adults too, but typically, you know, we see these things with minors. So, if it’s simply the minor engaging in that conduct without any encouragement or facilitation by another person and they’re engaging in the exchange of sexual activity, or even the exchange of sexually explicit photos or videos, in exchange for this thing of value, there’s not a prosecution on our end that we can take up unless someone separately identified as being a part of that, if that makes sense.

Sandie [00:09:29] Okay. So, if the person that they’re trading sex for maybe housing or food or whatever, is an adult, does that change the equation at all? Is there a way to prosecute the purchaser?

Juliet [00:09:44] There certainly is a way to prosecute the purchaser because the purchaser is deemed to be guilty of prostitution activity under standard prostitution code section 647 B in 653.22 of the penal code. But the law specifically dictates in California that that individual is not guilty of trafficking. But like I said, absolutely we can certainly go down the road of purchaser statutes. But unfortunately, those statutes are misdemeanors that don’t carry a sentence outside of local jail time. So, we are limited in that degree, which is very unfortunate. But of course, depending on the minors’ age, that can give rise to other charges, potentially that are felonies. And of course, if they are on the younger side, it could very well be a host of different sexual assault offenses that that person might be guilty of.

Sandie [00:10:38] Well, and this is where I think that when we talk about child sexual assault, I remember back to a conversation with my daughter when she was a NICU nurse calling me because she was working one night and a 12-year-old came in with her boyfriend and the baby was premature. And, so she was there and she’s like calling me, “Mom, this is trafficking.” She said, “we don’t have a protocol, blah, blah, blah.” I said, “but you do have protocols for when adult men have sex with a 12-year-old and there are sexual assault protocols, all of those things. So, you still call child protective services even though this person presents as a boyfriend.” So, I think there’s a lot of gray area for people in understanding those kinds of links. So, maybe you can help me have some clarity there.

Juliet [00:11:34] Certainly, I do think it’s an evolving process right now in the field as far as the response from typical and established mandated reporters when they do encounter something. And like you said, it can present itself very differently and potentially not raise red flags for someone to, you know, call law enforcement or to call Child Protective Services. But I do think ultimately the response needs to be the same and is moving in that direction. It’s just a matter of, of course, educating the population, educating those that are in hospitals and in the educational setting, that even if it’s a circumstance of trafficking where it appears to be a boyfriend situation, and that oftentimes it will present as a boyfriend situation, that that is something that should generate a call, the Child Protective Services and specifically to the human trafficking hotline or to local law enforcement who can come out and begin the human trafficking investigation. You know, we’re very blessed in the county of Orange that we have law enforcement officers throughout the county who are trained to do an immediate response to human trafficking of minor calls, whether that be to a hospital, to a school, or to a hotel, or to the track. And officers would routinely respond to those, just as I imagine that law enforcement would respond if it was a mandated reporter calling for a sexual assault offense, whether it be an adult or a minor. I think it’s just a matter of educating mandated reporters about what this looks like and giving them the resources of who to call. Just like you said, establishing a protocol for who needs to come out and begin to start asking the right question and interviewing. But of course, victims of trafficking and pimping can have different responses to law enforcement involvement than victims to necessarily child sexual assault or child molestation. Because, at least from my perspective and having prosecuted human trafficking cases for four years, typically minors who are being trafficked and including in that trafficking are being sexually assaulted by their trafficker. They are typically, like you said, coming from very trauma ridden pasts, where they are typically in and out of foster care, in and out of group homes, typically are habitual runaways have unfortunately been at the hands of extreme physical, emotional and sexual abuse, you know, in their early ages. And for a variety of reasons, they’re from can have a disinterest in speaking to law enforcement, in speaking to even perhaps somebody at the hospital who is asking the right questions anyway. And, so the reaction can look very different, I think. And, so that needs to be discussed as well and brought to the attention of mandated reporters that we’re not going to get someone who says, “yes, I am being trafficked. Can you call the police for me?”  That it is more like a domestic violence situation that we’re looking for red flags. And the person may be saying something, but it really evidences something else.

Sandie [00:15:09] That’s such an important point. And we actually interviewed Dr. Jodi Quas recently on the podcast about how to have that conversation. And we’ll put the link to that podcast in the show notes on this. So, we’re going to pull it in from talking and answering theoretical questions and let’s look at a couple of cases that you prosecuted and see how we can identify these concepts. So, the first one I want to look at is the June 2016 case of John Calhoun and the case is about a 13-year-old Jane Doe. Do you want to kind of give us a quick summary?

Juliet [00:15:53] Yes, absolutely. So, yes, exactly. In June of 2016, Jane Doe, who was 13 years old, was walking the track in a local city here in Orange County when she was contacted by law enforcement. She was contacted because of the clothing that she was wearing the time of night that it was, it was about 1:00 a.m. And most importantly, because she looked very young. She was contacted. And, of course, all the questions were asked of what she was doing in the middle of the night. And it was a known area for prostitution activities. So, she was asked if she was engaging in prostitution. She initially lied and said, no, she wasn’t. And then she ultimately did admit engaging in prostitution activity, but indicated that she was engaging on that prostitution activity on her own, but did identify a “friend” who had brought her to that particular location, so that she could engage in her prostitution work and credit to some amazing law enforcement investigative work. They continued to talk to her about this particular “friend”. And she actually led them to her friend’s location, who was parked in his vehicle. Defendant Calhoun was parked in his vehicle just less than a mile away and had been engaging in text messages with her while she was walking the track, engaging in her prostitution activity. And that was an important link because traffickers and pimps utilize text messaging fairly routinely to communicate with those that are working for them. And we could see on Jane Doe’s phone that someone by the name of John kept calling her and calling her while law enforcement was talking. And they immediately saw that and suspected that that might be a trafficker attempting to contact her, potentially knowing that she is being contacted by law enforcement. So, they ultimately actually seized the phone that Jane Doe was using, seized the phone that this defendant was using that night or early morning, shall we say. Jane Doe actually consented to the officers looking in her phone. And despite the fact that she called the defendant simply a friend, it was immediately obvious in those text messages that he was trafficking her. She was talking about the specific dates that she was going on, “dates” being a word used in the pimping pattern context to refer to the Prostitution Act or the exchange of a sexual act for money. And he was encouraging her to do all sorts of things sexually with the demand side, was referring to the fact that she was under-age. And, so ultimately, based on those messages, he was arrested that night. And Jane Doe was actually arrested that night as well. Not for prostitution activities, because, as you know, in California, we cannot arrest a minor for prostitution due to the decriminalization statutes. But she was arrested for lying to a police officer, having ultimately not given her correct age and date of birth, which is also very common for minors who are being trafficked. So, she was taken to juvenile hall and it was learned that she was on the run and was a missing juvenile. And, so she remained in juvenile hall for a few days and ultimately actually was seen by the Honorable Judge Hernandez in our Grace Court here in Orange County within days of her arrest and placement into juvenile hall. And of course, it was horribly unfortunate that she had to be in juvenile hall, but there was no secure facility to place her.

Juliet [00:19:48] And based on the filing of the petition for the lying to a police officer, she was able to be housed in juvenile hall and then to ultimately stay there, to be able to see Judge Hernandez, which was the beginning of an amazing collaborative effort for Jane Doe, which I can certainly talk about. But ultimately, the one thing I do want to add just the underlying facts of the case are, when she talked to police officers, even after John Calhoun was identified and arrested, she was very unwilling to talk about him as a pimp or a trafficker. They had engaged in sexual activity based on text messages we saw. Yet, she denied any of that and was completely shut down to law enforcement, did not want to give any additional information. Myself and members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force actually went the following morning to juvenile hall to talk to her and discovered at that time that she actually had a black eye that had been undetected in the middle of the night due to the lighting conditions, and that it was only after she was booked that they saw these injuries, took photos of these injuries, and then we saw them firsthand in juvenile hall. She did not want to discuss who was responsible for that injury. She lied about who was responsible. But approximately two weeks later, after continued meetings with her and just starting to build rapport with her, she did ultimately admit that the defendant was trafficking her, that they had engaged in multiple different sex acts together, and that he had been trafficking her for about a month in various different counties all throughout California, and that he had physically assaulted her countless times over the course of that month.

Sandie [00:21:32] So, with that knowledge, then, can you explain how when you prosecuted this there were enhancements. And what is an enhancement?

Juliet [00:21:43] Yes, absolutely. And, so human trafficking of a minor is penal code section 236.1 B1 and it carries a maximum exposure and state prison of 12 years. However, we do have what we refer to, at least in our county, we refer to it as the “force enhancement”, which is penal code section 236.1 B2. And that is when we do see elements of force, fear, duress, coercion, menace, the threat of unlawful injury, then we can file what’s called this force enhancement, which actually elevates the defendant’s prison exposure from a minimum of 15 years to life in state prison. So, the reason why that code section exists is because human trafficking of a minor on its face, like I said, is a maximum of twelve. And the standard is someone simply causing, inducing, persuading, or merely attempting to cause, induce, or persuade a minor to engage in an unlawful sex act with the intent to pimp or pander them, basically. And as we’ve talked about before, as we talked about pandering, a pimp or trafficker need not expect to get any money in return, when we’re talking about pandering. Right? It’s the intent to put that person out for the purposes of prostitution. So, someone can be guilty of trafficking by merely attempting to cause a child to engage in prostitution activity with the intent to pander them. So, again, with the intent that that person, in fact, engage in prostitution activity. So, it’s a really quiet a low standard as far as what the type of conduct that falls into human trafficking of a minor, which of course, is very important for us to have an effect on the human trafficking epidemic in our county and across the country. So, what the law recognizes is that if it’s going to include force, fear, duress, and the like of the list that I just described, then we add that enhancement. And, so those are the things that we’re specifically looking for when we are encountered with a human trafficking of a minor case, because we want to find out if, of course, those things are taking place and then file that accordingly. The very unfortunate reality of that, though, is that the force enhancement typically requires a cooperative victim. And that is very unusual in our world. Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned already, the victims of trafficking typically have a very tragic and trauma ridden histories that have led them to be distrusting of police where in their not ultimately admitting, “yes, he physically assaulted me. Yes, he sexually assaulted me.” And, so unless we have other extrinsic evidence to prove that, we’re not going to be able to file the force enhancement. For example, if Jane Doe did not have that black eye that she happened to have the day that law enforcement pulled her over, we wouldn’t have ever known to ask those questions. She would have probably been asked, you know, “is he physical with you?” She would have said no. And then that would have been the end of it.

Sandie [00:25:01] What I wanted to do right here is mention the quote that ended up on the public record in the newspapers from you. And it says, “Just as big as the human trafficking problem is, it takes an equal, if not greater size and effort of collaboration to tackle the problem.” You said the trafficker was successfully prosecuted, but only because of many different agencies and partners that came together and stopped at no end to ensure the victim’s safety and ensure that Mr. Calhoun would never victimize her again. So, we have just a few minutes left, can you speak to the collaborative aspect of the success of your case?

Juliet [00:25:53] Absolutely. And I’ll divide it into two things: collaborative efforts even outside the county and then, of course, within the county. And, so when I talk about outside the county, Jane Doe had actually been contacted by law enforcement and social services outside of the county. And because she is a minor, she, of course, had a social worker and that social worker was aware of her contact in a different county. So, when we received our case very morning that the defendant was in custody and Jane Doe was in juvenile hall, I received a call from a social worker who already knew that Jane Doe had been contacted by law enforcement here at Orange County. And she proceeded to tell me about Jane Doe’s history about being contacted by law enforcement there. I immediately contacted the district attorney and the investigator involved in that law enforcement contact in that county. And they proceeded to tell me how Jane Doe spoke with them and actually talked about a trafficker named John who was physically abusive with her. And she had talked about different facts that made us know that it was specifically John Calhoun, my defendant. So, based on those statements and information that I received from the other county, I was immediately able to file the force enhancement, even though Jane Doe, sitting in juvenile hall, was denying that he was responsible for her physical abuse.

Juliet [00:27:19] So, that’s an example of the outside collaboration. And then, of course, the inside county collaboration is like I mentioned, Jane Doe was seen by Grace Court. Our collaborative piece, that court here in Orange County and was first seen by Judge Hernandez, was immediately appointed a public defender. I was there. The investigating officer was there. And we began to meet and learn about Jane Doe. And we all worked together to try and encourage her to ultimately, when she left juvenile hall to stay in a placement setting that she was going to be put in. Unfortunately, again, that is very common in our field. She was not one who was interested in staying put in a particular location. She already had a history of being a habitual runaway. And she continued to do that through the course of our investigation and prosecution of Mr. Calhoun. And she admitted, she said, you know, I just tell people what they want to say and get to where I need to go, because I don’t expect to ever see any of these people again, whether it’s a social worker, whether it’s a law enforcement officer, whether it’s a probation officer coming to visit her in the hall. That has been her survival mechanism of I say what I need to say. They let me out. They put me where I need to go, and then I go on the run again. So, for me, one of the big things I wanted to show her was that we are not those professionals, that we are the ones that are going to continue to be there and meet her wherever she at every single time, that if she runs, we’re going to be there when she’s ready to come back. If she runs, we’re the ones she can call and say, I want to come back or I’m out on the track and I need help and that we’re going to continue to show up. And that’s truly what happened over the course of her experience with the justice system while the case being prosecuted. And law enforcement did continue every single time that she ran, if a warrant was put out for her, the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force specifically went out and looked for her. And every time she was picked up, she was, so pleasantly surprised. Of course, she was frustrated as a 13-year-old minor on the run, but she ultimately was always happy that these people had come and found her and was amazed that, in fact, the same law enforcement agency had put in this commitment to finding her and caring for her. And because of her experience in Grace Court, every time law enforcement contacted her, we brought her back to Grace Court, which then allowed her to sit with the same prosecutor, myself, the same local social worker, the same victim advocate, the same judge who’s all already familiar with her history, and that we could then move forward together with her, as opposed to just being a new set of faces that she’s going to say whatever she needs to say to get by. And, so it was really that collaborative effort with social services, the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, the court system, the public defender’s office, our wonderful victim advocacy partners- Waymakers. All of us together continuing to wrap around her, ultimately led to the successful prosecution of the trafficker and ultimately to Jane Doe’s success as well. Now she is doing very, very well.

Sandie [00:30:40] That is such a good case study. And for me, the big success is Jane Doe is doing well. But I know my listeners are going to send me questions and say, but how many years did he get? So, we have to close with that.

Juliet [00:30:55] Certainly, he was found guilty of all charges and was sentenced to twenty-three years to life in state prison.

Sandie [00:31:02] That’s a wonderful story. And I want to thank you, so much for breaking it down for us. I learned, so much during this conversation and we will have to do this again. I love the case study approach and you’re just brilliant, Juliet. And we are, so happy to have the partnership to work together with you in Orange County.

Juliet [00:31:25] You’re, so kind. Thank you, so much for those kind words. I really appreciate it. And I’m honored to get to sit and chat with you both about human trafficking prosecutions and the amazing work that you do that really enables us to do ours.

Dave [00:31:38] Sandie, I’ll echo what you said. I mean, just an incredible example of collaboration and, so much of what we talk about in our work is about collaboration and partnership. And we’re inviting you to also take that first step. If you, like us, care about this, so much and want to be helpful. One of the first things you can do is to take that first step by hopping online and downloading a copy of Sandie’s book, The Five Things You Must Know, A Quick Start Guide to Ending Human Trafficking. It’s absolutely free, it’ll teach you the five critical things that Sandie has identified that you should know before you join the fight against trafficking. And of course, one of the big ones is partnership and collaboration. You can get access to that by going over to Endinghumantrafficking.org. And if today’s conversation has brought up some questions for you, we’re inviting you to, of course, reach out to us. The best way to do that is either to go over to the Website at endinghumantrafficking.org or sending us an email, and our e-mail address is feedback@endinghumantrafficking.org. And we look forward to hearing your questions, so we can consider them for a future episode. Sandie, always a pleasure. And I’ll see you in two weeks.

Sandie [00:32:53] Alright.

Dave [00:32:53] Thanks, everybody.

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