Another interesting expansion of the meaning of trafficking

“Michael Quinn, also known as ‘Mick’, aka ‘southof’, aka ‘inhere’, knowingly travelled in interstate commerce and into the US from Australia to Los Angeles county, within the central district of California, for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct … namely, to engage in sexual acts with a boy approximately six years of age,” the grand jury indictment stated.

Normally (the whole thing was a sting, there was no 6 year old) trafficking refers to the victim moving over borders. Interesting how prosecutors expand definitions, no?

31 thoughts on “Another interesting expansion of the meaning of trafficking”

  1. The pervert comes to his victim and this is “trafficking”?

    You can “traffick” yourself?

    More and more , the world’s lawdogs need the noose as much or indeed more than the criminals. Any gang as determined to extend and enhance their power to the degree that modern lawdogs are is very, very dangerous indeed.

  2. Scant details are given, but perhaps he was told that the (non-existent) boy was being brought in from a neighbouring state. That makes him an accessory to attempted trafficking, or something ridiculously insignificant like that.

    I’m more bothered by how normal the guy looks (his photo is shown on other articles about the case). Not the kind of person you’d ever suspect.

  3. “how normal the guy looks”…

    My wife is convinced that she can tell when someone is ‘dodgy’. I’d like to think so too, but that would mean the parents of all the abused children in the world are morons, or more stupid than me.

  4. I find thiis US practice of entrapment quite disturbing. The man may or may not be a bad guy, but the fact was that he probably hadn’t committed an arrestable offence until the agents of the state got involved and even then the offence that it is claimed he intended to commit was never going to happen.

    All reminiscent of the Christopher Tappin affair and the conspiracy to export non-existent batteries to Iran.

  5. Conversation I oncenoverhears at a football ground:

    Boy: “Alex Ferguson looks like a paedo”
    Dad: “What does a paedo look like?”
    Boy: ” Like….like Alex Ferguson”

  6. I may be reading wrong, but that’s just the charge sheet, right? Prosecutors are bound to throw anything that might stick, that’s their role.

    I agree it’s a ludicrous charge, it’s just outrage-farming. Some kind of intent/conspiracy charge would be better.

  7. If the reports are accurate, this is not entrapment as I understand it.

    We obviously have a different view as to what entrapment is then, because that is exactly what it sounds like to me.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    NielsR – “I agree it’s a ludicrous charge, it’s just outrage-farming. Some kind of intent/conspiracy charge would be better.”

    He handed over the money. More than was asked actually. That is not intent and it is not conspiracy. He went to a hotel to sodomise a six year old boy.

    The charges look pretty reasonable to me. Whether there was entrapment depends on what the conversations on line were. I assume the US authorities know what they are doing when it comes to sting operations. They do enough of them.

    I am more interested to notice that a Gay Rugby player, a member of a Gay Rugby team, in LA to play in a Gay Rugby tournament, for a cup named for a Gay Rugby playing man, turns out to be a paedophile. Who would have guessed that?

  9. This used to be a blog about Economics.
    Now its soft porn oriented on the lines of “why can’t rich men buy what sex they want?”

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew M – “I’m more bothered by how normal the guy looks (his photo is shown on other articles about the case). Not the kind of person you’d ever suspect.”

    Yeah but as others have noted, Operation Yewtree, so far, has been a war on blokes who look a little weird. Not actually men who are known to have had sex with children – David Bowie was never questioned, nor has Jimmy Page – as long as they look normal and are cool.

    I don’t think that the way someone looks is all that predictive.

  11. SMFS – Fair point.

    As someone mentioned the other day, Operation Yewtree only targeted stars who were popular back in their day, but who you’d be embarrassed to mention today.

  12. Nothing in the quoted Grand Jury charge says anything about trafficking.

    Its says he ‘travelled . . . for the purposes of illicit sexual conduct’ (which in the US, post-Mann Act, the travelling for the illegal sex and the illegal sex itself are two separate crimes) but nothing about trafficking.

    The *headline* screams trafficking, and its said in the article – but no access to an actual source quote or document is provided. So I’d go with ‘Guardian editors and writers asleep at the wheel again’ before picking up even the massively favored ‘prosecutor expands charges to gin up headlines and further his career’.

    In fact, even though its being repeated across the world – everyone posts the exact same excerpt of the opening of the GJI and no one provides a link to the prosecutor or the actual document listing charges.

    FUCK! They don’t even list which court the GJ indictment is from – I would assume the Federal District but who the hell knows? Shit like that certainly isn’t important to today’s journalists.

  13. @SJW: “If the reports are accurate, this is not entrapment as I understand it”

    Entrapment is the inducement by law officers of an individual to commit an offence that they would not otherwise have committed. What matters is that the specific offence would not have been committed, not that the suposed offender might have committed a similar offence elsewhere.

    Inducing someone to rob Bank A may or may not be entrapment, but the fact that that person may be a bank robber who has already robbed Banks B, C & D is irrelevant.

    In this case the defendant is hardly likely to have committed the crime without the inducement of law officers not least because there was no little boy.

    As far as I can see the only crime here is 4 con-man taking an Australian tourist for $260. I bet that, even if acquitted, he never gets his money back.

  14. Alex, in the US it *does* matter. Entrapment is defined far more narrowly here than what you’re listing.

    IOW, inducing someone to provide you with marijuana, the guy would have to show that, absent the inducement, he would not be the sort of person to provide others with MJ, not just that he wouldn’t have committed that specific offense at that specific time.

  15. @Agammamon: I don’t disagree that that is what the US standard is. I just think it is in appropriate. It would be much better for the US authorities to let the individual know that they are aware of their supposed intention and warn them off than to go through the whole charade of enticing a citizen (or in this case a foreigner) to commit a criminal offence.

  16. LIts says he ‘travelled . . . for the purposes of illicit sexual conduct’ (which in the US, post-Mann Act, the travelling for the illegal sex and the illegal sex itself are two separate crimes) but nothing about trafficking.”

    Way to criminalise a Led Zep tour, America. Way to kill our buzz, dudes

  17. On the face of it, from SJW’s link, he committed a crime that was invented to entrap him. No real people were involved. A sentence that would prevent him from abusing real people seems desirable – but in the absence of him actually committing a *real* crime one has to ask what justice would demand.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    john77 – “On the face of it, from SJW’s link, he committed a crime that was invented to entrap him. No real people were involved. A sentence that would prevent him from abusing real people seems desirable – but in the absence of him actually committing a *real* crime one has to ask what justice would demand.”

    Sorry but what? I know it is the sign of the Fifth Horseman when I would agree with Paul B, but what the hell?

    He committed a crime. He organised it so that someone would procure him a six year old boy to sodomise. He paid money to do so. How is this not a crime? He did not go through with it, and in fact the boy was fictional, but the idea that he did not commit a crime is bizarre.

    You seriously want people like this on the street, free to do what they like, right up to the moment they actually penetrate a child? You think that someone can cruise the streets with rope, a blind fold, some knock out drugs, a DIY guide to kidnap and rape, and no crime is committed until they actually grab a child?

    There is entrapment. Police sometimes do it. The murdered newsreading girl was a good example. But this does not look like one such example.

  19. @ SMFS
    Of course I don’t want people like that molesting children. But I do have a problem with Americans creating criminal conspiracies to lure foreign nationals to the USA in order to prosecute and jail them for crimes they haven’t yet committed. Too much like Beria for my taste.

  20. John77 I don’t think he was lured to the US. I think he was already there, but I take the rest of your point. The purpose of the police is to prevent crimes and to apprehend people who have committed crimes. It is not to encourage people to commit offences for which they can be arrested.

  21. He was going to the US on a rugby tour. Allegedly he visited a website to try to procure a child to have sex with while he was there. If that’s the case, I’d much rather he found himself dealing with a police officer than with a genuine pander.

  22. Tim W “And you think the freedom to buy something is not an economic matter” .Not a “thing” being bought but a person _ there is a difference.

  23. @ Alex
    “An undercover US homeland security investigations agent allegedly began communicating with Quinn on a social networking website before he flew to the US last month.”

  24. @ SJW
    So travelling … is a crime under US law!
    OK, they’ve got an excuse to lock him up. Still stinks.
    Note that under clause (d) the undercover agent is clearly a criminal and should go to jail with Mr Quinn.

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