Man accused of trafficking Australian women goes on trial

By Peter Mitchell

A violent pimp is being charged with sex trafficking by force. Photo / Thinkstock
A violent pimp is being charged with sex trafficking by force. Photo / Thinkstock

A Jamaican man accused of being a violent pimp who forced women into prostitution in Australia will face trial in a Miami, Florida, court.

Jury selection in the US District Court is scheduled to begin on Monday (Tuesday AEST).

Damion St Patrick Baston, 37, is charged with sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion after being arrested in New York in January following a joint operation by Australian and US authorities.

"Baston is a violent pimp who has trafficked women across several continents, including in the southern district of Florida, Australia, and Dubai," prosecutor Roy Altman told the court earlier this year.

Much of the evidence detailed in US court documents come from Baston's alleged pimping of two women from apartments on Queensland's Gold Coast.

Three of his alleged victims are expected to testify against him at the trial.

After making more than US$200,000 (NZ$230,653) on the Gold Coast, he then allegedly took one Australian woman to Dubai and Miami to work as a prostitute.

According to an exhibit list filed in court, prosecutors will show the jury a photograph of Baston wearing a fur and holding cash and another photo of him holding a condom and cash.

Photos of a Surfers Paradise penthouse and an apartment in Bathurst St, Sydney, will also be submitted, along with ANZ, Commonwealth and Westpac bank records and transactions.

A 21-year-old Lithuanian woman, known to the court as GP, who allegedly worked as a prostitute for Baston told NSW police he hung her by her feet over a fire escape, forced her to remain in a scalding shower for several hours and beat her relentlessly.

"According to the sexual battery detective who interviewed GP that night, GP was the most terrified victim she had ever encountered in her 25 years at the police department," prosecutors said.

- AAP

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