Criminals, like vampires, prey on the weak.
This is especially true of vampire pimps, according to court documents unleashed recently by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Courthouse News gives us the story of Damion Baston, who, like most vampires, emigrated illegally to the U.S. and set up a criminal enterprise.
Baston, who called himself “Drac,” dressed like a vampire, including the use of gold-plated fangs and yellow contact lenses.
In 2014, the 37-year-old Jamaican was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for beating and raping multiple women he forced into a global prostitution ring.
Baston “traveled the world, funding his extravagant lifestyle following the fifth law of ‘Pimpology,’ a book written by ‘Pimpin’ Ken,’ which says pimps should ‘prey on the weak’ – in this case, women who were victims of sexual abuse as children,” writes Courthouse News.
Baston’s case was the first U.S. conviction under a 2008 law intended to combat international sex trafficking. Baston’s attorneys argued on appeal that U.S. courts should not administer punishment for acts of prostitution in other countries, including Australia, where prostitution is legal.
The appeals court said the 2008 law, which allows “extraterritorial” prosecution, is perfectly legit.
“In short, Baston used this country as a home base and took advantage of its laws; he cannot now complain about being subjected to those laws,” the appeals court said.
Baston, who lived in Florida but also had operations in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, China, and Brazil, will remain in prison and must pay an Australian woman an additional $400,000 in restitution, the court ordered.
One of Baston’s victims was a Georgia Southern student who became a prostitute to pay for college. The 21-year-old woman identified as “T.M.” described multiple violent episodes where Baston beat her and threatened to harm her family if she left his employ. In one instance, Baston wrapped a belt around her neck and made her beg for forgiveness while she crawled around on her hands and knees like a dog, court records say.
Another 21-year-old Georgia woman identified as “J.R.” worked at Little Caesar’s before Baston saw her modelling pictures on Instagram and convinced her to take a bus to Miami. She too said Baston was violent, often punching her in the face. He also threatened to “chop her body up” and throw her in the Florida Everglades, according to court documents.
The Georgia victims were also awarded restitution, about $11,000 each.
According to the appeals ruling, the district court calculated restitution by multiplying hours worked by the amounts the women said they charged and subtracted housing and other expenses paid by Baston.
Baston traveled with his mother from Jamaica to the U.S. when he was a child. He returned to the island nation in 1998 because of a felony conviction and worked as a male stripper. He is believed to have started a brothel in Australia in 2009 before returning to the U.S. and pimping women in Miami.
Baston was able to travel around the globe and recruit young women because he purchased the identity of an American.
The U.S. State Department said Baston was brought to the attention of U.S. law enforcement in 2012 when an Australian woman received an email with a link to a prostitution website featuring her niece. The aunt contacted the U.S. embassy in Canberra trying to stop her niece from returning to the U.S.
Atlanta, by the way, has been ranked among the worst in the U.S. for sex trafficking.