Violent International Pimp Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison
Well, it's only Tuesday and there are already quite a few trials coming to an end in Miami courts this week.
First there was the international drug lord who got 150 years, then the delusional but smooth con man who was sentenced to five years, and now, naturally, there's the globetrotting pimp who escaped a life sentence but will still spend 27 years behind bars.
Damion St. Patrick Baston was sentenced yesterday after leaving a trail of women he had forced into prostitution across the globe and convicted of 21 charges of sex trafficking, fraud, and money laundering.
Baston denied he has done anything wrong and, according to the Miami Herald, told the judge: "I don't even know what sex trafficking is."
Born in Jamaica, Baston came to the States as a child. He worked at one point as a male stripper and ran some two-bit cons, but in 2009 he began working as a pimp, and his exploits took him to Australia's Gold Coast, Dubai, and, of course, Miami.
The pimping began in Australia, where he forced multiple women, including his ex-wife, into prostitution. According to the Miami Herald, in a letter read by prosecutors, his ex-wife said he threatened to kill her and her family if she didn't enter the sex trade.
Prosecutors say he used "physical and sexual violence and psychological coercion" to force the women into prostitution. Many of the victims claimed Baston raped them.
Meanwhile, he used the profits to fund his own extravagant lifestyle, which included a $75,000 diamond watch, designer clothes, and fur coats.
The Daily Mail reports that Baston also schooled the women in his "pimp manifesto," which extolled the virtues of hooking over having sex for free. He told the women to think of themselves as an expensive Rolls-Royce instead of a Honda Civic.
Six women from Australia, New Zealand, Lithuania, and America cooperated with prosectuors.
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Baston took some of the Australian girls to work as prostitutes in Dubai but two years ago traveled to Miami and set his sights on running an escort business here. In Miami, he made his girls work in strip clubs like Cheetah's and then pimped the women out to wealthy tourists while keeping most of the money for himself.
Baston also stole the identity of an American man in order to travel more easily across the globe.
American, Australian, and United Arab Emirates law enforcement agencies collaborated on the case, and Baston was the first person prosecuted under a 2008 law meant to combat the international sex trade.
U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga had the chance to sentence Baston to life in prison but decided that because no one was killed, he should serve just 27 years.