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S. Ozone Pk. man pimped teen: DA

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A South Ozone Park man last week became the first person in the state to be indicted under a new sex trafficking statue that passed the state Legislature last year, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

Woodley Gaston, 22, of 118-08 Rockaway Blvd., faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on charges of sex trafficking, promoting prostitution, rape, endangering the welfare of a child and permitting prostitution, the DA said.

Gaston allegedly befriended a 16-year-old girl by buying her clothes and paying to get her hair and nails done and then pimping her out as a prostitute in southeast Queens between March 5 and March 23, Brown said.

"The defendant is accused of participating in a modern-day version of slavery by holding a teenage girl captive and coercing her through psychological intimidation to prostitute herself for his own financial gain," the DA said in a statement.

"Few activities are as brutal and dehumanizing as prostitution," Brown said in a statement. "The defendant's alleged actions as the victim's pimp and captor not only forced her into a life of degradation, but put her at risk of contracting a myriad of serious and fatal diseases, including HIV/AIDS."

Gaston allegedly forced the victim, whom prosecutors claimed he advertised on the Web site Craigslist, to work at so-called "tracks," or known prostitution locations, at Sutphin Boulevard between South Road and 107th Avenue and near Conduit Avenue by John F. Kennedy International Airport, Brown said.

The 16-year-old allegedly stayed at Gaston's house, where she was forced to have sex with him and faced death threats if she left him or worked for another pimp, the DA said. She was allegedly told to have sex with 10 men a day and give all the money to Gaston.

The state Legislature passed a bill Nov. 1 that created a new felony called "sex trafficking" that requires those convicted of the crime to register as sex offenders. It also provides social service assistance to victims, such as temporary housing, health and mental health treatment and drug addiction treatment.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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