Oct 9, 2014 10:46 PM
Alleged Human Trafficking Case in Portsmouth
PORTSMOUTH - An alleged case of human trafficking in Portsmouth lands one man behind bars.
Franzter Fleurimond of Boston is accused of human trafficking and distributing heroin.
Police claim Fleurimond would lure the women through heroin, get them addicted, and when they needed their fix, they say he would make them sell their bodies at area hotels to feed their addiction.
It's a vicious cycle, police said, that would repeat itself.
"They travel from hotel to hotel so they were never in any one place for more than a week at a time typically," said Capt. Mike Schwartz of the Portsmouth Police Department.
Cops busted Fleurimond and Molly Sloan of Strafford, who they call an accomplice.
Drugs and prostitution, police say, go in hand and hand and now human trafficking is also being included as an element to the crime.
"We've seen a huge increase in heroin abuse, so it's been increasing, and also our prostitution numbers are going up, as well," said Schwartz.
Police also said it's not just happening in Portsmouth but other seacoast communities, as well.
"Heroin abuse brings people to some desperate levels in their lives," said Schwartz.
Schwartz says it's the first time in New Hampshire that's he's ever even heard of a state charge of human trafficking, though he couldn't give us a specific number when it comes to prostitution arrests.
Meantime, James Vara, a New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General, says in a way, these women are lucky that the heroin didn't kill them.
Through August of this year, he says, heroin has claimed the lives of 70 people and he says there's no question in his mind more people will die before the end of the year.
"I would say it is getting worse," said Vara. "The trend is showing it is getting worse and been getting worse for the last 3 years. We see that continuing trend unless we do more."
But for now, police say it's one case down but many more to go.
"I don't think it's going to stop the heroin but it's certainly a response to the crimes," said Schwartz.
In the meantime, police say for these two, more charges could be on the way.
Human trafficking is a growing concern worldwide and is reported in all 50 states.
Approximately 75 to 80 percent of human trafficking is for sex.
According to a recent study, there's an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children around the world who are victims.
Although human trafficking is often a hidden crime, accurate statistics are a little difficult to obtain.
Researchers estimated more than 80 percent of trafficking victims are female and more than 50 percent are children.
And in about 54 percent of the cases, the recruiter is a stranger, and in 46 percent of the cases, it's someone the victims knows.
Meantime, Fleurimond will be back in court next week.