A Forecaster article published in the July 5 Portland Press Herald (“Prostitution arrest at South Portland motel opened window on sex trafficking“) describes the prosecution of a woman arrested in a textbook case of sex trafficking, despite Cumberland County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck’s claim, as paraphrased by Forecaster reporter Juliette Laaka, that it was “not clear she was actively being trafficked.”
A witness saw the woman forced into the motel room by two individuals, who waited in the parking lot while the woman received as many as three johns hourly in the room she’d been blocked from leaving. Everyone who has had contact with the woman described her as petrified. She is an asylum seeker from China and does not speak English, yet somehow an ad for her “services” was posted on backpage.com. Her cellphone records indicate regular travel from city to city across the U.S., and she was unable to explain how she ended up in Maine.