Before the Super Bowl came to Phoenix inthe city began preparing for the arrival of tens of thousands of people—.
There's always a lot of talk around any kind of a large sporting event about traffickers bringing their victims. Like other cities around the country, Phoenix was looking for a new way to deal with a persistent problem: the sexual exploitation of women and girls. The very core of what trafficking is, is influencing, inducing, encouraging someone into a life of prostitution.
Active warrants as of: tuesday, may 25, at
When we arrived in Phoenix in the fall ofthe police had just begun a new approach meant to treat the women and girls as victims, not criminals. It was more about addressing the community's complaints about seeing people out on the street. They tell us to f off, and we book 'em, and we go about our business.
What part? How long have you been out here? We started talking to some girls, and once we realized why they were out there, we realized we were approaching it wrong. We started trying to figure out how can we help get them off the street and go after the pimp instead of the girls.
I know it seems like a big to-do here, but we have to kind of make it that way—we know that—for you guys. We call them victims, and then we call them survivors. And we try to empower them a little bit as they move through that culture. The detectives were also changing the way they looked at the men selling women, treating them as the perpetrators of human trafficking.
When we started filming with the unit, much of the sex trafficking business had moved online to websites like Back, a virtual marketplace for buyers and sellers of sex. We usually look for girls on Back because that's where it's the most prominent. Because traffickers hide behind the anonymity of the internet, the detectives have been going undercover to try to lure them into the open. And then once they friend me on Facebook, then I just go into their friend list and I just hit 'em all up with friend requests. It is a lot of work and I do it when I can.
After a year of being my friend, all of a sudden he just sends a random Facebook message, then. Sex trafficking is a new problem. I mean, it's the oldest problem, but it's a new problem that we're looking at in a different way. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz helped launch the anti-trafficking effort before the Super Bowl. Reliable statistics on sex trafficking are very complicated to find.
It is a hidden crime. The trafficker tells the victim that they're gonna get in trouble if they disclose it, so oftentimes the victims that we work with don't tell us quickly or up front that this is something that's happening.
The sex buyers are purposely hiding their behavior so they don't get caught. It's illegal to buy sex. So the whole thing is sort of behind a buddy. It ohio hard for the police to tell if there was an actual Oklahoma in sex trafficking around the Super Bowl, but the event changed the way they have approached the issue ever since. It brought law enforcement in the same room with the service providers; individuals that were out there in the community doing training; the legislatures; and the governor and mayor.
Inthe unit picked up this teenager, named Kat. We're seeing more and more girls, but they're wanted typical teenagers going through the woes of being a teenager and become a victim because they're vulnerable, because the traffickers have access to them through their phones and amber the internet. I have three siblings, actually, two brothers and one sister. I love giraffes. My friend told me about this app; it was called MeetMe. It was like a—like you fuck people and you talk to them, you know.
They exchanged messages for almost a month. She talked to him about the struggles that she was having at home with her family and fights that she was having, and he was just playing on her vulnerabilities. So Jesse started corresponding with her on Snapchat, and Jesse was the one who actually arranged to meet up with her. He offered to give me a ride up to Phoenix, and with everything in my head, I was like, "You know what?
Nothing is going to happen. When he got here I climbed out of my bedroom window and got into his car. It was really dark. Their plan was to get Kat and utilize her for the purpose of sex trafficking.
They knew it going in. Kat was the unsuspecting one who had no idea, unfortunately.
The night she left home, Kat was driven 30 miles to Phoenix, where she met a third man, who she says was the most frightening of them all: Bryant Flemate. I own your body, I own you, and you have no say in what you do. This is Jesse Cisneros.
See what frontline is working on now
This is Bryant Flemate. They arrive to the hotel together, and then here comes Kat. And I was like, "What are you talking about, I have a client? Over the course of a week, she was taken to homes and hotel rooms and repeatedly sold for sex, until someone saw her outside the hotel, became suspicious and called the police. It was at the Comfort Inn, but it was a different room—.
She's the only victim I've had who could tell me specific room s of hotel rooms that they had been taken to. When she could recall so much detail, that helped us tremendously in tracking down who all these players were. So we have three traffickers in custody right now.
So the detectives are finding other ways to gather evidence against potential traffickers. I gotta make sure your hair done, your nails done. I gotta make sure you get your beauty sleep. I gotta make sure you get the proper hygiene. I gotta take care of everything. You know what I mean? A happy girl makes happy money.
A drug is a usable quantity that can be used up one time. A person can be trafficked over and over and over again all day long. I just ask for you to have loyalty, dedication and I want some elevation in your situation. His name may not even be Chris. So assault, marijuana, DV assault.
And then he had a couple robberies in and Armed robbery. The unit has been working closely with neighboring police departments and quickly learned that Mathis is a suspect in another sex trafficking case involving a year-old girl. Tomorrow at on the Greyhound, which there will be a Greyhound pulling in there tomorrow at I will have him on the phone when he arrives tomorrow to kinda solidify everything else. These guys that are trafficking the girls are also selling drugs and involved in gangs and all sorts of other criminal activities.
Hey, you ready or what? Are you there, or where you at? OK, all right.
Let it go. Then I want you to lay that seat all the way back, all the way back.
Summary of department of justice recommended criteria
Lay it all the way back. Yes, yep.
Go ahead and do it. Now I want you to turn over, and I want you to crawl out that back door. Crawl out. Keep your hands out, just like that. Now pull yourself out, keep your hands out. Keep your hands out, your hands out. On your belly, on your belly! Just sit up while I talk to you. All right, all right, all right. I got more than enough proof to show that you were out there encouraging a female to lead a life of prostitution.
And you know what? But yes, I am booking you into jail today on that. Is there any way that I can sit here and avoid that?