The Miami-Dade State Attorneys Office has successfully prosecuted what it believes to be the first human trafficking criminal case in Florida since a new law went into effect in 2012.
A jury found David Salomon, 27, guilty of one count of human trafficking involving the commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced Wednesday. The verdict came after three hours of deliberation.
Salomon, who faces life in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 30.
The state legislature in 2012 passed the Safe Harbor Act, under which victims could be transferred to specialized short-term safe houses for 30 days, where they would be assessed for long-term placements, instead of taken to jail.
Prosecutors now could focus on going after the pimps and predators, not the victims, said Ed Griffith, spokesman for Fernandez Rundle.
The girl on the street is the face, but thats not the power, he said. The power is with the people doing the manipulating.
Fernandez Rundle said taking pimps off the street will help deconstruct the system from its source.
You need to a whole system to break down, she said.
The Miami-Dade State Attorneys Office has created a human trafficking unit to help impliment the new law, which has come under some scrutiny since it went into effect. A local nonproft safe house suspended operations during the summer after girls repeatedly ran away.
According to a news release, the young victim in Salomons case has been missing since July 2013 and could not be located to testify at the trial.