Miami-Dade human trafficking unit gets first conviction, sentence

02/26/2013 5:50 PM

02/26/2013 7:36 PM

A Miami Beach man who forced a slew of women into prostitution in South Florida and Nevada will spend 15 years in prison for beating and strangling one of them.

A judge on Tuesday sentenced Robert Burton, 34, who had been found guilty of domestic battery by strangulation, deriving support from prostitution, kidnapping and interfering with parental custody.

His conviction at trial was the first for Miami-Dade prosecutors’ Human Trafficking Unit, said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. She said many of the victims are homegrown runaways.

“It’s very much like domestic violence. It’s control. It’s terror. It’s beating,” she said. “It’s affection — with torture.”

At trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Burton forced at least six women into prostitution all while fathering several children with three of them. He faced similar charges in Nevada, but was not convicted in that state.

In South Florida, authorities said, the women plied their trade at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and South Beach’s Delano hotel.

In June 2011, Burton beat and choked one of them, a 31-year-old woman with whom he has two children. He abducted their 7-year-old son. When police later pulled over Burton, officers asked the boy about two other women in the car.

“Those are my daddy’s hoes,” the boy replied, according to prosecutors.

Burton’s mother, Darlene Burton, 55, was also arrested and is awaiting trial for kidnapping.

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