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Travel agents arrange trips including prostitutes

By Mason White 5:39 PM March 16, 2016
Jennifer and Alfred Cotten 

By: Wayne Morin
A couple pleaded guilty to a number of charges after running a travel agency that promoted prostitution, according to court documents in New York.

The married couple, Jennifer Cotten, 49, and Alfred Cotten, 50, from Florida, facilitated sex tourism for U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic through their company, Tropical Adult Vacation.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said that the arrests followed a 10-month investigation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The couple booked a trip for an individual in New York, who they later learned was an investigator working for the DA’s office.

The defendants were each charged in a New York State Supreme Court, with one count of promoting prostitution in the third degree.

They pleaded guilty to the charge in a plea deal. They will serve five years of probation. They hope to serve their sentence in Florida.

They will also have to undergo counseling that focuses on sex abuse.

“Companies like these create a demand for the sexual services of prostituted women abroad, many of whom may be trafficked individuals.

“That is why in New York, it is illegal to sell prostitution-related travel services to any jurisdiction, at home or abroad. Those who pay for sex facilitate a black market that profits off of the vulnerable, particularly women and children,” Glenn Sorge, acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York, said.

According to court documents, Tropical Adult Vacation provided U.S. citizens with room, board, and the services of prostituted women at their hotel located in Boca Chica, a small town near the capital of the Dominican Republic, over the course of hundreds of trips.

Though prices varied depending on the length of a customer’s trip, they were typically charged approximately $1,500 for a weekend stay.