Jury Finds Connecticut Man Guilty Of Trafficking Three Women To Miami Before Super Bowl
Screenwriters look at South Florida’s biggest celebrations and see right through to the seamy underbelly, and the Super Bowl, which has taken place in Miami 11 times in its 50-year history, is no exception. The crimes that go on while most people’s attention is on the big game, the halftime show, the commercials interesting enough to keep the audience from flipping channels to watch the Puppy Bowl, and everyone’s favorite game day snacks, are terrifying indeed. It would make for a blockbuster action movie if the heroes rescued victims of sex trafficking that was going on while most people were cheering in the stands or yelling at their television screens, but in real life, most human trafficking goes on for long periods of time before the victims are able to escape. Scarier still is that it does not just happen during major events like the Super Bowl, even though these events have an outsized reputation for attracting traffickers of persons. A man who trafficked three young women from Connecticut to Florida will face a prison sentence now that a jury has returned a guilty verdict. Here, our South Florida sex crimes defense attorney explains how a sex trafficking operation ended in Miami even as the defendant planned to traffic the victims through several other states.
The Rise and Fall of Redd
Until early 2020, Edward “Redd” Walker lived in Connecticut with two women and a 17-year-old girl. The household supported itself financial by Walker’s three victims engaging in sex work and then giving the proceeds to Walker. Walker planned to move the group to Arizona, funding the move by stopping at several major tourist events along the way and prostituting the victims to attendees of the events. Their itinerary would take them first to Miami for the Super Bowl then to Chicago for NBA All-Star Weekend and then New Orleans for Mardi Gras before settling in Arizona. Walker texted one of the women, reminding them that all three should bring their high heels and revealing clothes. Not known for subtlety, Walker also said in the message, “I’m coming to abduct you later.” As for why the victims would agree to go with Walker, it was because he emotionally, psychologically, and financially manipulated them into going with him and engaging in sex work for his financial gain.
When the group reached Miami, Walker instructed the women to walk on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach in pursuit of clients, but they failed to bring in any money this way. Impatiently, Walker posted 253 advertisements online offering the victims’ sexual favors. Two men responded to an add, asking Walker to send the victims on a yacht ride with them. At least one of the victims had sex with one of the men, and Walker received $600.
Another response to an advertisement came from an undercover investigator asking to meet one of the women at a hotel. The victim arrived at the hotel alone, and when the investigators showed their police badges, the victim confessed that Redd had coerced her into sex work and into traveling to Florida with him. She did not know Redd’s legal name.
The Charges: Sex Trafficking by Force and Coercion and Transporting a Person for Sexual Activity
Five days after the meeting at the hotel, the investigators had identified Redd as Edward Walker, and when they caught up with him, they saw that the lock screen of his phone bore a picture of him and the 17-year-old victim. He claimed that they were not in a relationship and that she had an unrequited crush on him. There was enough evidence to arrest Walker, though. He was charged with sex trafficking by force and coercion, sex trafficking of a minor by force and coercion, and transporting a person for sexual activity.
Walker, 48, pleaded guilty, and his trial took place in Fort Lauderdale over the course of eight days in October 2021. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, and the judge set Walker’s sentencing hearing for January 6. The charges of which he has been convicted carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. While not all defendants convicted at trial receive the maximum possible sentence, they tend to receive heavier sentences than defendants who plead guilty. At the sentencing hearing, the judge will determine when, if at all, Walker will become eligible for parole.
Contact an Attorney for Help
If you are being accused of sex crimes, even something as serious as human trafficking of a minor, you have the right to plead not guilty, to have a fair trial, and to be represented by a Miami sex crimes lawyer. Contact Ratzan & Faccidomo for help.