Derrick Ross, 27, of Atlantic City, and Tiffany Davis, 39, of Egg Harbor Township, have been indicted by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, and charged with first-degree human trafficking, conspiracy, promoting prostitution of a minor, and other related sex trafficking offenses. Additionally, Ross has been charged with sexual assault and child endangerment due to allegedly having sex with the victim, a fourteen-year-old girl, known to be unrelated to both Ross and Davis.
Also indicted with charges of sexual assault, engaging in prostitution, and child endangerment is retired state corrections officer and alleged sex buyer, Kurt Young, 53, of Dennis Township, Cape May County. Young allegedly arranged with Davis to transport the victim to his home and paid Davis to purchase sex from the victim. Ross was arrested on November 27th, 2020. Davis was arrested January 17th, 2020. Young was arrested January 28, 2020. The indictment by the state grand jury for all three defendants was returned on October 20th, 2020.
These arrests resulted from an investigation conducted by undercover authorities from the New Jersey State Police Casino Gaming Bureau and the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, with assistance from the FBI Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. An undercover officer from the state police responded to an online “escort” advertisement by phone and arranged with the person who placed the ad to meet the victim at a casino hotel in Atlantic City. On November 27, 2020, the victim arrived at the hotel, where she met the undercover detective who revealed his true identity and immediately connected her with support services pursuant to AG Directive 2012-2on Investigation of Human Trafficking.
Later that day, authorities arrested Ross when they determined that he had transported the victim to the hotel to sell her for sex in exchange for money. Then, authorities learned that Davis allegedly had placed the online advertisements and trafficked the victim with Ross’ assistance. Ross and Davis shared the proceeds from trafficking the victim. According to Ross’ attorney, Jill Cohen, Ross denies the charges and claims he worked as a hack driver and did not know why he was taking the victim to the hotel.
In New Jersey, Attorney General Grewal recognizes investigating and prosecuting human trafficking as a top priorityand in commenting on this case noted that it “involves a situation that is tragically all too familiar, where a vulnerable young victim is trapped in a life of sexual slavery. We will never cease in our efforts to rescue these victims and bring those who brutally exploit them to justice.” In addition, it is important to recognize the possibility that women charged with trafficking became involved in the role of offender as consequence of their own victimization. Many women who occupy this space believe their role to be a product of physical violence, emotional manipulation, and life-threatening abuse from their own trafficker. It is unknown at this time whether Davis began assisting Ross as a result of her own victimization. The CSE Institute believes that those who occupy the victim-offender intersectionality space should be treated as victims by the criminal justice system.
The CSE Institute applauds the New Jersey Attorney General and the New Jersey Police Department for recognizing the victimization of the 14-year-old girl and conducting the arrests of her traffickers and sex buyer. The CSE Institute also commends the Attorney General’s Office for instituting a confidential hotline (855-END-NJ-HT) to report information concerning trafficking cases in New Jersey. This message from the Attorney General’s office reflects the CSE Institute’s advocacy for the Equality Model, for which we emphasize the need to target sex buyers and sex traffickers for criminalization and to decriminalize prostituted individuals. We encourage all departments to follow this methodology and increase efforts in decreasing the demand for commercial sex. The CSE Institute will continue to monitor progression of this case.