Federal prosecutors in New York City are fighting allegations that they allowed a 15-year-old girl to be forced into prostitution while they investigated the Gambino crime family’s human trafficking activities. A defense lawyer for the Gambinos, however, claims the government allowed the teen to be exploited in order to make their case. Did the FBI allow child sex trafficking?
A few months ago, the infamous Gambino crime family was caught pimping kids on Craigslist, a move that many considered a low point, even for them. The bust was the result of a long government investigation, which included the participation of a cooperating witness who worked for the Gambinos. According to the witness, he began working with the government in 2008. But for most of 2009, while collaborating with the FBI, he acted as a pimp for a 15-year-old girl.
The government claims they broke up the ring as soon as they discovered a minor was involved. However, they apparently learned about and halted the ring in August 2009, but didn’t hand out indictments until 2010, despite the fact that all of the women sold by the Gambinos were under 20. Why the delay? The FBI has stated categorically that they did not and would not authorize the continuation of criminal activity or sexual exploitation involving a minor. But would they care if adult women were being trafficked against their will?
The informant told the FBI that the Gambinos were trafficking women for sex in June 2009, and the FBI let that trafficking continue for two whole months, until they learned a minor was involved. For two months, they let women be forced into prostitution by the mafia while they investigated. That sounds like an awfully long time. A judge on the case likened the situation to Winston Churchill failing to stop the bombing of Coventry because to do so would have revealed to the Germans the Allies had broken their codes. Sometimes, he said, the government has to sacrifice the few for the greater good.
But I wonder if Churchill ever had to look the families of Coventry in the eye, after his tough decision, and tell them he made the right choice. And I wonder if the FBI can look at a 15-year-old girl and a number of other women and say the same.