Jail time for illegally employing prostitutes

PHILIPSBURG – The Court in First Instance sentenced Juan Linzey on Wednesday morning to 36 months of imprisonment for ill-treatment, human smuggling, promoting prostitution and employing people who were without a valid title on the island. Of the sentence, 12 months are suspended. The court also seized cash worth approximately $5,518 in dollar, euro and guilder denominations.

At the trial on March 28, the public prosecutor demanded a prison term of 36 months with 6 months suspended. The court arrived at a slightly lower sentence because it concluded from the statements from women who worked as prostitutes at the Linzey’s Juan Bar in Cole Bay that they were not subjected to humiliating treatment.

On December 12, 2017, Linzey got into an argument with one of the prostitutes in his car. He hit her so hard in her face that the woman broke her nose.

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Two of the women who worked at Juan Bar declared that they had previously worked at the Crystal Club on Soualiga Boulevard. They all admitted to investigators that they had no residence permit. One woman had come to the island to work for El Capitan, but for unexplained reasons she left that brothel and started working at Linzey’s bar “because I had to work and make money.”

The women charged $50 to $60 for twenty minutes of sex and paid Linzey $10 for each client they entertained.

But in spite of these seemingly mild financial conditions, earnings were poor. One woman told investigators that she made between $300 and $400 per two weeks, another said that she had earned $100 in one week. One woman, who charged a lower amount – between $30 and $40 per client – told investigators that she nevertheless managed to make $80 per day for herself.

The court  notes in its ruling that Linzey did not have a permit to operate a brothel. He did not have work permits for the women either. “The women came to St. Maarten as tourists; they were not allowed to work in the defendant’s bar – not as a cleaner and not as a prostitute either.”

The court dismissed attorney Safira Ibrahim’s argument that her client did not employ the women based on a labor contract. They were free to do what they wanted and Linzey did not interfere with their activities, the attorney argued at the trial.

But the court saw the reality differently. “The defendant runs a bar and a number of rooms and he gives the women the opportunity to take men to these rooms. In exchange the women pay part of their earnings per client. This is a set routine that must have been based on an agreement. There is no doubt that the defendant had the authority over the bar and the rooms and that he set the rules.”

The court found Linzey guilty of ill-treatment, human smuggling, of operating a brothel without a permit from the minister of justice and of employing women of whom he knew that they were illegally on the island.

The conviction for operating a brothel without a permit is remarkable. At the trial the public prosecutor said that such a conviction is not possible, because the government has so far failed to set standards for sex-companies.

Source: StMaartenNews http://stmaartennews.com/judicial/jail-time-illegally-employing-prostitutes/

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