Forest Hills Man Busted in Prostitution Ring

Schneiderman announces breakup of prostitution, money-laundering operation.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced a big bust on Tuesday, saying an in-depth investigation had resulted in the breakup of a prostitution ring that stretched as far as the Philippines. 

Christopher Fairbarn, a 24-year-old Forest Hills man, was one of 19 people arrested in the operation, which also caught residents from Flushing, Bayside, Pennsylvania and Southeast Asia.

According to Schneiderman, the Attorney General's office worked with the NYPD during a 16-month investigation to monitor the advertising agency Somad Enterprises, which created both online and print advertisements in publications like Backpage.com and the Village Voice to allegedly prostitute women.

All told, the agency took in more than $3 million for its role in facilitating meet-ups between often unwilling female victims and the men paying for their services, Schneiderman said. 

Those arrested include employees of the advertising agency who accepted money to place the ads, pimps, drivers and more. During the course of making arrests, NYPD officers also took two human-trafficking victims into custody, both of whom are now in a safehouse.

“This investigation led to the arrests of multiple individuals who were part of a criminal enterprise that made millions of dollars by profiting off the exploitation of women,” Schneiderman said. “The message we are sending is clear: these crimes will not be tolerated in the State of New York.”

Kelly added: “All anyone has to do is open a copy of the Village Voice to get a good sense of how classified advertising and prostitution go hand in hand, particularly in the prostituting of Asian women. Our focus remains the profiteers and johns engaged in promoting prostitution — not the women exploited by them.”


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