Disobedient Media today releases 102 pages from the New York State Select Committee On Crime. The document describes an investigation into child pornography and human trafficking by two detectives from the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police. The findings were presented to officials on July 26, 1982.
Detectives found that organized crime did play a role in the distribution of child pornography, but that the day-to-day activity in regards to child prostitution appeared to be run by a group of collectors who would, “trade material and trade male prostitutes back and forth.” The investigation revealed that young male and female minors were being transported between California and D.C. along a route known as the “California Connection.” The route was part of a circuit which encompassed Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York, D.C., and Florida. According to detectives, clients could call a phone number in Houston from Washington and have a young boy delivered directly to their location. These purchases were incredibly streamlined and could even be made with credit cards which were charged to front companies under various guises such as photography studios, book stores, models, and model agencies.
Minors were also prostituted out of bars. In some cases, there would be as many as 50 to 75 minors at a single bar. Detectives found that minors were from different sections of the country and were generally runaways, some leaving from various organizations they had been placed into by the state. The investigation also noted that the younger children would be placed on narcotics in order to keep them under control, and were told not to talk to the police, and that if they did, they would receive bodily harm or be killed.
One of the key figures in the investigation was William Oates, who ran pornographic film and burlesque houses out of D.C., Pittsburgh, and New York which catered to male homosexual clientele and had live stage performances by dancers who doubled as prostitutes. Another subject of the investigation was Paul Abrams, who ran a call service out of New York, which included male prostitutes and children. Abrams was later arrested and pled guilty to prostitution, but received only probation for his involvement in the felony offense.
Detectives also stated that these call services would supplement their income by selling information on the sexual proclivities of their clients to agents of British, Israeli, and Soviet intelligence services. Intelligence agencies have a documented history of seeking sexual blackmail to exert control over public figures and government assets.
According to investigators, anti-human trafficking efforts were hampered by lack of funding and almost no support from the federal government. Additionally, trafficking victims would often be unwilling to return home and face judgmental scrutiny from their local communities.
The investigation’s content sheds new light on the nexus between human trafficking, organized crime and government agencies.
The document can be found in a searchable format here.