Human trafficking expert Dr. Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco said during an interview that aired on Friday that it would be “very unlikely” for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to face trafficking charges, saying such charges in general are difficult to prove.
“It’s a very difficult crime to prove, so even if there are charges brought it’s very unlikely that they would yield convictions,” Mehlman-Orozco told Hill.TV’s Krystall Ball on “Rising.”
Kraft is the highest-profile name charged with soliciting prostitution connected to a sting of illicit massage parlors in Florida.
The billionaire businessman pleaded not guilty to two charges of soliciting prostitution in February and denied any wrongdoing. In March, Kraft reportedly denied a plea deal from prosecutors and has continued to fight the charges in the ongoing case.
It is unclear how many victims will be identified by law enforcement in the prostitution sting. Mehlman-Orozco said questions surrounding whether the women involved are part of an international human trafficking ring remains a huge area of debate since there have been no formal charges of trafficking.
The expert, however, said police officers on the case have identified “very clear red flags” of sex trafficking.
“They were in early interviews saying they were deceived and thought they were going to be working in a nail salon once they arrived in the United States,” she told Hill.TV.
“But actually found themselves in a suspected erotic massage parlor doing these types of services, which was an element of deception,” she added.
The State Department estimates that there are approximately 20 to 30 million human trafficking victims worldwide, 80 percent of which are women and children.