Prosecutors give more detail on Boise human trafficking case

Prosecutors give more detail on Boise human trafficking case

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 11:58 PM

BOISE -- On Friday afternoon, prosecutors gave more information on the Boise couple accused of coercing more than a dozen women into prostitution and keeping the money.
   
They were arrested for human trafficking earlier this month. Police then identified more victims, and this week, a grand jury indicted the duo on more trafficking and prostitution charges.

Prosecutors now say at least 20 women may have been victims in this case and say they held women against their will, forcing them into the sex trade, for months.

"These are basically 13th amendment cases. They're slavery," said Greg Bower, Ada County Prosecutor.

Bower says investigators spent months on the case against 44-year-old Derrick Hicklen and 26-year-old Gypsie Lee Akers, using common techniques like getting recordings, doing surveillance and undercover work.

"This is a case that came to the attention of law enforcement more than a year ago, and it resulted in a joint task force between city and county officers. Boise City and Ada County officers," Bower said.
   
Detectives say Hicklen and Akers found out what vulnerabilities the women had and then would manipulate them into doing things they wouldn't normally. Prosecutors say the couple would keep the women in hotel rooms while prostituting them on the internet and not paying them for months.

"Basically, they're accused of holding the victim in circumstances where she can't escape, for commercial purpose, that is the sex trade, and requiring her to engage in it, using the internet to advertise it and then keeping the earnings for themselves," Bower said.

In court two weeks ago, a deputy prosecutor explained the case to a judge during Hicklen's arraignment.

"This defendant would provide drugs to women, he would rape them, and then have his rape of them videotaped," said Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Cathy Guzman in court. "He would then bring in his co-defendant and then they would place these girls in different motels around town. To one person, in particular, he identified himself as a gang member, a Blood from Compton and a 'regulator.'"

Speaking generally, prosecutors say human trafficking in the area is on the rise, and because of that, detectives and attorneys are now specially trained in working cases similar to this one.

"It's fueled by the increasing mobility in our population, the commercial power of the internet to connect victims of human trafficking with people who would pay their slavers, people who would have them in their control," Bower said.

Through court recordings, much about Hicklen's criminal past was revealed. According to the deputy prosecutor, he's been arrested in Idaho, California, Nevada and Alabama for things from carjackings to robberies.

Most seriously, he was arrested 20 years ago for murder, robbery and assault, and he went to prison for the robbery. In Ada County, he has been charged with DUIs and leaving the scene of an accident. When booked into jail, the prosecutor said they saw California gang-affiliated tattoos, but he refused to explain.

Hicklen and Akers are both still in the Ada County Jail. He is held on a $1 million bond, and she is held on a $500,000 bond.
 

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