NEW YORK (PIX11) – After kidnapping a woman and using unthinkable sexual abuse to force her into prostitution, a violent sex trafficker was sentenced Wednesday, according to the Manhattan DA’s office.
Benjamin Gaston, 37, now faces 50 years-to-life in prison after pleading guilty to charges of kidnapping, sex trafficking, rape, criminal sexual assault, assault and sexual abuse. Another man, 57-year-old Johnny Jackson, was given a sentence earlier this month of nine-to-eighteen years in state prison.
Early in the morning of November 2013, Gaston lured a 28-year-old woman to a 92nd Street apartment where Jackson lived. Once they were inside, Gaston told the woman she was going to “make me money” before both men raped her and forced her to perform sex acts on other men.
They promised to release her if she did what they said, according to the DA’s office, but after 36 hours she decided to act — she found a phone and called 911 multiple times, but was unable to describe her location.
Gaston discovered her using the phone and beat her before taking her to an abandoned apartment unit on the sixth floor of a building on West 149th Street. When she got there, multiple men were waiting for her.
“The woman in this case was confronted with an unimaginable choice: to escape out of a 6th floor window or to be raped by multiple strangers,” said District Attorney Cy Vance. “Over the course of approximately 42 hours, she was threatened, beaten, raped, held captive, and sold for profit.”
The woman decided to jump — she plummeted 50 feet to the concrete courtyard below — but survived. The fall left her with a shattered vertebrae, a fractured pelvis and a broken arm and leg.
“No one should have to endure what the survivor in this case went through, but sex traffickers prey on vulnerable women who face similar danger every day,” Vance said. “I urge anyone who may be a victim to call our Office’s Human Trafficking hotline at 212-335-3400, and visit the new Manhattan Family Justice Center at 80 Centre Street.”