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Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Sports Agent Charged With Human Trafficking

According to the Miami Herald:
A California-based baseball agent and four assistants were indicted Tuesday, accused of financing and organizing a smuggling scheme to get Cuban baseball players out of the communist island.

Agent Gustavo "Gus" Dominguez of Total Sports International is accused of hiring four men to help him get 19 Cubans out of the island on Aug. 22, 2004, including several ball players -- some of them now playing for minor league teams in the U.S. -- and three children identified in the indictment only by their initials.
After bringing the players to Florida, the schemers allegedly moved them by van to California.
"In California, the defendants rented an apartment for the baseball players and provided food and clothing for them," according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office. "The defendants immediately began training and conditioning the baseball players and failed to present the baseball players to Customs and Border Protection for immigration processing in the United States."

The Indictment charges all five defendants with a conspiracy to bring aliens illegally into the United States, transporting the aliens in violation of law, and concealing and harboring the aliens from detection.
Although coaches have gotten in trouble under US immigration laws for their cross-border recruiting efforts, as Greg noted here, I believe this is the first sports agent to be so charged. Further support for the notion that students of sports law would do well to study up on immigration law.


I wonder if they were considering heading to Louisiana, too, until that GA got arrested? Personally, this is just too exciting for me: up next will be a network mini-series called "The Agent" and it will portray Sonny and Crocket as fed agents in Miami who go undercover to assimilate into the underground world of sports agency, peformance-enhancing drugs, and illegal immigration...stay tuned...

Anonymous Anonymous -- 11/01/2006 12:12 PM  

Given the account of the actions taken here, it seems pretty clear that at least some immigration laws were "circumvented". However, I find something else interesting here.

The use of the phrase "Human Trafficking" usually implies that the human being trafficked has been taken somewhere for nefarious purposes where they will live out a life of slavery or forced debauchery or something of that nature. The end state for the person being smuggled around is not so good.

These individuals may not have been living like A-List celebrities, but they probably had living conditions that were better than a typical UN Refugee Camp and their life focus was to play baseball which has to be a better existence than a sex-slave.

Interesting use of the language...

Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon -- 11/01/2006 8:44 PM  

Definitely an obscure case to be termed "Human Trafficking."

Do federal statues use the same definition of human trafficking which the UN uses?

"Trafficking in persons" shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs;

In this case, the players are definitely being exploited, assuming the agents will recieve funds for representing them. However, I doubt the players are being forced to play, unless there was some agreement that they must play professional baseball in return for the agents getting them into the country.

Blogger WMUpsci_student -- 11/01/2006 10:08 PM  

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