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Prostitution Camp Overseas Fueled Child Trafficking

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Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson was appointed a Maricopa County, Arizona tax assessor in 2013; now he’s indicted on child trafficking-related charges.

by Dillon Rosenblatt, Arizona Capitol Times

A prostitution camp in the Marshall Islands provided many of the birth mothers caught up in former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen’s allegedly illegal adoption business, according to statements attributed to his co-defendant in a warrant to seize his assets.

When she was arrested in August, Lynwood Jennet, Petersen’s co-defendant in his criminal case and his fixer in the Marshall Islands, told police that the majority of women she had recently helped Petersen recruit came from a prostitution camp where girls as young as 15 or 16 did sex work in exchange for food and housing.

Jennet said when the girls at the prostitution camp would get pregnant, she would receive a call (the name of the caller was redacted in the documents) and she would contact Petersen.

“Lynwood was asked who runs the camp, Lynwood said it was the government or businessmen,” Department of Public Safety Detective Samuel Hunt, who interrogated Jennet following her arrest, said in the sworn affidavit, which was recently unsealed.

Jennet described the camp as a place where “young girls wait for fishermen to come and dock to do shopping and what not.”

The camp was on the main island of the Marshall Islands, a small island country in the Pacific Ocean where Petersen did his Mormon mission and later ran his adoption business in violation of a treaty between the US and the Marshall Islands that allows islanders to visit the US for any reason without needing a visa, except they cannot come to the US to offer a baby for adoption.

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© 2020 Arizona Capitol Times

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