Prosecutor in Buffalo sex trafficking case: ‘It’s happening here.’


  • She met him at Narcotics Anonymous.
  • He befriended her, took her in when her boyfriend was going to leave her, then became her crack supplier and her pimp, teaching her how to use Backpage, an online website where sex workers advertised themselves before federal authorities shut it down last year.

“Hey guys,” the woman wrote on one of her Backpage ads. “I’m here to make your day.”

  • In federal court Thursday, the woman took the witness stand in the sex trafficking and narcotics conspiracy case against Valentino Shine Sr., who she said led her into the seedy – and lucrative – world of prostitution in Buffalo by taking advantage of her drug addiction and low self-esteem.
  • The woman testified before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. that her customers would call or text her.
  • They ranged from a teacher who she met in his suburban home for a “date” to members of the Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills, whom she did not name.

“Bills players, Sabres players, also people not famous,” she said.

  • The woman explained Shine usually made her and other women who worked for him avoid dates at Marriott hotels, because they were often the site of law enforcement stings, but that she did sometimes meet “professional athletes” at the Marriott Harborcenter hotel.
  • The Buffalo News is withholding the woman’s name because she has not been charged in the case and is considered a victim of human trafficking.
  • The trial underway in downtown Buffalo is a window into the dark and often misunderstood world of sex trafficking, Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan Tokash said in her opening statement.
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