NFM couple accused of running sex tourism business

Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A couple is accused of running a sex tourism operation that set up customers with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.

Prosecutors say Jennifer and Alfred Cotten, of Fort Myers have been charged with promoting prostitution.

The married couple was arrested after a 10-month investigation into their company, Tropical Adult Vacation.

The Cottens first caught the eye of authorities in New York, when officials noticed some suspect bank transactions. Their investigation led them to North Fort Myers, where authorities say the couple ran the company.

It’s a business Alfred and Jennifer Cotten had been running out of their home since 2011. But it’s what happened in the Dominican Republic, that got the couple behind bars.

Homeland Security says they helped exploit the already dangerous industry of human trafficking.

“When an American citizen is buying these vacations, it doesn’t matter what you are told. You do not know how that person that you are buying is getting paid,” said human trafficking expert Yaro Slaba Garcia.

Court documents say customers were allowed to select between different prostituted women and could engage in sex during stays ranging from 24 hours to one week. Prosecutors say customers were charged about $1,500 for a weekend stay.

Prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic, but not exploitation.

“You have no idea if the person got paid for their services they provided. You don’t always know if this person is a minor or adult. Perhaps not all the people they sold or contracted with were adults,” said Garcia.

New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance on Thursday called the alleged “family business” international sex tourism.

The couple is in New York to face charges. The New York City DA’s Office did not immediately respond to questions of whether clients of the couple could also be charged.



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