Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm expressed hope the recent conviction of a man found guilty of trafficking underage girls in Waikiki will inspire more survivors to come forward.

A jury found Marquis Green guilty of sex assault in the first degree, two counts of promoting prostitution in the first degree and misdemeanor assault on Thursday following a trial that was delayed for nearly a decade because of legal maneuvering.

Alm said he will ask the judge to impose consecutive sentences, calling Green “cowardly” and “vicious” and someone who used violence and alcohol to control his victims’ behavior. That means Green would have to complete one sentence before beginning another instead of serving them simultaneously.

“Mr. Green is looking at prison for a long time, at the very least 20 years,” Alm said Monday at a press conference. “We will be asking for consecutive sentences because I know as a judge one of the purposes of a sentence is to provide deterrence and anybody acting as a pimp knows exactly what they’re doing.”

Steven Alm
Honolulu Prosecutor Steven Alm announced the conviction of Marquis Green on Monday and urged the community to stay attentive to the signs of sex trafficking. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Green was originally arrested in December 2013 for trafficking multiple girls aged 15 to 17 and sexually assaulting one of them. However, he repeatedly sought delays in his trial and fired numerous attorneys, causing the case to stretch on for years.

Alm applauded two of the victims for sticking with the case and testifying despite the delays.

“These teenage survivors, and that’s what they really are, they could have said, ‘Forget it, I want to move on with my life. I don’t want to relive this,’” Alm said. “But they didn’t. They persevered. They saw this process all the way through to the end.”

“We were convinced he was playing games,” Alm added. “I honestly think he was hoping these victims would just give up and that they would quit … but they went to court last week and they stood up and identified Mr. Green as the person that did this to them.”

Green, who has been detained at Oahu Community Correctional Center since his arrest, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20. Green pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney, Harrison Kiehm, did not respond to a request for comment on whether he plans to appeal the decision.

Green is the first person in the state to be convicted of the charge of promoting prostitution in the first degree since 2015, according to a report on child sex trafficking sent by the Attorney General’s Office to the Legislature in December.

It was reclassified as a sex trafficking charge in 2016, but Green was charged under the previous statute because his crimes occurred in 2013, according to Alm.

No one in Hawaii has been convicted under the new sex trafficking statute, although state agencies have received hundreds of reports of human trafficking over recent years.

Alm said the prosecution of trafficking cases in Hawaii is complicated by the fact that victims often do not want to come forward and geography makes the cases harder to track.

“On the mainland, you have a pimp taking the young girl from city to city, state to state, so there’s often a whole trail behind them of gas station receipts, motel rooms,” Alm said.

To try to overcome that, law enforcement agencies on Oahu have started taking a more proactive approach to build cases against traffickers without victim participation. This includes the increased use of undercover stings, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office said.

Alm urged other potential victims to come forward.

“They want to use you to make money,” Alm said. “They don’t care about the hurt they cause. But you can get out of this and get your life back. It would be scary. We understand that, but help is available.”

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