BY JIM DOOLEY AND MALIA ZIMMERMAN – A window into the ugly and violent world of sex trafficking was briefly opened in the trial of Joseph “Joe Blo” Vaimili.
According to evidence in the criminal case, the hulking, 6’4”, 280-pound Vaimili savagely beat, threatened and terrorized a 24-year-old woman who came to Honolulu to work as a prostitute during the week-long Pro Bowl festivities in early 2009.
The woman, who had been a prostitute in Texas, began voluntarily working at the Golden Queen “relaxation center” on Ward Avenue.
A co-worker there introduced the victim to Vaimili, 29, who immediately and completely took over her life, she told authorities.
“For the next two weeks, ‘Joe Blo’ stopped by every morning at Golden Queen and took (her) money she had earned by providing sex to customers,” a police report said.
“She was making $1,200 a day, providing sex to 8-10 clients a night. (The victim) stated she gave Joe Blo all her money because if she did not, she would get her ass kicked repeatedly by Joe Blo,” the victim told police.
After two weeks, Vaimili took the woman to Waikiki and required her to “walk the track” – solicit customers along Kuhio Avenue.
The woman told police she made $2,500 her first night in Waikiki, having sex with “about seven clients.”
Shortly afterward, she told police Vaimili “knocked her unconscious” on the street in Waikiki because he accused her of “disrespecting him.”
Vaimili beat the woman numerous times with his fists, one of her high-heeled shoes, a belt and a hotel room lamp, according to the police report.
In early March, Vaimili sent the woman back to work at Golden Queen “because she was getting into too much trouble walking the track and because (he) had to travel to San Francisco.”
On the morning of March 3, 2009, Vaimili took “about $2,000 from her that she made on the previous night at Golden Queen” and left her with no money for food or cigarettes, the woman told police.
That night, he kidnapped her from Golden Queen, drove her to the North Shore, put a gun to her head and in her mouth and told her he was going to kill her.
Shortly after that encounter, the woman was “rescued” from Golden Queen by law enforcement.
Vaimili was indicted in 2009 on charges of kidnapping, terroristic threatening and first-degree promotion of prostitution.
Court records show that when Vaimili committed those 2009 crimes, he was serving a HOPE probation sentence for drug-related offenses.
The HOPE program is intended limit new criminal behavior through close supervision of probationers and immediate consequences for violations.
The day before the kidnapping trial was to begin in 2010, Vaimili jumped $250,000 he had posted and fled the Islands.
Circuit Judge Randal Lee, who had sentenced Vaimili to HOPE probation and later permitted him to post bond in the new case, held trial in Vaimili’s absence and the defendant was convicted of all charges.
After U.S. Marshals apprehended Vaimili in Texas last year, he was returned to Honolulu and sentenced by Lee to 40 years behind bars at the Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu.
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