D.A. Vance Announces Charges in One of N.Y.’s First Cases Under New Child Sex Trafficking Law

February 4, 2020

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of ARTHUR DAWSON, a/k/a “AR Tana,” 28, for a child sex trafficking conspiracy in which he forced a 17-year-old girl to engage in prostitution, and for operating a sex trafficking and prostitution scheme with multiple young women from July 2018 through October 2019. The defendant is charged with Sex Trafficking of a Child, Rape in the First Degree, Strangulation, Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, and various counts of Conspiracy. [1]

“This horrific case illustrates why my Office fought so hard for the passage of the Child Sex Trafficking Act last year,” said District Attorney Vance. “As alleged, this defendant recruited a child, sold her on street corners, and raped her when she asked for a portion of the money she was paid for sex acts. Our laws finally reflect the reality that we see in this case: child prostitution is not only despicable, it is sex trafficking, plain and simple. I thank the prosecutors in my Office for securing this indictment on behalf of this 17-year-old, as well as, the multiple women Dawson and his co-conspirator allegedly trafficked. The threats, rules, and isolation they employed are hallmarks of sex trafficking, and together with our partners in the NYPD, we have put this violent operation to an end.”

According to the indictment and statements made on the record in court, DAWSON conspired with another individual to traffic a 17-year-old girl in April 2019. DAWSON and his co-conspirator orchestrated much of this operation by communicating using Facebook’s Messenger service. Over the course of several weeks, the defendants compelled her to perform commercial sex acts at locations throughout New York City, directed her to stand in the street waiting for cars in order to engage in prostitution, and forced her to hand over all of the money she made. In one instance, after she asked for a portion of the money she had been paid to perform sexual acts, DAWSON forcibly raped and strangled the victim.

DAWSON also conspired with the unapprehended individual to promote the prostitution of multiple young women between July 2018 and October 2019. As part of the alleged operation, DAWSON trafficked one woman by forcing her to engage in prostitution under threat of physical force against her and her family. DAWSON demanded she follow a strict set of rules, including but not limited to: not talking to other male individuals who were promoting prostitution and asking any car that stopped to speak to her whether they were law enforcement. In one instance, DAWSON prevented her from seeing her children unless she made a certain amount of money by engaging in prostitution. In another incident, DAWSON forced the woman to engage in sex acts in order to repay money she had earned in prostitution and that had been taken when she was robbed by another individual.

Assistant D.A.s Jesse Matthews and Leah Branch are handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Justin McNabney, Deputy Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit, and Carolina Holderness, Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit, and Executive Assistant D.A.s Audrey Moore, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau, and John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Investigators Sean Ryan, Ariela DaSilva, and Investigative Analyst Emma MacPhee also assisted in the investigation.

District Attorney Vance also thanked Detective Anthony Santilli of the NYPD Special Investigations Division Computer Crimes Squad.

Defendant Information

ARTHUR DAWSON, a/k/a “AR Tana”, D.O.B. 02/11/1991

New York, NY


  • Sex Trafficking of a Child, a class B felony, one count
  • Sex Trafficking, a class B felony, two counts
  • Rape in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
  • Strangulation in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
  • Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, one count
  • Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count

[1] The charges contained in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.