DA Vance: Husband and Wife Indicted for Facilitating Sex Tourism Through “Tropical Adult Vacation” Company

September 10, 2015


Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of JENNIFER COTTEN, 49, and ALFRED COTTEN, 50, a married couple, for facilitating sex tourism by U.S. citizens to the Dominican Republic through their company, TROPICAL ADULT VACATION (“TAV”). Their arrests follow a 10-month investigation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The defendants are each charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with one count of Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree. [1] 

“The alleged ‘family business’ for this husband and wife team was international sex tourism,” said District Attorney Vance. “Companies like the one charged in this case create a demand for the sexual services of prostituted women abroad, many of whom may be trafficked individuals. That is exactly why, in New York, it is illegal to sell prostitution-related travel services to any jurisdiction, at home or abroad: those who pay for sex facilitate a black market that profits off of the vulnerable, particularly women and children.”  

“The Cottens allegedly exploited women by bringing them into prostitution for international sex travelers, thereby encouraging the growing problem of human trafficking,” said Glenn Sorge, acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York. “HSI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to pursue those criminals who place greed ahead of human dignity.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, beginning in July 2011, the defendants operated a sex tourism company, TROPICAL ADULT VACATION, through which they provided U.S. citizens with room, board, and the services of prostituted women at their hotel located in Boca Chica, a small town near the capital of the Dominican Republic, over the course of hundreds of trips. The defendants personally managed TAV’s business operations from their Florida residence, including posting advertisements on Backpage.com to solicit customers, operating TAV’s website, and responding to email and phone inquiries. 

Customers could make payments in advance of their trips using credit cards, wire transfers, or direct deposit. Typically, once a customer arrived in the Dominican Republic, they were transported to the TAV hotel by the COTTENS’ locally-based associate, who handled day-to-day operations. There, customers were allowed to select between several different prostituted women, and could engage in sexual activity during stays ranging from 24 hours to one week. Though prices varied depending on the length of a customer’s trip, they were typically charged approximately $1,500 for a weekend stay.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Human Trafficking Response Unit

Last year, District Attorney Vance announced the expansion of the Human Trafficking Program into the Human Trafficking Response Unit (HTRU). Housed within the Office’s Special Victims Bureau in the Manhattan Family Justice Center, HTRU investigates and prosecutes sex and labor trafficking cases, and provides support for victims and their families in partnership with advocacy groups. The Unit also works to identify victims in cases that may involve elements of trafficking from hundreds of street arrests that are screened and prosecuted by other areas of the Office, including the Domestic Violence Unit. 

HTRU is among the most robust anti-trafficking units of any prosecutor’s office nationwide, with an in-house social worker and financial analyst joining two full-time prosecutors, 15 specially trained prosecutors, and multiple support staff. HTRU builds upon long-term investigative techniques – including wiretaps and forensic analytics – that make up the backbone of the evidence-based approach used to build these complex cases.

Assistant District Attorney James Lynch is handling the prosecution of this case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Dolle; John Temple, Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit; andExecutive Assistant District Attorneys Audrey Moore, Chief of the Special Victims Bureau; and John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Senior Investigators Ariela DaSilva and Miguel Rivera, as well as Supervising Investigator Jonathan Reid, assisted with the investigation. Trial Preparation Assistant Samuel Morales is also assisting with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York Glenn Sorge, and Special Agents Rob Mancene and Megan Buckley.

Defendant Information:

North Fort Myers, FL


  • Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count

ALFRED COTTEN, D.O.B. 5/24/1965  
North Fort Myers, FL


  • Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count


[1] The charges contained in the indictment 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.