A Texas woman will spend four years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for her alleged role in an a sex trafficking ring that brought underage girls to Central Texas to work as prostitutes. The woman was also ordered to pay a $100 court assessment in addition to $1,000 fine. Another suspect, purported to be the suspect's accomplice, has pleaded guilty to similar sex crimes but has yet to face sentencing.
According to federal criminal complaints, the woman recruited prostitutes and then submitted their images to a website that advertised prostitutes in her Central Texas community. Police say they became aware of the operation after a woman contacted officers to inform them that her runaway daughter was likely staying in the area and may have been tricked into prostitution.
Federal agents reportedly found evidence that at least three underage girls had been brought to the area to work as prostitutes, prompting them to launch a comprehensive investigation into the reported sex trafficking operation. The investigators say they linked the two suspects to the operation after allegedly finding that the suspects took inappropriate and explicit photographs on the woman's phone, later attaching them to text messages and sending them to the man's phone. Those images were eventually submitted to a website where they were used to advertise area prostitutes.
As of 2011, Texas has considered sex trafficking involving children a first-degree felony. In some instances, those found guilty of this offense may be sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines. Furthermore, convicted sex traffickers must register with the Texas Sex Offender registry. Penalties become even more severe for repeat offenders. Individuals accused of sex trafficking or any other sex crime in Texas should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney to ensure the best possible chance of avoiding such harsh sentences.