Tampa Man Sentenced To 30 Years For Sex Trafficking Of Minors
Tampa, FL - U.S. District Judge James S. Moody, Jr. today sentenced Eric Bell (38,Tampa) to 30 years in federal prison for sex trafficking of minors. He pleaded guilty on February 29, 2012. Bell’s girlfriend, Neang Prom a/k/a Pocahontas (30, Bradenton) was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison for her role in the case. Prom pleaded guilty on May 9, 2012, to conspiracy to engage in the sex trafficking of minors.
“The successful conclusion of this case hinged greatly upon the cooperation and partnership among the local, state and federal members of the Tampa Bay/Clearwater Area Task Force on Human Trafficking,” said U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill. “We will continue to combine our resources to investigate and vigorously prosecute the exploitation and trafficking of minors.”
“Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes that our special agents investigate. This case was particularly unnerving because it involved the sex trafficking of minors.” said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Tampa. “Thanks to the efforts of the Clearwater Human Trafficking Task Force, which consists of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, Eric Bell can no longer exploit young girls for his own gain.”
“The FBI will continue to work with our federal partners to bring justice for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge Steven E. Ibison, FBI Tampa.
According to the plea agreement, Bell and Prom recruited minors to engage in prostitution by offering the minors a place to live. Once the minors were living with Prom and Bell, they would take sexually explicit photos of the minor victims and place the photos on the Internet to solicit clients for prostitution services. The minor victims were required to give the proceeds of the prostitution services to Prom and Bell. Prom and Bell would then live off of the profits from the minor victims.
Law enforcement authorities identified four minors that performed prostitution services for Prom and Bell. All of the victims were between the ages of 15 and 17 years old.
This case was investigated by the Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stacie B. Harris.
It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
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Robert E. O'Neill
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the Middle District of Florida
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