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U.S. Attorney's Office Prosecutes Record Number of Sex Trafficking Cases in 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2014

Portland, Ore. — U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon prosecuted a record number of sex trafficking defendants in 2013.  In 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office created the “Gang and Sex Trafficking Unit” which included additional prosecutorial resources to fight sex trafficking in Oregon.  The following year, the office filed thirteen federal indictments, more than triple the number of sex trafficking indictments filed in any prior year.  The past year, 2013, fourteen defendants were charged with federal sex trafficking crimes in the District of Oregon.  In addition, thirteen defendants were convicted or sentenced in the district for sex trafficking crimes in 2013, also a record.

"Every day traffickers are recruiting our teenage girls in shopping malls, on public transportation, and on the street, and every night these children are being raped by johns in hotel rooms across Oregon,” said U.S. Attorney S. Amanda Marshall.  “This is modern day slavery, and we will not rest until every victim is rescued, and every trafficker sent to prison.”

Most of the new federal cases involved the sex trafficking of children, ranging in age from 13 to 17.  Others involved the sex trafficking of young adult women through force, fraud, or coercion.  Three of the charged sex traffickers were women.  For the first time in this district, the federal grand jury also charged a consumer of a sex trafficked child, commonly referred to as a “john,” under the federal sex trafficking laws.

All of the trafficked victims in these new cases were local girls or young women, living in Oregon or Washington at the time of recruitment.

Under federal law, the mandatory minimum sentence for a defendant convicted of sex trafficking a child (aged 14-17 years old) is ten years in prison, or fifteen years in prison if the child is less than 14 years old.  The mandatory minimum sentence for a defendant convicted of sex trafficking through force, fraud, or coercion, is also fifteen years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentence for these crimes is life imprisonment.

The United States Attorney’s Office works closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Child Exploitation Task Force (CETF) to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the district.  The CETF marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children through sex trafficking, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  The CETF partners with local law enforcement agencies, to include the Portland Police Bureau, Tigard Police Department, Beaverton Police Department, and Vancouver Police Department.

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