News and Press Releases

Two Persons Charged With Sex Trafficking Of Children And Related Illegal Firearms Crimes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2014

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that two former Edwardsville residents were arrested today by federal and state law enforcement officers on charges involving the sex trafficking and prostitution of a minor and weapons offenses.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, on January 21, 2014, a federal grand jury in Scranton indicted Travis Humphrey, a/k/a “GT,” age 26, and Kyoni Humphrey a/k/a “Kyoni Nieves,” age 24, for conspiring to force a minor female to engage in prostitution and illegal sexual activity during May 15, 2013, to June 3, 2013.

     The indictment alleges that the defendants used a cell phone to post advertisements for “escort services” involving the minor female on the backpage.com website in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and transported the minor in interstate commerce from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and New York to engage in illegal sexual activity and prostitution.  

     Both defendants are charged, allegedly, as principal or aiders and abettors, with Conspiracy to Commit Sex Trafficking of Children by Force and Coercion; Sex Trafficking of Children by Force and Coercion; Conspiracy to Transport a Minor in Interstate Commerce with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity; Transporting a Minor in Interstate Commerce with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity; Persuading, Enticing and Coercing a Minor to Travel in Interstate Commerce to Engage in Prostitution; and Transporting a Person in Interstate Commerce to Engage in Prostitution.

     Both defendants are charged with Carrying and Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence. Travis Humphrey is charged with Possessing a Firearm as a Convicted Felon. Kyoni Humphrey is charged with Making False Statements During the Purchase of a Firearm.  

     The charges stem from an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.

     Sex trafficking of children by force and coercion is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a possible maximum sentence of life in prison. The carrying and possessing a firearm in connection with a crime of violence charge is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a possible maximum sentence of life in prison, and that sentence must run consecutive to any other sentence imposed.  The other charges contain maximum sentences of from 10 to 20 years imprisonment.

     Both defendants are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick this afternoon at the federal courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.

     This 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."

     The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is life imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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