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Another Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking a Juvenile Girl

WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice announced that Raul Santillan-Leon, of Memphis, Tenn., pleaded guilty late yesterday to one count of commercial sex trafficking of a minor, relating to his role in a Memphis trafficking ring. At his plea hearing, Santillan-Leon admitted to operating a brothel and knowingly employing a juvenile to engage in prostitution. Santillan-Leon faces a sentence of up to forty years in prison.

With this plea, a total of nine defendants have pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and commercial sex charges in connection with brothels operated as part of this Memphis trafficking ring. Three other defendants remain under indictment in the same case for crimes including child sex trafficking, conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, conspiracy to commit money laundering, enticing an individual to travel in interstate commerce to commit prostitution, and failure to file a factual statement about an alien.

All persons charged with crimes are considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Human trafficking prosecutions are a top priority of the Department. In the last six fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, has increased by six-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court, quadrupled the number of defendants charged, and tripled the number of defendants convicted.  In 2006, the Department obtained a record number of convictions in human trafficking prosecutions.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Parker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice are prosecuting the case. The investigation in this matter is being conducted by FBI Agents in Memphis and Nashville, ICE Agents in Memphis and Nashville, the Memphis Police Department and the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department. World Relief, Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and the YWCA have assisted the victims and witnesses in this matter.