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Hartford Man Sentenced for Role in Trafficking Ring

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that Brian Forbes of Hartford, Conn., was sentenced today to 156 months in prison for his involvement in a sex trafficking ring that victimized minor girls and coerced young women to engage in commercial sex acts against their will. Forbes was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised release and to pay $16,339 in restitution to his victims. Forbes was charged in a 64-count superseding indictment, along with nine other co-defendants, on Aug. 8, 2006. Mr. Forbes pleaded guilty on March 4, 2007, to three counts of sex trafficking of minors, two counts of sex trafficking adult women (through force, fraud, or coercion) and one count of conspiracy to use interstate facilities to promote prostitution.

Evidence presented at the plea hearing revealed that Brian Forbes found and enticed young females, including minors, from states adjacent to Connecticut, and used a variety of threats to force the young women into providing sexual services to the ring’s clients in and around Hartford, Conn. Forbes used a variety of unlawful means to force the victims to repeatedly provide sexual services to the ring’s clients. Those means included physical threats and unlawful restraint.

Eight others, including co-defendant Shanaya Hicks, also pleaded guilty in this case. On April 1, 2007, Hicks was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Co-defendant Dennis Paris was convicted at trial in June of 2007 for sex trafficking of minors, sex trafficking of adults (through force, fraud, and coercion), conspiracy, use of an interstate facility to promote prostitution, and money laundering. Paris is scheduled to be sentenced on April 14, 2008.

“The defendant used sexual assaults, beatings, and lies to force young women and girls into prostitution in Connecticut. He was one of a chain of people who brutally exploited these women,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Today’s sentence, like those of his co-defendants, sends a strong message that those who hold and brutalize others in sex trafficking rings will be apprehended and punished.”

“The lengthy prison term imposed today is an appropriate one for an individual who victimized minors and enslaved women, forcing them to commit sexual acts against their will and under the threat of violence,” stated Nora R. Dannehy, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

Human trafficking prosecutions such as this one are a top priority of the Department of Justice. In the last seven fiscal years, the Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorneys Offices, has increased by nearly seven-fold the number of human trafficking cases filed in court as compared to the previous seven fiscal years.  In FY 2007, the Department obtained a record number of convictions in human trafficking prosecutions.

This case was investigated by a law enforcement task force lead by Detective Deborah Scates of the Hartford Police Department, Sergeant Chris McKee of the Windsor Police Department, Special Agent Chris Grispino of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Special Agent Douglas Werth of the Internal Revenue Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Genco and Special Litigation Counsel Andrew J. Kline of the Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.