A federal grand jury in Florence, South Carolina, returned an indictment charging a South Carolina man with three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, one count of sex trafficking of a minor, two counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering and one count of obstructing a sex trafficking investigation.
According to the indictment, between August 2019 and August 2020, Aaron T. Simmons, 26, of Greenville, used force, threats of force and coercion to compel three adult women to engage in commercial sex. The indictment also charges Simmons with sex trafficking of a minor victim.
Simmons will make his initial court appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the District of South Carolina. It is initially scheduled for July 28. If convicted of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, Simmons faces a minimum penalty of 15 years in prison and up to life in prison. If convicted of sex trafficking of a minor, Simmons faces a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and up to life imprisonment. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs for the District of South Carolina and Special Agent in Charge Steven J. Jensen of the FBI Columbia Field Office made the announcement.
The Greenville Police Department and the FBI Greenville Field Office investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Fisher Sherard for the District of South Carolina and Trial Attorney Francisco Zornosa of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit are prosecuting the case.
The FBI is asking anyone with information about Aaron Simmons to contact the FBI Columbia Field Office at (803) 551-4200. If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at (888) 373-7888.
An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.