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Press Release

Philadelphia Woman Pleads Guilty to Two Counts of Sex Trafficking of Minors

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Shyniquah Lightner, 26, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor.

Between July 2017 and September 2017, the defendant operated a prostitution ring in Philadelphia, and co-defendant Malik Hudson assisted Lightner in the operation.  Lightner recruited females to work as prostitutes in this illegal business, and then created Internet advertisements in which she marketed various females as available for purchase for purposes of prostitution.  These advertisements featured pictures of the females, either scantily clad or partially nude, a description of each female, and a phone number to call to arrange a meeting.  Two of the females Lightner recruited and advertised were minors under 18 years of age. 

“The defendant chose to recruit and sell women for money,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to aggressively investigating and pursuing cases involving the sex trafficking of minors.”

“HSI Philadelphia is pleased that the newly formed multiagency Anti-Trafficking Coalition worked jointly on this investigation, and we look forward to expanding our partnerships with private and public entities to combat human trafficking,” said Marlon V. Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Philadelphia.

“We are privileged to have collaborated with our Human Trafficking Task Force partners in the investigation, arrest, and successful prosecution of Shyniquah Lightner,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross. “As a result of this collective effort, a child predator has been brought to justice. We look forward to replicating this outcome, as we continue to focus our collective investigative efforts on those who target our most vulnerable communities.”

Lightner faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a maximum possible sentence of life in prison, a minimum of 5 years up to lifetime-supervised release, a $500,000 fine, and a $200 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Philadelphia Police Department Special Victim’s Unit (SVU) and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Natali.  This case is part of the Philadelphia Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force.  Members of the joint task force include the HSI Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department’s SVU, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Family Violence & Sexual Assault Unit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Salvation Army and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  The task force brings together the expertise, training, experience, and law enforcement authorities of the partnered agencies to help identify human traffickers, and prosecute them while also protecting and aiding survivors. 

Updated December 20, 2018