Three Arrested for Sex Trafficking Five Victims
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
BOSTON – Three individuals have been arrested and charged with sex trafficking and the interstate transportation of five separate victims for the purposes of prostitution.
Jermall Anderson, 43, of Tewksbury, was charged with five counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and one count of coercion and enticement. Jennifer Fortier, 49, of New Haven, Conn., was charged with two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and one count of knowingly transporting any individual in interstate or foreign commerce, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution. Latasha Anderson, 37, of Lynn, was charged with two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.
The defendants were arrested on Aug. 9, 2023. Following a hearing yesterday, Jermall Anderson was detained pending a final detention determination, and Latasha Anderson was released under conditions. Fortier will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.
“This case is yet another manifestation of the opioid crisis plaguing our communities,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “Here these defendants are alleged to have exploited women’s addiction, lack of housing and economic stability to coerce them into the sex trafficking trade. Opioids and sex trafficking go hand in hand – and so does the destruction and trauma they inflict on our communities. This office and our law enforcement partners will spare no resource to ensure that harmful, exploitative traffickers are removed from our streets and held accountable.”
“These three are alleged to have specifically targeted vulnerable female victims — women going through substance abuse rehabilitation or facing homelessness. Human traffickers often seek out victims in unstable situations, using force, fraud and coercion to control their every move, making them feel that they are solely reliant on the trafficker,” said Michael J. Krol, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England. “Bringing those who prey on the vulnerable to justice is one of our core missions at HSI, but our work to support and seek care for those victimized is of equal importance.”
According to the charging documents, from 2012 through 2016, the defendants used physical violence, threats and the giving and withholding of heroin and cocaine to force five different victims to prostitute on their behalf. The defendants allegedly targeted vulnerable victims, specifically those struggling from drug addiction, homelessness and lack of economic resources and coerced them into providing commercial sex for the defendants’ benefit. The defendants are alleged to have trafficked these victims all over New England and into New York and New Jersey.
The charges of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion each provide for a sentence of at least 15 years and up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of coercion and enticement provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of knowingly transporting any individual in interstate or foreign commerce, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274 or contact USAMA.VictimAssistance@usdoj.gov.
Acting U.S. Attorney Levy and HSI Acting SAC Krol made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the HSI Office in New Haven, Connecticut, the Lynn and Tewksbury Police Departments in Massachusetts and the Hampden, Connecticut Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen W. Hassink and Leah B. Foley of the Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Updated August 11, 2023
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