U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI Seeking to Identify Potential Victims in Connection with Online Child Exploitation Case
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced a man and woman from Shreveport were sentenced Monday to 32 years and 20 years in prison for having a minor female from Texas engage in prostitution.
Tyrone Larry Smith, 37, and Lacoya Washington, 34, both of Shreveport, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. to 384 months and 240 months in prison respectively on one count of sex trafficking of a minor. Smith was also sentenced for one count of coercing or enticing a minor to travel to engage in prostitution. The defendants must also serve five years of supervised release and must register as sex offenders. According to evidence presented at the three-day trial, which ended July 27, 2016, Smith began conversing with a 14-year-old female from Texas over an internet dating service in June of 2015. He convinced her to travel to Shreveport saying he had feelings for her. Upon arriving in Shreveport, the female met Smith and Washington and stayed at their home. That same month, they brought her to local hotels where she engaged in prostitution. If she resisted, Smith struck her and abused her in order for her to continue the illegal activity. Smith also took the money from the prostitution. The minor was contacted by authorities who later arrested Smith and Washington.
“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to keep the children of our community safe by prosecuting those who engage in this despicable trade,” Finley stated. “Human trafficking exploits the most vulnerable among us.”
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James G. Cowles Jr. and Earl M. Campbell prosecuted the case.
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Human trafficking takes many forms, but generally targets the most vulnerable in our society – our children, those who suffered past abuse, people with physical or mental disabilities, the poor and those without legal immigration status.
For more information on human trafficking and the department’s efforts to combat it, visit www.justice.gov/humantrafficking. For those wishing to find out more about victim services, please visit the website of the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime website – ovc.ncjrs.gov/humantrafficking. To report suspected human trafficking, connect with anti-trafficking services in your area or find anti-trafficking resources, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888, email@example.com or www.traffickingresourcecenter.org. The toll-free hotline is available to answer calls from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day/seven days a week, in more than 200 languages.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Those concerned may also leave tips with the FBI at tips.fbi.gov. Tips may be submitted anonymously. The Shreveport FBI office number is (318) 861-1890.