GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten today announced that Torey Franklin, 29, of Grand Rapids, pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a child.
“Trafficking in any form is intolerable, but the sex trafficking of a minor is especially cruel,” remarked U.S. Attorney Totten. “My office is committed to holding traffickers legally accountable for the lasting harm they cause to children within our district.”
Franklin admitted that in the spring and summer of 2022, he used online advertisements to offer the sexual services of a minor to prospective customers. After posting the ads, Franklin would negotiate prices and sexual acts with prospective customers before transporting the minor to multiple locations for the “sex dates” he had arranged. Afterwards, he would receive payment, often through a popular money-sharing application. Franklin now faces a term of at least ten years and up to life in prison as a result of his guilty plea and conviction.
Franklin was captured due to Operation Cross Country, a coordinated operation among the FBI, other federal agencies, state and local police, and social services agencies across the country to find and assist victims of human trafficking, particularly child victims. The previous press release and indictment can be viewed here.
“Today’s plea is a testament to the progress made during Operation Cross Country (OCC), the FBI’s annual nationwide enforcement campaign focused on identifying and locating victims of sex trafficking and investigating and arresting individuals involved in child sex and human trafficking,” said Special Agent in Charge Cheyvoryea Gibson of the FBI in Michigan. “We would like to extend our appreciation to our wide network of law enforcement partners for their critical support in investigating sexual predators who commit crimes against children. The FBI encourages continued vigilance, cooperation, and reporting from the public to help identify and recover victims and bring perpetrators to justice. If you believe you may have any information, please contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or online at report.cybertip.org.”
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has more information about the reality of child sex trafficking on its website at https://www.missingkids.org/theissues/trafficking. If you suspect that someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, information about how to make a report to law enforcement can be found at the website for the national human trafficking hotline: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/en/get-help.